Reducing the risk of catching coronavirus

University of Exeter expert in Communicable Disease Control and Infectious disease management, Dr Bharat Pankhania discusses how we can reduce the risk of catching coronavirus (COVID-19).

How to reduce your risk
Wash your hands
Self Isolation

Current students

Latest update – Monday 18 May, 10:00

As of Monday 18 May the Government have advised all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough, fever or anosmia. Anosmia is the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked. For further information please visit the GOV UK Pages.

Restrictions currently remain in place across all our campuses. The health, safety and wellbeing of students, colleagues and the wider community is our top priority.

For staff:

If you are currently working at home then you should continue to do so until you have explicit notice from your manager that you should return. You should not visit the campus unless you have been authorised to do so by your Service Director, Director of College Operations or Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

If you have been working on campus during the restrictions, there will be no change to your current arrangements. Please carry out your work and leave the campus at the earliest opportunity so you do not remain within buildings any longer than is necessary.

For students:

Whilst restrictions remain in place, we are not permitting students to return to campus, for example to collect belongings. Our Estate Patrol and security teams will continue to monitor access to residences to ensure students are adhering to this guidance.

If you have belongings in private accommodation, the same restrictions continue to apply. We are working with landlords to agree a plan for you to return to collect your belongings safely and in line with social distancing measures.

Please continue to check the FAQs below for updated information and guidance.

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation: either on campus, in an external student accommodation provider or in privately owned student accommodation, please notify us by email on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk giving the following details:

  1. Full name
  2. Student Number
  3. Address - including if you are living in Exeter or Cornwall
  4. Period of self-isolating - start and end date
  5. Contact telephone number

These details will then be passed to the relevant staff who will contact you to ensure you have access to the support you may need.

If you have any queries email us on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

Information for Postgraduate Research students

Please view our FAQs on the Doctoral College website for the latest information on COVID-19 support.

Frequently asked questions

Please note the advice on this page may change, particularly as there are ongoing updates to the Government guidanceFor the latest information on Examinations, Assessments, Awarding and Progression, including the no detriment policy, please visit these pages.

Respect in our community

We know that outbreaks can take place anywhere in the world. Internationally, nationally and locally there have been incidents of xenophobic and racist behaviour and abuse.

We emphasise the need to show respect, kindness and compassion for all during this uncertain time. Inappropriate behaviour or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. This is a hate crime and is against the law.

If you experience, or are witness to, any behaviour of this type, please report it to the police immediately. You can also report it to the University via our Speak Out web pages. We will investigate this and, where necessary, disciplinary procedures will be followed.

If you are feeling anxious during this time, further support is available via our wellbeing webpages.

We have signed an open letter with partners across Exeter on tackling hate crime and racism in our community, particularly in light of recent incidents in relation to coronavirus. This is a time when we must work together and support each other - not create more division and hurt. Read the letter in full​

University updates and actions

The significant changes to daily life caused by Covid-19 will impact on a number of religious observances including, but by no means limited to, Easter, Passover and Ramadan.

This year, Ramadan began on Thursday 23 April. During Ramadan communities come together in prayer, acts of worship and celebration. The current restrictions in place will no doubt have an impact on religious observance for many people all over the world. Gatherings central to many faith-based practices and religious observances will be restricted or prevented, but support is available to help alleviate the subsequent sense of isolation and grief which individuals may experience.

The WHO has issued guidance for safe Ramadan practices in the context of Covid-19, as well as more general guidance for religious leaders and faith-based communities which includes advice on supporting mental health and resilience, hosting virtual faith activities and safe burial practices.

We have produced a SWAY booklet on the possible impact of COVID-19 on Ramadan celebrations, including detail on health and wellbeing, work considerations and guidance for peers and colleagues.

The Government has released guidance on how to safely help people that are self-isolating or shielding. There are a number of points on how to help somebody, for example by delivering food and medicine to them, however if you are doing this, you must:

• stay outside their home if you do not live with them, especially if they are at a higher risk from coronavirus or have symptoms
• limit the time you spend outside your home for example by picking up their food or medicine with yours
• stay 2 metres (6 ft) away if you do not live with them
• not share a car with them
• regularly wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds

If you do not follow this advice, you could put yourself at risk of infection, or risk spreading it to others. If you or someone in your household starts to show symptoms, or if you are at high risk of severe symptoms yourself, then you must stay at home.

If you would like to offer your help volunteering in Exeter or Cornwall, visit the Exeter City Council pages, or the Cornwall Council website for further information.

Your safety is the priority. We recognise it’s not possible for everybody to volunteer at the moment, remember, everyone following the Government social distancing measures is saving lives and protecting the NHS.

The University, in partnership with its alumni community, has created an Emergency Assistance Fund to help students experiencing unexpected financial difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. All registered undergraduate and postgraduate University of Exeter students facing financial difficulty because of the crisis are eligible to apply, irrespective of fee-status.

Depending on your circumstances, payment may be made as:

  • An emergency loan with 0% interest (e.g. if you have financial means but are unable to access them)
  • A non-repayment grant (e.g. for additional expenses which you don’t have the means to repay)
  • A combination of both

For more information and how to apply, please visit the webpages.

We have postponed our summer ceremonies.

We appreciate this will be disappointing news but we will still be able to make awards for finalists who are expecting to complete their studies this summer. As we consider options for rearranging the graduation celebrations we will engage with students on the various options and be guided by you as to how we deliver the graduation ceremonies for this year’s finalists.

We are working on the process to issue certificates and or transcripts to those who will need them and will provide more details in due course.

We will not be recording attendance to scheduled teaching activities from Monday 23 March, so there will be no impact on your Tier 4 status. We will continue to sponsor your Tier 4 visa during this period, even if you return to your home country, so your visa will remain valid. You can use it to return to the UK at a later date if you wish to do so, as long as this is before the date that your current visa expires.

The library continues to give you access to the resources and support you need digitally.

All library buildings on the Exeter campuses close until further notice at 3:00pm on Friday 20th March. The library in Penryn will be open Monday-Friday 9:00-5:00, but this may change.

Further information for students and staff at an Exeter campus can be found here: https://libguides.exeter.ac.uk/coronavirus 

Further information for students and staff at Penryn can be found here: https://library.fxplus.ac.uk/service-updates-march-2020

Yes. If you are in receipt of Access to Exeter bursary, you will continue to receive payments as usual for the remainder of the academic year.

Further information from the Doctoral College, including useful FAQs, can be found online.

The University campuses are open only for essential services. In line with the Government’s latest advice, we have closed all communal areas on our campuses. This includes all libraries, study spaces and shared spaces in halls of residence. Students living on campus must study in their rooms.

We ask everyone to follow the guidance on social distancing, provided by the Government.

We have asked staff to work from home where possible. Essential operational staff are still on our campuses, for example Accommodation Catering teams, Estate Patrol and certain Technical Services staff.

All University events, both on and off campus until the end of May 2020, have been cancelled with immediate effect and the sports facilities on all campuses are closed.

Third parties and contractors should seek advice from their line management.

For online/remote sessions taking place from 23 March 2020, there is no requirement for you to complete an absence request within the LISA attendance system, if you are unable to attend online sessions.

Please check the module ELE page to catch-up on any missed teaching and contact your module lead if you need additional information or support.

If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in the business or workplace they should be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance.

If they need clinical advice, they should go online to NHS 111 or call 111 if they don’t have internet access. In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.

It is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home, unless government policy changes.

Please follow the comprehensive PHE guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidancewww.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-self-isolation-for-patients-undergoing-testing/advice-sheet-home-isolation

This provides a range of guidance on items such as washing, sharing household items and covering your face.

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.If you are living with someone who is self-isolating, you should ensure they are separate from everyone else in your home, as the virus can easily be transmitted at close quarters. This means not socialising with that person and where possible using a separate bathroom. If this is not available, then regular cleaning is required. You should also avoid sharing household items, such as dishes, glasses, cups, utensils, towels, bedding or other items with other people in your home.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

If you are self-isolating, we ask you to consider the actions you can take to keep our community safe. This includes staying away from vulnerable individuals, for example the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible. Please try to stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible, and sleep alone if you can.

 

Please do not be worried, your college and the support team will help to make sure this does not affect your studies.   

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation: either on campus, in an external student accommodation provider or in privately owned student accommodation, please notify us by email on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk giving the following details:

1. Full name
2. Student Number
3. Address - including if you are living in Exeter or Cornwall
4. Period of self-isolating - start and end date
5. Contact telephone number

These details will then be passed to the relevant staff who will contact you to ensure you have access to the support you may need.

In an emergency or outside of office hours please contact the following:

  • Exeter based colleagues and students should contact Estate Patrol on 01392 723999 (24 hours) 
  • Cornwall based colleagues and students should contact the Living Support Team on 01326 25 5341 or via email: ls-team@fxplus.ac.uk (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or the Security and Night Support team on 01326 253503 (evenings 5pm to 9am and weekends) 

Should you have any specific queries please email: coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk - this email is monitored from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday. If you have an immediate concern you need to raise during the evening or at the weekend please use the contact numbers detailed above. 

 

Students

Your wellbeing is extremely important to us and we would like to highlight the resources that are available to support you, if needed. This includes our self-help tool, SilverCloud and our Wellbeing Services at both our Exeter and Cornwall campuses.

Staff

There are a number of support services available to staff during this period. Our self-help tool, Pro-Counselling, can be used to access 24/7 telephone counselling via our online portal, as well as a range of well-being resources and guides. You can also talk to your line manager if you have any queries.

The various works on our campus, undertaken by the University and our partners, are continuing in accordance with the most recent Government advice, issued on 26th March and the Secretary of State letter on 31st March.

The Government has advised that construction activities can continue, provided contractors comply with social distancing requirements and enhanced cleaning measures. All contractors who continue to operate on campus are following the recently published Site Operating Procedures from the Construction Leadership Council.

The University is working closely with our partners to ensure this guidance is followed, and we are putting into place additional measures as appropriate. We are monitoring the situation as it evolves and will provide any further updates here.

In line with the Government’s latest advice, we have closed all communal areas on our campuses. This includes all libraries, study spaces and shared spaces in halls of residence. Students living on campus must study in their rooms.

The Government advises students remaining at university in England should not attempt to travel. Following guidance from Public Health England and the Department for Education, we advise that anyone in student accommodation (for example University residences) does not undertake further travel, we also advise you only leave your accommodation for the following reasons:

Shopping for basic necessities
One form of exercise a day
Medical needs
To provide essential care or help to a vulnerable person, or to travel to or from work where this cannot be done from home

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation: either on campus, in an external student accommodation provider or in privately owned student accommodation, please notify us by email on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk giving the following details:

1. Full name
2. Student Number
3. Address - including if you are living in Exeter or Cornwall
4. Period of self-isolating - start and end date
5. Contact telephone number

These details will then be passed to the relevant staff who will contact you to ensure you have access to the support you may need.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and the University senior management team is taking decisions in relation to University operations. Many teams across the University are working together around the clock to plan for managing the impact of these decisions within our community.

Colleagues in Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) and Exeter IT are working to ensure our capability and capacity to move to online delivery.

We continue to act on the advice of sources, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO); the World Health Organisation (WHO); the NHS and PHE. Updates will be communicated to students and staff regularly.

The University grounds are closed to the general public.  It is important our student community have a safe space to exercise and so we are reducing the amount of public footfall on our campus to enable this. 

We want to support you to take your daily exercise. Under the current Government restrictions, if you live on the campus you are able to use the University grounds for exercise purpose once a day. However, we ask you to take particular note of the Government guidance on exercising, which states that this should be done alone and not involve travelling beyond your local area for exercise. Exercising in groups, for instance games of football, and socialising are not permitted.

Please note, you may be required to present your Student ID whilst on site. University buildings and a number of specific outside spaces, including Sports Park pitches and all University tennis courts, are closed and we ask that you respect this. 

Planning for the next academic year

The University remains committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, colleagues and communities and ensuring the best possible teaching and learning experience throughout the next academic year.  

Social distancing and other restrictions may continue to be in place in September and beyond. Therefore we are a planning for a range of scenarios for the next academic year, which include both online and face to face learning, depending on government guidance at the time. 

All of our departments will deliver their portfolio of programmes flexibly – whether fully online, on-campus where possible, or a mix of the two through blended learning. This also means delivering programmes in an accessible manner, with the ability to switch smoothly between delivery modes as circumstances dictate.  

Not only will this allow us to continue to deliver excellent teaching and learning, regardless of external circumstances, it also fully aligns with our Education Strategy 2019-25. This highlights the need to capitalise on digital transformation to support learning and teaching, while ensuring it continues to support inclusion, diversity and wellbeing. 

In relation to our campuses, we are committed to doing everything possible to enable us to welcome new and returning students to the University campuses for the start of the autumn term. The start of term will be 21st September for undergraduates and 12th October for Taught Postgraduates (further information for postgraduate students will follow). Please note that start dates for programmes in the College of Medicine and Health vary, including by year of study; specific advice regarding these programmes will follow from the College.

We are committed to doing everything possible to enable us to welcome new and returning students to the University campuses for the start of the autumn term.

As long as it is safe to do so, we will keep our campuses open and we will seek to enable social interaction, access to facilities and face to face teaching.

Nevertheless, we must be realistic because we expect that social distancing and other restrictions are likely to continue for many months and the situation and government guidance that we must follow may change very rapidly at times during the year ahead.

In learning and teaching, we are planning for flexibility and for resilience in our approach so that whatever the year throws at us we will be providing you with the best possible opportunity to learn, to progress on your degree programme and to succeed.

All of our departments will deliver their portfolio of programmes flexibly – whether fully online, on-campus where possible, or a mix of the two through blended learning. This also means delivering programmes in an accessible manner, with the ability to switch smoothly between delivery modes as circumstances dictate.  

We want to hear your feedback and we want to give you an opportunity to play an active, hands-on role in developing our digitally-enhanced portfolio over the coming months.

Listening to your feedback: Having reached the end of what may have been your first taste of online learning and online examinations, you are now in a great position to reflect on the experience and help shape digital enhancement of your degree programmes.

Paid opportunities: We realise the additional challenges in the internship and employment environment this year and we need your expert input into our online learning offer going forward. Therefore, we are making a substantial investment in a number of new roles, these include:

  • 100 Digital Learning Analyst Internships (Student Campus Partner opportunities). We are seeking at least two of these roles in every academic department to undertake 100 hours of part-time flexible work (remotely when/if necessary).
  • 30 Graduate Business Partners to train as Graduate Digital Learning Developers these are full-time or part-time roles for a period of 12 months (remote when/if necessary), you would first receive training in digital content production in the context of online learning.

We hope that many of you will be interested in these exciting opportunities not only to shape the future of your degree programmes but also to gain invaluable digital skills that are highly sought after by employers across all sectors. Other opportunities will be coming and we will share more details as soon as we can. For more information on these fantastic opportunities and for details on how to apply visit our Enhancement internships page.

We are seeking to recruit 100 Digital Analyst Interns, at least two roles for each academic department.

You will complete 100 hours of part-time flexible work (remotely as necessary). Working closely with the Director of Education and other academics in the department to provide real-time feedback on modules in development, including the signposting and navigation, types of digital content, etc. You would also be asked to help gather further feedback from and provide information to fellow students.

For more information on these fantastic opportunities and for details on how to apply visit our Enhancement internships page.

 

We are recruiting 30 Graduate Business Partners to train as Digital Learning Developers.

These are full-time or part-time roles for a period of 12 months working remotely as necessary.

As part of the role you would first receive training in digital content production in the context of online learning. Then you would work closely with academics and our professional Technology-Enhanced Learning colleagues to develop digital learning resources to support blended learning and embed them within the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE).

For more information on these fantastic opportunities and for details on how to apply visit our Enhancement internships page.

 

The start of term will be 21st September for undergraduates and 12th October for Taught Postgraduates (further information for postgraduate students will follow). Please note that start dates for programmes in the College of Medicine and Health vary, including by year of study; specific advice regarding these programmes will follow from the College.

University Accommodation

Following advice from Public Health England and the Department for Education, we advise that anyone in student accommodation (for example University residences) does not undertake further travel, we also advise you only leave your accommodation for the following reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities
  • One form of exercise a day
  • Medical needs
  • To provide essential care or help to a vulnerable person, or to travel to or from work where this cannot be done from home

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation: either on campus, in an external student accommodation provider or in privately owned student accommodation, please notify us by email on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk giving the following details:

1. Full name
2. Student Number
3. Address - including if you are living in Exeter or Cornwall
4. Period of self-isolating - start and end date
5. Contact telephone number

These details will then be passed to the relevant staff who will contact you to ensure you have access to the support you may need.

You should contact a friend/friends who can do shopping for you and leave it outside your room. Please note, under no circumstances should your friend enter your room. If you don’t have someone who can do this for you, please let the accommodation team know as soon as possible.

The Government have released some useful information on self-isolating in these circumstances

The UK government has issued guidelines on what to do if you are living in shared accommodation and self-isolating. This includes if you are sharing toilets, bathrooms and kitchens. It includes:

  • Ensuring you use separate towels in your household – including for drying your hands.
  • If you share a toilet/bathroom you should clean them every time you use them, wiping down every surface you have been in contact with.
  • If you share a kitchen, avoid using it while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat. Wash up and dry thoroughly. Consider setting up a rota for using the kitchen and bathroom.
  • You should not have visitors, including friends or family.

We recommend you read all of the online advice issued by the Government.

Have you told us that you are self-isolating? 

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation: either on campus, in an external student accommodation provider or in privately owned student accommodation, please notify us by email on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk giving the following details:

1. Full name
2. Student Number
3. Address - including if you are living in Exeter or Cornwall
4. Period of self-isolating - start and end date
5. Contact telephone number

These details will then be passed to the relevant staff who will contact you to ensure you have access to the support you may need.

If you have any queries email us on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

 

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation: either on campus, in an external student accommodation provider or in privately owned student accommodation, please notify us by email on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk giving the following details:

1. Full name
2. Student Number
3. Address - including if you are living in Exeter or Cornwall
4. Period of self-isolating - start and end date
5. Contact telephone number

These details will then be passed to the relevant staff who will contact you to ensure you have access to the support you may need. If you have any queries email us on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

You should contact a friend/friends who can bring you your meal and leave it for you outside your room. Please note, under no circumstances should your friend enter your room. If you don’t have someone who can do this for you, please let the accommodation team know as soon as possible.

The Government have released some useful information on self-isolating in these circumstances.

For further information on University Accommodation in relation to COVID-19, term 3, services and rent payments, please visit the University of Exeter Accommodation webpages.

Private Student Accommodation

This will depend on your circumstances, e.g. if you live alone or if you live with others but everyone on the tenancy agreement wants to leave.

If you have signed a contract for a fixed period of time, e.g. an academic year, calendar year or any other period, and you are still in that fixed period then you will need to check if your contract contains something called a “break clause” (sometimes also under the heading “Tenant’s right to terminate” or similar).
Be aware that you can only use a break clause if every tenant on the agreement wants to move out.

If your contract has a break clause/right to terminate then this may mean that you can terminate your contract after a certain date, but before the end of the fixed term, provided you give the required notice. You may have to pay rent until the required notice period has ended.

If your contract does not have a break clause, or you can’t exercise the break right yet, you will not have any automatic right to end your contract. Although the coronavirus outbreak presents an unprecedented set of circumstances for landlords and tenants alike, there have not yet been any changes to the law regarding ending tenancies due to the outbreak, and until you negotiate with your landlord, your obligation to pay rent will not change.

The practical advice is to discuss your wish to end the tenancy with your landlord. If the landlord is happy to let you go without further rent payments, then you will not be required to pay rent. You should ensure that your landlord confirms this in writing. However, if the landlord will not release you from the contract, they could still ask you or your guarantor for the money, even if you have moved out.

If you want to leave but other tenants are staying in the property then it is unlikely that you will able to leave without continuing to pay rent, unless you find a replacement tenant. Again, you should discuss your wish to end the tenancy with the other tenants and your landlord. If the landlord is happy to let you go and will not require your rent to be paid in your absence, then you will not be required to pay rent. However, if the landlord will not release you from the contract without a replacement, they could still ask you, your housemates or your guarantor for the money, even if you have moved out.

If you leave before the end of your contract without the agreement of the landlord and stop paying your rent, this will be a breach of your contract. The landlord may seek to take action to get the rent from you, or from your guarantor if you have one. They may take some of this money from your deposit. If the amount you owe them exceeds your deposit, they may write to you to request the money. You might be charged interest on the amount owing. If you still don’t pay, they may start a court claim against you.

If your landlord brings a legal claim against you for unpaid rent, this is not a criminal trial or a criminal offence, and you won’t get a criminal record. You will be asked to attend court, and if you don't attend the hearing will go ahead in your absence. If the judge decides you should have paid the money, you will be asked to pay it as part of the judgement. You may also be asked to pay the landlord's court costs.

If you still don’t pay the money after the court has decided you should, you may receive a further judgement that can negatively affect your credit rating in the UK. This may make it difficult for you to borrow money or pass reference checks for rented accommodation in the UK in the future. If you are worried about the impact of this on any current or future visa in the UK, please seek advice from an immigration advice service.

If someone you live with has suspected/diagnosed coronavirus they must self-isolate in accordance with Government guidelines, as must you. You may wish to stay elsewhere; please follow the self-isolation guidelines.

If you leave your rented property due to someone you live with having coronavirus, you will still have to pay rent.

Landlords must now give a minimum of 3 months’ notice for any evictions of tenants and of some licensees. This will not apply to lodgers of live-in landlords. If your landlord has already issued you with notice, they will not be able to evict you for a further 3 months. The government has stated this period may be extended. Currently, after the 3 months’ notice expires, the landlord will be able to apply to the court for you to be evicted. However, the government guidance states that even if this does take place, it will likely be a further 6-8 weeks, or longer given the current circumstances, for any evictions to go through the courts.

Your will still have to pay your rent. Landlords and tenants are advised to work out a realistic repayment plan for any rent missed in this 3 month period, taking into account the circumstances, but there is no legal obligation on landlords to do this. For the full advice from the UK government, please see the Government webpages.

The below advice still outlines the normal situation for evictions. Please note all of us currently still applies but with a minimum 3 months’ notice.

 

Assured Shorthold Tenancies

Your landlord cannot evict you without an order from the court granting them possession of the property. If the landlord wants to evict you, they must send you a notice requiring possession. This will be either a Section 21 or Section 8 notice.

If you have a fixed term tenancy

The landlord can only evict you during the fixed term of the tenancy by issuing a Section 8 notice and going to court. If you have less than 8 weeks rent arrears, it is up to the judge to decide whether you should be evicted. You would be able to submit a defence that it was due to financial problems caused by coronavirus. If you have over 8 weeks rent arrears, it is a mandatory ground for eviction, so the judge will allow the eviction.

If you are in a periodic ‘rolling’ tenancy, or your fixed term is ending soon and has not been renewed

The landlord can use the accelerated Section 21 process to evict you with 2 months’ notice, whether you have any rent arrears or not. However, you should always seek advice if you receive an eviction notice, as many of them are invalid and there are various requirements that landlords must comply with before a valid possession notice can be served – if a notice is invalid this can delay the eviction considerably.

If you have a licence agreement for accommodation where the landlord does not live with you

Your landlord can only evict you before the end of the fixed term if there is a clause in the contract stating they can do so (a break or termination clause). Any such clause should set out what notice you should be given. By law, you are entitled to ‘reasonable’ notice, and the landlord still has to apply to the court to evict you.

If you live with your landlord

Your landlord can evict you without a court order. You are still legally entitled to reasonable notice. The landlord can change the locks themselves.

You should refer to the current Government guidelines, including information on reducing day-to-day contact with other people. It will be reasonable for your landlord and flatmates to expect you to adhere to these as they are updated.

Your landlord can ask you to leave at the end of your fixed-term agreement. They can ask you to leave earlier than this agreement if the contract says they can.
If your agreement doesn't set out a notice period, you should be entitled to 'reasonable' notice. This is usually a week if you pay your rent weekly, or a month if you pay your rent monthly.

If your landlord is giving you less than reasonable notice, or are asking you to leave before the end of the fixed term when your contract does not permit this, you could dispute this with them.

In practice, it can be quite difficult to challenge an eviction with a live-in landlord though. We would suggest you seek legal advice if this is happening to you. It is a criminal offence for your landlord to use or threaten violence when evicting you.

Gas safety checks are very important, but this may need to be balanced against the case for maintaining self-isolation or minimizing the risk of infection in the current situation. If you are at high risk from COVID-19 and your gas installation is well maintained this might be the case. Generally tenants have a fundamental right to exclude anyone from the property, including the landlord.

If there are any signs to suggest that your boiler is faulty or you smell gas do not delay the inspection.

If you decide to refuse access to the landlord you can refer them to the guidance from the health and safety executive to landlords which says that landlords should make reasonable efforts to conduct a gas safety check annually and if it proves to not be possible, they should keep evidence of the reasons why the inspection could not be done. That will be the correct thing for many landlords to do right now.

General guidance on the contractual position is set out below, however, this must be read in conjunction with Government guidance as it is updated during the coronavirus outbreak. Given the current restrictions on movement, viewings should not be taking place at this time.

If you are on an assured shorthold tenancy then landlords have no implied right to enter a property to conduct viewings. They can only do this if there is a clause in your tenancy agreement stating that you must permit access for viewings, so you should look at your contract to try and find this clause.

The legal starting point is that tenants have a fundamental right to “exclusive possession” which means that they can exclude anyone (even the landlord) from the property.
If the tenant has agreed in the contract to allow viewings, and the tenant refuses to permit this, strictly this would be a breach of contract and the landlord could object and try to make a claim against you.

Usually if a contract gives the landlord a right of access, it states that access should be at a reasonable time. You could potentially argue that the timing is not reasonable at the moment due to the ongoing situation - having people enter your home at this time would be unreasonable and potentially put you at risk. You might also be able to argue that a clause which gives the landlord a right to conduct viewings in any circumstances, despite the Government’s recommendations not to allow visitors into your home, is ‘unfair’ and not binding on you.

If you live in a shared house (renting a room individually) the situation is different – the landlord is entitled to access the common parts. You could still negotiate with the landlord and make sure that any viewings are at an agreed time so that you can avoid people viewing the property and wash door handles/bannisters after the viewing. You could also refuse to allow viewings in your room – although again, there is a risk that you might be breaching your contract.

If you are self-isolating, you may wish to refer your landlord to the NHS guidance on self-isolation.

If you have a live-in landlord then you do not have a right to exclude people from the property. Your landlord can bring visitors into the property for any reason and can usually enter your room without notice. You may wish you link your landlord to the guidance on self-isolation if you are concerned.

“Force Majeure” involves an event or sequence of events which are beyond a party's reasonable control - preventing or delaying it from performing its obligations under the agreement, e.g. something happening to your house which means that you can’t live in it anymore, such as a natural disaster destroying the property.

It is generally thought that whilst COVID-19 may be a Force Majeure event, it is unlikely to prevent you from occupying the property or stop the tenancy from continuing. It is therefore unlikely that a Force Majeure will allow you to end a tenancy early, even if there is a Force Majeure clause in your contract.

Travel advice and updates

UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) have released guidance on the immigration implications caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. 

If you are in the UK and your current visa expires between 24th January 2020 and 31st May 2020 you can apply to have it extended until 31st May 2020. You will need to request to do this by contacting the UKVI Coronavirus Immigration Team. Details of how to do this and the information that you must provide are available on the gov.uk website.

Advice for those intending to travel abroad and for those returning to the UK from specific countries is changing rapidly. 

Before travelling, or making plans to travel, you must check the latest advice from the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice website. This has links to detailed advice for every country/territory, and you should make sure to check the ‘Summary’ and ‘Health’ sections for the country/territory you are travelling to. There is also a facility to sign up for email alerts for the country/territory you are visiting. 

The Government has now withdrawn their advice for travellers returning from specific countries and areas and this has been superseded by ‘stay at home’ guidance on what to do if you have confirmed or possible coronavirus infection. Those returning to the UK from overseas should familiarise themselves with this guidance.

Please also stay up-to-date with our University specific advice and guidance on travel.

UPDATED UNIVERSITY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

The University has made the decision to temporarily suspend all international travel for work or study purposes, unless deemed essential.

We have attempted to contact all staff and postgraduate students who are currently abroad. If you have not done so already, please confirm your current position to insurance@exeter.ac.uk, including whether you are:

a) remaining overseas (if so, please confirm that you have risk assessed and are safe)
b) you have returned to the UK or your home location, or
c) you are in the process of or making plans to return. If you need assistance, please let us know how best to contact you and we will arrange for someone to get in touch.

The safety of our staff and students is of paramount importance, therefore we suggest you complete our coronavirus travel risk assessment form before considering any travel; including personal travel or travel within the UK.

You will know that the situation is changing all the time. Please check the Foreign Travel Advice website and your emails for updated information.

Trips booked within the next month should be cancelled. Once the trip has been cancelled please let your supervisor or line manager, and the insurance team (insurance@exeter.ac.uk) know that you are no longer planning to travel.

If you are currently overseas for work or study purposes and would like to return to the UK please contact your supervisor or line manager for guidance or contact us via coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk. Supervisors and managers may need to seek further advice from their College or Professional Service.

Staff and Postgraduates must have completed the online travel form via: www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/

Students must have arranged appropriate insurance, either via the University undergraduate travel insurance provider (www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/undergraduatetravelinsurance/), or a provider of their choice.

Advice for those intending to travel abroad and for those returning to the UK from specific countries is changing rapidly. 

Before travelling, or making plans to travel, you must check the latest advice from the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice website. This has links to detailed advice for every country/territory, and you should make sure to check the ‘Summary’ and ‘Health’ sections for the country/territory you are travelling to. There is also a facility to sign up for email alerts for the country/territory you are visiting. 

The Government has now withdrawn their advice for travellers returning from specific countries and areas and this has been superseded by ‘stay at home’ guidance on what to do if you have confirmed or possible coronavirus infection. Those returning to the UK from overseas should familiarise themselves with this guidance.

Please also stay up-to-date with our University specific advice and guidance on travel.

UPDATED UNIVERSITY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

If you are currently abroad for work or study purposes and would like to consider returning to the UK please contact your supervisor or line manager for guidance or contact us via coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk. Supervisors and managers may need to seek further advice from their College or Professional Service.

Staff and Postgraduates must have completed the online travel form via: www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/

Students must have arranged appropriate insurance, either via the University undergraduate travel insurance provider (www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/undergraduatetravelinsurance/), or a provider of their choice.

Please complete our coronavirus travel risk assessment form  before considering any trips.

Advice for those intending to travel abroad and for those returning to the UK from specific countries is changing rapidly. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. 

Before travelling, or making plans to travel, you must check the latest advice from the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice website. This has links to detailed advice for every country/territory, and you should make sure to check the ‘Summary’ and ‘Health’ sections. There is also a facility to sign up for email alerts for particular countries/territories. 

The University will aim to support any student who is unable to travel back to the UK with continuation of study, so far as is reasonably practicable on a case by case basis. However, students unable to return to the University due to any newly imposed travel restrictions, need to be prepared that the sitting of their exams, and their subsequent teaching and learning activities could be disrupted.

For staff and postgraduate students

Staff and postgraduate students are being instructed not to travel, or to book any international travel for business reasons until further notice. This is to protect individuals from increased risk of contracting the virus, and also to minimise the risk of facilitating its spread.

Future International Travel – do not book

If you make your travel arrangements now and incur costs for a trip in the future, we will be unable to arrange any travel insurance as it is foreseeable the trip may be cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Insurance can only be purchased where an event or incident is unforeseeable.

For undergraduate students

Students are being are being instructed not to travel, or to book any international travel for study or placement purposes until further notice. This is to protect individuals from increased risk of contracting the virus, and also to minimise the risk of facilitating its spread. When the University international travel restrictions are lifted, this will be communicated.

Teaching will be made available online from 23 March until further notice and lab-based project work will be subject to individual risk assessment. Examinations and Assessments will take place online until further notice with alternative arrangements in place where required. You will still be registered as an Exeter student and university accommodation will remain open for the remainder of the academic year.

We advise you to make plans to go home over the next few days if you are able to do so.

We have made important adjustments and preparations which will allow you as an exchange student to return home.

1) Email your home university and inbound@exeter.ac.uk with your decision and your dates of travel
2) Your College will be in contact with information about alternative assessments in due course.
3) If you are in university accommodation, email SID with notice that you are leaving early
Subject line: Accommodation: Exchange Student Early Departure

We are monitoring updates on coronavirus closely and will continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to our University community.

For any additional queries concerning your exchange, please contact inbound@exeter.ac.uk.

 

Provided you have completed the online travel insurance form to register for the University of Exeter travel insurance policy, a claim may be considered by insurers if:

The FCO advice on travel to your destination has changed, both after the date of booking travel and after the date that the trip was registered for insurance to:

• Advise against all travel or
• Advise against all but essential travel

If the event which you are going to attend is cancelled by the organisers as a result of Coronavirus prior to your departure, provided you are able to provide documentation and a claim form demonstrating the full circumstances of the situation, a claim can be presented to Insurers for their consideration.

If a University (College or Directorate) decision has been made to cancel a trip to a location for which the FCO continue to advise against all or against all but essential travel, then a claim for the cost incurred to the University can be submitted to the travel insurers for their consideration.

How to claim

A claim form will need to be completed and returned with the required supporting documentation to the insurance office for onward transmission to the insurer for their consideration:
http://www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/claims/

Please note we cannot guarantee that a claim will be successful as this decision rests with the travel insurer based on the circumstances of the loss at the time, and in relation to the travel insurance policy documentation. We will of course do everything that we can to ensure that genuine claims are successful.

Exclusions where claims will not be available

If a decision has been taken not to travel to a country where the FCO has not advised against all travel or all but essential travel, the Insurers will not consider a claim, as this is considered to be disinclination to travel.

There is a standard exclusion on our travel insurance policy that claims arising from government directives are excluded by the policy. Therefore if any Government, including the UK or destination countries implement travel bans that cause the cancellation or curtailment of a trip, cover will not be in place to reimburse costs incurred.

Future travel

If a trip was booked prior to any change in FCO guidance, and that guidance now advises against travel, a claim may be made as set out above.

For trips booked now for future dates, it is unlikely that financial losses other than emergency medical expenses will be covered by the Travel Insurers. Please see the following section for more detail if you are planning a future trip: I’m planning on travelling abroad for work/study, what do I need to do?

Concerns about your health and studies

Public Health England (PHE) have updated their advice on what to do if you experience symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

If you have symptoms, however mild, please self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms started. If you need to self-isolate please let us know so we can make sure you have access to any support you may need. 

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. 

Students

Following our decision to ask students to go home where possible, we are no longer collating information on absence from face to face teaching.

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation: either on campus, in an external student accommodation provider or in privately owned student accommodation, please notify us by email on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk giving the following details:

1. Full name
2. Student Number
3. Address - including if you are living in Exeter or Cornwall
4. Period of self-isolating - start and end date
5. Contact telephone number

These details will then be passed to the relevant staff who will contact you to ensure you have access to the support you may need.

You no longer need to use the LISA attendance monitoring system to record absences. From Monday 23 March we are moving to online/remote delivery of teaching, where possible. In addition to this, from 23 March, Examinations and Assessments will take place online until further notice, with alternative arrangements in place where required.

If you have any queries email us on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

Staff

Please use the staff online form to let us know if you are self-isolating. You should also follow the guidance in the Staff FAQ “Reporting Absence – When and how do I report absence?”

Information about pay arrangements can be found online

Contact details for emergencies and out of hours help are listed below:

- Exeter: contact Estate Patrol on 01392 723999 (24 hours)
- Cornwall: contact the Living Support Team on 01326 255341 or via email: ls-team@fxplus.ac.uk (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or the Security and Night Support team on 01326 253503 (evenings 5pm to 9am and weekends)

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation, but please contact us using the details above. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency always dial 999.

We know for some that coronavirus is of increased concern. Those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, may feel particularly vulnerable. If you have an existing or underlying health condition and you are worried about your health regarding the coronavirus, we would encourage you to use the NHS 111 online tool.

The NHS will be contacting around 1.2 million people at the highest risk of complications, such as patients having treatment for cancer or people on immunosuppressant therapy, who will be asked to isolate at home for 12 weeks to protect themselves. They will get special guidance from the NHS.

If you are self isolating on advice from Public Health England (PHE) please let us know by emailing coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

Similarly, if you have any relevant underlying health conditions we need to be aware of, please let us know by emailing coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

In the meantime, we are identifying and communicating directly with anyone we know has recently travelled from affected countries and need to self-isolate regardless of the state of their health.

Up-to-date guidance on coronavirus testing, including eligibility, how to get tested and the different types of test available can be found here

Everyone in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, over the age of 5, with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms is now eligible for a test. Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough; high temperature; and now also a loss of or change in your normal sense of smell or taste can book a test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

We cannot guarantee whether or not anyone is able to get tested and there are limited numbers of tests available. The number of tests available differs dependent on where you are currently residing.

Please be aware the test is an ‘antigen test’. It tests if you currently have coronavirus. The test to tell if you’ve ever had coronavirus (‘antibody test’) is not available yet. Please therefore only apply if you meet the following criteria:

• tests need to be carried out in the first 5 days of having symptoms
• it’s best to apply for the test in the first 3 days as it may take 1 or 2 days to arrange
• when applying for a test, use the self-referral option, the University is not currently completing referrals

 

General updates on coronavirus (COVID-19)

All individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough, fever or anosmia.

Anosmia is the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked. For further information please visit the GOV UK Pages.

 

The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England (PHE) update the UK’s COVID-19 information on a regular basis.

PHE have created a blog ‘Novel Coronavirus: what you need to know’. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have also created a dedicated website for information and guidance. 

Yes it is safe. People receiving packages from any affected country or area are not at risk of contracting the Coronavirus. From previous analysis, the World Health Organisation has confirmed that coronaviruses do not survive long on objects such as letters or packages.

To find out more about what the health and social care system across the UK has done to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and what it plans to do next, please read the  Coronavirus action plan: a guide to what you can expect across the UK.

With regard to face masks and face coverings – the University continues to follow current government advice. Face coverings are not compulsory, however you are advised to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible or where you are more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet. For example, on public transport or in some shops. The government advice is very clear regarding the need to reserve surgical face masks for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace such as health and care workers. More information and details on how you can make and wear a cloth face covering can be found on the government website - www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

Public Health England (PHE) is advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. The Government have identified those that are classified as extremely vulnerable, and those that are at increased risk of severe illness, online.

Guidance on those who are at increased risk of severe illness
Guidance on who is classified as extremely vulnerable

If you are classed as extremely vulnerable, your GP or the NHS in England will contact you directly with advice about the more stringent measures you should take, in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice from PHE.

If you are worried about your health regarding the coronavirus, you can use the NHS 111 online tool or contact your GP for further advice.

If you are a member of staff, you can talk to your line manager about being in a high risk category.

If you are a student, you can contact your GP or relevant health professional for advice. If you would like Wellbeing support, you can contact Wellbeing Services.

 

The Government has released a document on social distancing measures. Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people.

They are:

  1. Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  2. If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  3. Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  4. Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms
  5. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  6. Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
  7. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
  8. Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces
  9. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

Everyone must follow these measures as much as is pragmatic.

Advice for parents

Unfortunately, we are not able to discuss the details of individual students with parents, guardians or carers unless the student gives us permission to do so, but please be assured we are keeping students up to date with the latest information, which can be found on this webpage and also via the Public Health England (PHE) webpages. We would encourage any student with an underlying health condition to speak to their GP for advice. 

We encourage you to make contact with your child directly and re-emphasise the need to contact 111 if they are worried about their health.

Examinations, Assessments, Progression and Awarding

For the FAQs on Examinations, Assessments, Awarding and Progression, including the no detriment policy, please visit these pages.