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(Updated 26/11) Being Covid-Safe: Student FAQs

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We know you will have questions we'll share answers to common questions here - so check this page regularly.

Our Covid-Safe Charter sets out how we expect students and staff to behave during the pandemic and what you can expect from the University, GSU and GKSU.

You can find more information on our Be Covid-Safe page, along with information on the start of term on the Settling in to university page.  These pages, and this FAQ page, are linked from the portal home page, so they are easy to find.  

Please read the questions and answers below, if your question isn't covered here, then please get in touch by emailing Student Communications.

Where do I have to wear a face covering?

You are required to wear a face covering in our buildings and on university buses. You can find more information on our Be Covid-Safe page.

In line with our Covid-Safe Charter, you may face disciplinary action from the university if you do not wear face coverings when required to do so. This may put your place on your course at risk.

If students/staff do not wear face coverings, or follow other guidelines what should I do (Updated 5/11)

We expect our staff and students to demonstrate the same exemplary behaviour, and we can all help keep our campuses Covid-Safe. 

If you see someone not wearing a face covering you can:

  • Ask them politely to wear a face covering, in line with our Covid-Safe Charter, or to display an exemption (and advise how to access an exemption badge)
  • If this is ignored, you can report it to the relevant Director of Student Experience (if in faculty), line manager or campus security.

We take such behaviour very seriously. We have updated our Student Behavioural Procedure, which makes it clear that any behaviour that puts our wider community at risk will not be tolerated.  Similarly if a report is received regarding a member of staff we have procedures in place to deal with these matters appropriately.

I'm exempt from wearing a face covering, what should I do? (Added 28/10)

We've updated our Covid-Safe Planning Guidance following advice from the Royal Borough of Greenwich Public Health team and in light of London's move to Tier 2/high in the Government's new Local Covid alert levels.

Our guidance now states that students and staff who cannot wear a face covering, or are exempt, should wear an exemption badge inside our buildings and vehicles. We previously recommended that these badges be worn.

Badges are available to download online and can also be collected from Student Centres. Badges can either be those provided by the government or the Hidden Disabilities sunflower badges.

I need to change my ticket to travel home during Student Travel Week will I have to pay additional fees? (Added 25/11)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that students who had already booked train tickets to travel home for Christmas before the announcement of the student travel window can now rebook their tickets to travel between 3 to 9 December without paying additional fees.

Students who bought an Advance ticket before 11 November for a date of travel after 9 December can now change their Advance tickets to travel during the window without paying a change of journey fee of up to £10. Flexible tickets such as Off Peak or Anytime can already be rebooked to another date without payment of an admin fee.

Why are tests being offered?  (Added 25/11)

As part of the government's testing programme we are opening Asymptomatic Testing Sites (ATS) at our Avery Hill and Greenwich campuses.  On Medway campus you can get a lab-based PCR test at the Local Test Site (LTS) already set up on our Medway campus, or at the Luton Road LTS.  Both sites are open 8am – 8pm, seven days a week. The Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a lab-based test – most results now come within 24 hours, but the results can take up to 3 days.

The tests follow the guidance issued by government on 11 November and support the return of students to their non-term time address. They are for people who are asymptomatic and not showing symptoms.  If you have Covid-19 symptoms you should report this to the university gre.ac.uk/reporting-covid and book a test through the NHS Test and Trace App.

The testing will be available between 30 November and 8 December.  This allows students who test positive to complete self-isolation at university before returning home for Christmas.

Who can have a test? (Added 25/11)

These tests are for people who are asymptomatic and not showing symptoms.  If you have Covid-19 symptoms you should book a test through the NHS Test and Trace and inform the university using our Covid reporting form.

If you are travelling home for Christmas, we strongly recommend that you get a Covid-19 test before travelling to protect your family and friends and reduce the risk of spreading the disease. 

It is recommended that you get two negative LFD test results three days apart before travelling home. 

All students and staff can access the testing facilities on our campuses.  Please see the questions about having a test on our Avery Hill or Greenwich and Medway campuses, as the arrangements are different.

Remember a negative test result does not mean you are immune from Covid-19 – please continue to follow university and government guidance.

Where can I get a test? (Added 25/11)

We are making testing facilities available at all of our campuses.  We have been working with the Public Health teams at the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Medway Councils.  This means there are different arrangements for Avery Hill /Greenwich campuses and Medway campus.

What tests are available? (Added 25/11)

At our Avery Hill and Greenwich campuses we are setting up Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test sites, which are also available to Medway students.

LFD tests are a type of rapid Covid-19 test in which the result is available within 24 hours. Because LFD tests are less accurate than PCR tests, you are recommended to get two negative LFD test results three days apart before travelling home.

At our Medway campus lab-based PCR tests at a Local Test Site (LTS) are available.  These need to be requested by 5pm Thursday 26 November, please note that it can take up to three days to receive your result.  Also see the question about booking a test at Medway campus.

How do I book a test at Medway campus? (Added 25/11)

At Medway students and staff can get a lab-based PCR test at the Local Test Site (LTS) already set up on our Medway campus or at the LTS at Luton Road, Medway.  Both sites are open 8am – 8pm, seven days a week. Tests are available from 30 November until 8 December.  The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a lab-based test – most results now come within 24 hours but the results can take up to 3 days.

To access a PCR test on our Medway campus, please email fes-courseinfo@gre.ac.uk  by 17.00 on Thursday 26 November, including your full name, date of birth and Banner ID (students only) This information will be shared with Medway Council, who are helping us manage these tests.

We will book you an appointment either at the testing site at the Medway campus or at Christ Church, Luton Road, Medway.  You will be sent a letter with details of your appointment which you must bring with you when you visit the testing site. 

How can I have a test at Avery Hill or Greenwich campus? (Added 25/11)

Testing sites will be set up in Greenwich (in QA063, Queen Anne Court) and at Avery Hill (in the Sports Hall). The sites will be open from 9am – 5pm from 30 November to 8 December, including weekends.

The tests available on these sites will be Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests - a type of rapid Covid-19 test in which the result is available within 24 hours. It is recommended that you get two negative LFD test results three days apart before travelling home. 

You do not need to book an appointment to attend for a test. You will be asked to provide your details so that you can be reminded to attend for a second test.

Is there a cost to having a test? (Added 25/11)

You will be able to access a free test at each of our campuses between 30 November and 9 December.

Do I have to have a test? (Added 25/11)

The tests are voluntary, however If you are travelling home for Christmas, we strongly recommend that you get a Covid-19 test before travelling to protect your family and friends and reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

How many tests do I need to take? (Added 25/11)

It is recommended that you get two negative LFD test results three days apart before travelling home. 

When should I have a test? (Added 25/11)

If you are travelling home for Christmas, we strongly recommend that you get a Covid-19 test before travelling to protect your family and friends and reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

You are encouraged to get tested as soon as possible.  You should only travel home if you receive a negative test result.

What happens if I test positive? (Added 25/11)

If your test result is positive, please inform us using our Covid reporting form. You must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your test (if you don't have any symptoms) or from when you develop symptoms if you develop them after the test.

You must self-isolate for 10 days in accordance with government guidance and anyone living with you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

What happens if one of my flat mates tests positive? (Added 25/11)

Anyone who is a close contact of someone testing positive, but does not show any symptoms and has two negative lateral flow test results, can go home safely and continue their self-isolation at home (14 days in total).

Should I travel home as soon as I receive a negative result? (Added 25/11)

The government advise that you should travel within 24 hours of receiving a negative test result.

Please inform our Accommodation teams know by updating your Christmas Break form on the Accommodation portal if this is different to what you have already told us.  Thank you.

I'm an International student and am travelling home, can I use lateral flow test results? (Added 25/11)

If you are intending to travel internationally, please be aware that some countries require a high level of Covid-19 certification as a condition of entry. This is not available through the national testing programme and you will need to be tested privately to meet this requirement. Please refer to the Government's foreign travel advice and contact the UK-based embassy of the country you're travelling to for further information.

I'm an International student travelling home, will I need to quarantine when I return in January? (Added 25/11)

If you travel overseas you should consider the restrictions on entry to the country in question, and if you would need to undertake a period of self-isolation in that country, and whether you would need to self-isolate when you return.

If you return from countries not on the exemption (travel corridor) list you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Please note: travel advice may change while you are overseas and we advise you to regularly check all relevant GOV.UK guidance pages for updates.

When will face-to-face teaching end in term 1? (Added 24/11)

We will continue to deliver face-to-face teaching until the end of Friday 4 December for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, with the exception of some programmes in FEHHS which will continue to have some on campus skills training up to 9 December.

What happens to teaching after Friday 4 December? (Added 24/11)

All teaching will move on-line until the end of term 1, we expect all students to continue with their studies to ensure they do not miss valuable teaching time.

When can I travel home before the end of term? (Added 24/11)

You can travel home during the government Student Travel Week of 3-9 December. Our Accommodation team will provide further information on arrangements for student residents separately.

You can also find out more details on the government website  there is also a document on safe travel for travelling home during this period, safer travel guidance for passengers.

Can I travel home before the 3 December? (Added 24/11)

From the 5 November until 2 December 2020 everyone must follow the national restrictions this means that students must stay in their current accommodation and not leave their term time address, except for specific purposes, including leaving home for education, during this period.

Can I travel after the Student Travel Week has ended on 9 December? (Added 24/11)

If you wish to travel after the Student Travel Week has ended on 9 December you may do so. We strongly recommend that all students plan their journeys home inside the Student Travel Week 3-9 December however if you must travel after this window, please also refer to the safer travel guidance for passengers.

From the 5 November until 2 December 2020 everyone must follow the national restrictions this means that students must stay in their current accommodation and not leave their term time address, except for specific purposes, including leaving home for education, during this period.

What if I have symptoms of Covid-19 during the Student Travel Week? (24/11)

If you have symptoms of Coronavirus then you must have a Covid-19 test and you must self-isolate until you have a negative test results. If you are self-isolating over the Student Travel Week once you have tested negative you will be able to travel home.

Further information and online forms on our Covid-Safe pages, please refer to those pages for up-to-date information.

What is Rapid Covid-19 testing? (Added 24/11)

The government is introducing a voluntary programme for rapid Covid-19 testing for universities aimed at supporting the return of students to their non-term time address. We will share full details once they have been confirmed.

Do I return to campus at the start of term 2? (Added 24/11)

For term 2 in January, we expect to return to our blended learning approach with a mix of online and face-to-face teaching. We will keep you updated as we receive the guidance from government on this.

I'm leaving halls earlier than planned what does this mean for me? (Added 24/11)

If you are leaving halls before the end of term on 11 December, we will refund a week's accommodation fees, as you will be returning home earlier than planned because of the guidance issued by government. To qualify for the refund you must vacate halls no later than 11 December and return after 19 December. If you cannot leave by 11 December because you have been told to isolate and leave immediately after your isolation period completes, you will also receive the discount.   

Do I have to leave campus at the end of term or during the holidays? (Added 24/11)

You do not have to leave campus at the end of term or during the holidays. If you wish to continue to travel to campus then you are very welcome to continue using our on campus facilities, following our Covid-Safe guidance and the government guidance in place.  If you will be staying in halls over the holidays, we will continue to provide extra support and we are working with the Students' Union to provide additional support over this period.

I'm a PGR Student can I continue my research to the end of term and over the Christmas period? (Added 24/11)

PGR Students can continue using the research facilities up until 22 December and within guidelines during the usual Christmas closure arrangements. More details are available here.

I am a placement student what does this mean for my off campus placements? (Added 24/11)

Students who are attending professional off-campus placements up to and beyond the 9 of December will continue with these according to the previous schedule of this placement, assuming the placement is still supported by the placement provider. Programme teams will be in touch with students to confirm the specific details of these placements.

Please contact your programme team if you have any concerns.

Will the university remain open following the government's announcement that a national lockdown to start on 5/11 (Added 2/11)

The government's announcement confirmed that universities, along with schools and colleges, will remain open. We expect to receive a letter from the Minister for Higher Education which may set out more detail, but, like other universities, we will continue with our approach of blended learning for now and will update you of any changes that we need to make.

How will the university support me during lockdown? (Added 05/11)

We would like you to continue with your studies as usual, but we recognise there may be times when this may not be possible.   We will be flexible and will provide additional support where you need it. Please speak to your personal tutor or faculty team about any concerns you have in relation to your course.  

We will step up what we do to support you in several areas:  

  • From next week there will be extra study spaces available for you on all three of our campuses 
  • While our gyms will need to close, our libraries will remain open  
  • We will be running additional online study skills sessions to provide you with extra opportunities for learning and developing key skills 
  • We will also be providing more support to our academic staff to provide the best possible online teaching experiences 
  • We will continue to make information available on Student News, please check the portal regularly 

All student services delivered by Greenwich Students' Union will be available online, including a huge range of social clubs, societies and activities. Information is available through GSU and GKSU websites as well as Instagram stories. The GSU Digital tribes will continue to bring together activities too, by students for students.  

The Lower Deck on Greenwich Campus is closed, but The Village Shop at Avery Hill will remain open throughout lockdown, as will Dreadnought in Greenwich and the Deep End at Medway, without bar services.  

I'm involved with essential research programmes and can't study/work from home, what should I do (Added 2/11)

If you are involved with essential research programmes and are unable to do this remotely, you should continue to attend campus and replicate the procedures agreed during the last lockdown, speaking to your PGR supervisor.

Will the universities libraries, gyms & cafes remain open in the second lockdown (Added 2/11)

The government's announcement confirmed that universities, along with schools and colleges, will remain open. All of our facilities currently remain open, and we will continue with our approach of blended learning for now. We will update you of any changes that we need to make. 

I travel to and from campus each day, can I still attend university during the second lockdown? (Added 2/11)

The government's announcement confirmed that universities, along with schools and colleges, will remain open.  Attending education is one of the specific purposes in which you are permitted to leave home.  The government also provides guidance on travel, encouraging you to walk or cycle where possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.

I live in halls, can I return home?  (Added 2/11)

The government's announcement confirmed that universities, along with schools and colleges, will remain open and leaving your home to attend education is one of the specific purposes in which you are permitted to leave home.  However, the government have included further restrictions for students who are living at university.  The government website says" If you live at university, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas. We will publish further guidance on the end of term."

I'm worried, concerned, anxious about this second lockdown what support is available to me? (Added 5/11)

As Jane acknowledged in her email to students, It is completely understandable if you find yourself struggling at times. Do please talk to someone and seek help and support.  

These support services are available for you to use. You can find the details of the university's Student Wellbeing Service and the Students' Union Advice Service on our website.

Can I wear a visor instead of a face covering in university buildings/vehicles? (Added 15/10)

The Public Health information advises that wearing a visor is not as beneficial as wearing a face covering.  Therefore, we recommend staff and students wear face coverings in our buildings and vehicles.

Our staff are wearing visors for teaching sessions and it is essential that the 2m social distancing is maintained.

How will the university let me know if I needed to self-isolate if someone I have been studying/working or living in halls with tests positive? (Added 8/10)

The university has strict procedures in place to follow when we are notified of confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 by students, staff or other visitors to campus, so that we can take swift action where appropriate to minimise the risk to others and enable us to liaise with external bodies such as Public Health England and local authorities to ensure that actions are effective and proportionate.

The Safety Unit will coordinate the university's response and will advise line managers, or a relevant member of staff to contact the team/cohort who have been in close contact with the individual and informing them of what actions they need to take, and remind them of the support available to them.

In line with our Covid-Safe charter, to protect the individual as much as possible when informing teams/cohorts we will not disclose the name of the student/colleague.  You can see our protocols on our Covid-Safe Arrangements page.

Where can I find my online lectures and online tutorials? (Added 21/9)

Online lectures are pre-recorded and can be accessed via the module Moodle sites and watched when it suits you.

Online tutorials will be accessed via links in the 'Calendar' and 'Upcoming events' sections of module Moodle sites.

Please speak to your programme leader/faculty team if you have specific queries as they will be able to provide a personalised response.

I have more questions about my timetabling, where can I find more information?

There are a series of FAQs on timetabling in this article which provides further guidance.

Please remember: Timetables may be subject to change, please check your timetable daily in the first 4 weeks of term and regularly thereafter.

With Covid-19 cases rising, what is the university doing to plan for changes to government advice?  (Added 21/9)

The government advisors have confirmed today (21/9) that Covid-19 cases are rising nationally.  We are continuing to monitor the situation closely as it develops.  The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and students remains our priority. We are monitoring the advice from government, including Public Health England and also Greenwich and Medway Public Health.

Our socially distanced campuses remain open, and we are continuing to deliver our blended learning approach.  If at any point we are advised by the relevant authorities to change our approach, or we feel that our campuses are not safe, then we will review this position and communicate this to everyone should a change be required.

If I have symptoms of Covid-19 or am required to self-isolate, what should I do? (Added 05/11)

If you have symptoms of Coronavirus then you must have a Covid-19 test and you and all members of your household must self-isolate until you have a negative test result. 

It is important the university is aware as soon as possible of all suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community of students, staff and others/visitors, and of those who are required to self-isolate for quarantine reasons.  This will help us take swift action where appropriate to minimise the risk to others and enable us to liaise with external bodies such as Public Health England and local authorities to ensure that actions are effective and proportionate.

For more information please see our Covid-Safe pages.

If I have symptoms of Covid-19 how do I notify the university? (Added 21/9)

We have further information and online forms on our Covid-Safe pages, please refer to those pages for up-to-date information.

Where can I find out more to help me at university?

We're here to help, and have plenty of help and advice available to you.  Keep checking the portal and our social media accounts for information on all aspects of life at university. 

These articles may also help:

What Financial support is available to me?

If you have concerns about your financial security, you can apply for our Greenwich Hardship Fund where you will be assessed for financial hardship. Support available includes additional IT equipment if needed. 

In addition, new undergraduate students from low-income households will be assessed for our Greenwich Bursary. Further information about financial support is available on our website.   

When and where will I get my timetable?

Timetables are now available on the portal, see more in our earlier Student News story. Timetables may be subject to change and you should check them regularly, particularly in the first weeks of term.

Your personal timetable on the 'My Timetable' tab and in the mobile app will be available when you have completed online registration and have been allocated to the individual group teaching activities you are required to attend.

How do I collect my Greenwich Gateway card?

Once you have completed online registration and your documents have been confirmed by university staff, you can collect your student ID card. Due to social distancing measures please only collect your card during the time you have been allocated. There might be more than one opportunity to collect your card, and you only need to attend one slot to collect your card. 

When can I collect my Greenwich Gateway card?

Please only come to collect your Greenwich Gateway card during the time you have been allocated.  There might be more than one opportunity to collect this, but you only need to come to one of those slots.

How is the university Covid-Safe?

Our Covid-Safe charter sets out our expectations that we expect every member of staff and students to follow in order to help keep everyone at the university safe. You can find more information on our Be Covid-Safe page including all the changes the university has made to make the campus as safe as possible. 

It is vital you follow the instructions the university has set out in order to keep everyone safe. 

You are required to wear a face covering in our buildings and on university buses. In line with our Covid-Safe Charter, you may face disciplinary action from the university if you do not wear face coverings when required to do so. This may put your place on your course at risk.

What social distancing measures are in place on campus?

Please maintain at least 2m social distancing.  

In line with Government guidance, please do not form groups of more than 6 people outside of teaching spaces. Staff may ask you to separate from each other if they see this happening on our campuses.

What other Covid-safe measures must I follow?

These include wearing a face covering in our buildings and on university buses, maintaining social distancing, washing your hands regularly and using sanitising points at the entry points of our buildings.  You must also maintain at least 2m social distancing and follow the one way systems in corridors and entry points.

Everyone needs to act responsibly to help keep us all safe.

What's happening for Welcome week?

Both GSU and GKSU events have provisions in line with new guidelines to ensure all face-to-face events are Covid-safe.

Welcome events are open to all Greenwich students and run through to October. To see the full programme, visit the unions' Welcome websites: www.greenwichsu.co.uk/welcome and www.gksu.co.uk/welcome.

Between 14 and 25 September GreFest is taking place - which will help you prepare for your studies - don't miss it!

What is GREFest?

GREFest is taking place between 14 and 25 September - and it's something you don't want to miss.  It will help you prepare for your studies, and there's some fun too.  Check out what's on on the Main stages and information tents, and the Festival fun.

How does online learning work?

We will be using a blended teaching model this term. This means we are combining face to face sessions on campus with online lectures. Your course will have the usual amount of teaching time and include lectures, seminars/discussions and practical work (where this is part of your course) and will be a mixture of on and off campus classes, depending on your individual course (and your ability to attend due to your personal circumstances).

How can I assess my personal Covid-Vulnerability

We have developed a self-assessment questionnaire to help you identify your vulnerability to Covid-19 using a medical risk assessment developed by the Association of Local Authority Medical Advisors (ALAMA). The questionnaire allows you to assess your vulnerability to Covid-19 based on the main risk factors associated with the disease (age, sex, ethnicity, BMI and medical conditions). 

Please note: If you are studying in the Faculty of Education Health and Human Sciences and your course includes a mandatory placement or period of work experience.  Please do not complete the questionnaire above as your faculty team will send you a link to a separate questionnaire designed for you, and completion is mandatory.

Can I study my course completely online during term 1?

We are encouraging all of our students to join us on campus from September 2020 because we want you to make the most of the whole student experience and take part in socially distanced activities including welcome week, seminars and tutorials, using buildings such as our student centres and libraries and where you have requested it, a place in halls of residence. We are putting a range of health and safety measures in place to ensure our campuses are safe and secure.

We do, however, recognise that some students may not be able to join us in person during term 1 due to coronavirus related circumstances. If this is the case, then we will ask you to submit a request to study completely online for Term 1, by 31 August 2020. If you need help to decide whether you are at higher risk to return, we have created a covid-vulnerability questionnaire to help you identify your vulnerability to Covid-19.  We will work directly with any students who are considered to be high or very high risk to adapt your timetable for you, which includes anyone who is due to start a placement in September (for more details please see the question above).

Once we have received your request, a member of your faculty team will contact you to discuss how your timetable will work and whether we can adapt it to be delivered completely online. Please note, that some programmes will not be available to be taken completely online in Term 1 due to restrictions from professional bodies. If this applies to you, we will contact you to discuss this in more detail.

What is the university doing to make it safe for staff and students to return to campus?

We have followed the government's five steps to working safely (called being 'COVID-secure'). Our COVID-19 risk assessment and guidance, explaining the changes we are making to keep our campuses are safe, can be found on our COVID-secure arrangements webpage.

Our halls of residence, libraries and social spaces on campus will reopen but you can expect to see some additional health and safety measures, for instance fewer people being allowed in smaller spaces at the same time, hand sanitiser points and one-way systems inside our buildings to help you to follow the government's advice about social distancing.  We will provide further information over the summer. 

We have acquired the 'Good To Go' Industry Standard, which recognises that we following government and industry Covid-19 guidelines, have a Risk Assessment in place, and a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing