Coronavirus - FAQs and information for residents

Coronavirus FAQs

Coronavirus FAQs

During the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation this page will provide you with the latest updates and answers to frequently asked questions relating to accommodation. We are monitoring the latest advice and guidance issued by the UK Government, Public Health England (PHE) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and will continue to take all appropriate and necessary steps to ensure that our residences remain a safe place. 

Have you got a question?

Self-isolation in University accommodation

If you need to self-isolate, please see our 'information for students who are self-isolating' webpage for frequently asked questions and information.

Postgraduate starting course in January

If you are starting your course in in January, please see our Postgraduate frequently asked questions for further information about your accommodation and arrival. 

Accommodation contract

Under the Terms and Conditions of Residence, you will still be charged for your accommodation even if you left your accommodation during the contract period before 4 January 2021 and you will not receive a refund if you did not occupy the accommodation. 

Please see FAQs below regarding rent adjustments for period 4 January to 19 June 2021.

If you can return in line with the Government guidance about Students returning to, and starting, Higher Education in Spring and Summer 2021, your contracted room remains available to you.
 
Please ensure that you have checked the government web site about travel and our information about returning to campus. Please note the section on having a negative covid test prior to returning to campus and the wearing of face masks which you are strongly advised to do. 
 
If you do not have your fob for access please ensure that you return when your reception is open. For details please see our Reception opening times at https://www.exeter.ac.uk/accommodation/residences/residencereceptions/.
 
When residing in the accommodation, please remember coronavirus restrictions remain in place so ensure that you follow current government guidelines to include:
 
  • Only socialise indoors with people you live with or who are in your support bubble
  • Up to 6 people or 2 households can meet outside
  • If you have symptoms get a test and stay at home

We recommend you refer to the additional information on our main Coronavirus FAQ page, in particular the information about returning from overseas.

All travellers to the UK currently need to self-isolate for 10 days when they arrive, regardless of their pre-departure test result. Please refer to the Government's Coronavirus (COVID-19): testing before you travel to England webpage for guidance. In most cases you will be able to self-isolate in your term-time room but we suggest you contact the Accommodation Office prior to travel so that we can advise you on this.  

A number of countries are subject to travel bans but students should be allowed entry for study reasons. Please check the Government's Coronavirus (COVID-19): travel bans to the UK webpage for a full list of affected countries. If you have been in or will be travelling through any of the countries on this list in the last 10 days then you must contact the Accommodation Office prior to travel as we will need to make separate arrangements for your self-isolation.

*PLEASE NOTE* From 15 February, when entering the UK from a country with a travel ban to the UK, you must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days. When entering Scotland, the hotel quarantine requirement applies on arrival from all countries except Ireland. Please check the Government's "Booking and staying in a quarantine hotel when you arrive in England" webpage for up-to-date information and details on how to make arrangements for your hotel quarantine period. 

Our catered contract commence for term 3 from Sunday 25 April and your accommodation will not be available until that weekend so if you arrive before that date you will not be able to self-isolate in your term-time room.

You therefore need to contact the Accommodation Office prior to travel so that we can advise you on which accommodation can be offered to you for your period of self-isolation and you will need to pay for any additional days that you occupy a room.

A room is likely to be offered in our self-catered accommodation and you will need to remain in that accommodation until your period of self-isolation is over. You will not be able to move into your catered room until you have completed your self-isolation.

Our current room move policy remains in place and we will continue to consider room moves on a case-by-case basis.

Updated information from 25 February 2021

You can request to be released from your contract if you meet the following criteria: 

1) You were not in residence on 4 January 2021 

2) You have not lived in the accommodation at any point between 4 January and 19 June 2021 (self-catered contracts) or 12 June 2021 (catered contracts). 

If you meet these criteria we will release you from your accommodation contract with us (or arrange for you to be released where you are in University of Exeter nominated accommodation) without any charges (subject to our right/our nominated provider’s right to claim damages in the event that you have breached any provisions of your contract before the date on which you are released, e.g. because you have damaged your room). 

Once you are released from your contract you will no longer be able to use your room. 

You must make the request via this form by 31 May 2021. We will need to verify the information you have submitted before responding to your request.

If you returned to the accommodation during this period, you can apply for a pro-rota adjustment to your account so that rent charges are waived for the period between 4 January 2021 and the date that you arrived at your accommodation which will be confirmed against our records. 

Please indicate on the form that you would like to apply for the rent adjustment for the period you were not resident and indicate the date you returned to the accommodation. Please make a request by completing this form by 31 May 2021We will need to verify the information you have submitted before responding to your request.

As government guidelines indicate that you should remain in the residence you were occupying at the start of the national lockdown for the whole period, we will not be able to make an adjustment to your accommodation account even if you decided to leave the accommodation and did not reside for part of the period between 4 January and 19 June 2021. 

If you had to leave your accommodation due to exceptional circumstances please provide details of these in writing to use via SID Online or sid@exeter.ac.uk by 31st May 2021 so that we can consider whether your account can be adjusted in your particular circumstances.

If you choose to return to use your accommodation but later decide to leave and not return again before the end of your contract, you will be charged from the date on which you returned until the end of your contract and will not be entitled to a further adjustment on your account. 

If you had to leave your accommodation due to exceptional circumstances please provide details of these in writing to use via SID Online or sid@exeter.ac.uk by 31st May 2021 so that we can consider whether your account can be adjusted in your particular circumstances. 

Under your contract obligations you will be expected to pay for your accommodation from 19 June 2021 until the end of your contract. 

Moving out of the accommodation and returning the key, key fob or key card to the Residence Reception is not sufficient to terminate your accommodation contract early and unless you complete the form by 31 May 2021 you will remain liable to comply with all your responsibilities under the Terms and Condition of Residences until the end of the Period of Residence. 

Your contract is in place from the time you receive our Contract Formation Email and even if you have not moved into the accommodation you will still be expected to pay for your accommodation for any period after 19 June 2021.

If you have not lived in the accommodation for any period between 4 January and 19 June 2021 then you do not need to make payment. We will adjust your account once we have verified the information you have submitted. If you have a contract directly with the University you will be contacted by the Accounts Receivable team by email if there is an outstanding balance on your account once all adjustments have been made to your account.   

If you have been in residence for any period between 4 January and 19 June 2021, we would ask you to make full payment by the due date. You can find the amount due on your student statement. If there is a credit balance on your account after the end of your contract, please open an enquiry using the following link to the Student Information Desk (SID) to request a refund. Alternative SID contact information can be found here. Once you have requested your refund please allow up to 28 working days before contacting SID again for an update.

Please note that arrangements for students living in one of our nominated residences may vary and we are currently discussing this with your accommodation provider so that they can update you. 

If you have a contract directly with the University, once the adjustments have been made to your account, if there is a credit balance on your account after the end of your contract please open an enquiry using the following link to the Student Information Desk (SID) to request a refund. Alternative SID contact information can be found here. Once you have requested your refund, please allow up to 28 working days before contacting SID again for an update.

Please note that arrangements for students living in one of our nominated residences may vary and we are currently discussing this with your accommodation provider so that they can update you. 

We will begin processing requests from the week commencing 29 March 2021. We will verify the information you have submitted and then deal with you request. You will receive an email once this process has been completed which will outline the next stage.

If you meet the criteria, your details then will be passed to our Finance team or nomination partners for them to adjust your account. 

After you have received our email, if you have any further questions about any refund due please log an enquiry via SID Online if your contract was issued by the University. 

Please note that arrangements for students living in one of our nominated residences may vary and we are currently discussing this with your accommodation provider so that they can update you. 

 

The Government have created a ‘travel window’ to allow students to travel away from university and back to their term-time accommodation once during their Easter break. At the University of Exeter the Easter break is from the end of the Spring Term on Friday 26 March until the beginning of the Summer Term on Monday 26 April. 

If you would like to, or need to stay in Exeter during the Easter vacation, some self-catered accommodation will be available. There is a set contract period from Saturday 27 March to Sunday 25 April and locations/costs will vary depending on availability. To enquire or to book, log an enquiry via SID Online and search for the category "Easter Vacation".

As government guidelines do not currently permit students to travel to collect belongings except in prescribed circumstances, you can request an adjustment even though you still have belongings in your room. We recognise that collecting belongings may be challenging for some students, particularly those who may have returned to their homes overseas or have a long distance to travel in the UK. However, we must also ensure that the residences are available and ready for the next intake of students, therefore we ask that you collect your belongings by the end of your contract period.  

If you are unable to collect your belongings in person the end date of your contract please use the services of a storage company.  

If you do not arrange a collection of your belongings we will do this on your behalf and charge you the associated costs. 

Unfortunately, we are not able to store any items left in kitchens, to include food, crockery, pots and pans. Unless you get in touch to make collection arrangements, any uncollected items remaining after the end of your contract June will be offered as part of the Student Re-Use scheme or given to a charity.

Government guidance states that students should avoid returning to university to collect any of their belongings which they may have left at their university accommodation.

For further details please refer to the Government guidance about Students returning to, and starting, Higher Education in Spring Term 2021

Once permitted under government guidelines, if you are intending to return collect your belongings, please ensure that you have checked the government web site about travel and our information about returning to campus. Please note the section on having a negative covid test prior to returning to campus and the wearing of face masks which I strongly advise you to do.

If you do not have your fob for access please ensure that you return when your reception is open. https://www.exeter.ac.uk/accommodation/residences/residencereceptions/

Yes as during the lockdown it may be necessary for staff to enter the accommodation for various reasons including to undertake maintenance and as part of fire drill checks. We advise that you check your block insurance policy to understand the cover that is provided and any limitations. Please remember that your belongings will need to be removed at the end of your period of residence.

If you have no belongings in the room, please make arrangements for your key/fob/card to be returned to your residence reception by 31 May 2021 by recorded delivery and in a padded envelope to ensure they arrive safely. If keys are not received by this date then you may be charged for key replacement.

If you are intending to return to your residence to collect belongings you must then return your key/fob/card to the residence reception once you have cleared your room. You should leave your key/fob/card with reception during their opening hours or in the out-of-hours key drop-off point.

If you are returning, or have returned, to your accommodation we would ask that you pay your Term 2 accommodation fees now and in full.

If you are eligible for an adjustment to your fees then once the adjustment has been made, any resulting overpayment will sit as a credit, or pre-payment, on your account towards future accommodation fees.

Your adjustment will be calculated on a pro-rata basis so that it is equal to the nightly rate of your accommodation from the start of lockdown until the date of your arrival back at your accommodation.

If your contract is issued by the University, no late fees will be charged on any outstanding Spring Term Accommodations charges. However, please do ensure that all other charges are paid by the payment due dates. This includes Tuition and all non-Accommodation charges, as late fees will be applied to all overdue balances. 

If your contract is issued by one of our nominated partners, please contact them to discuss your account. 

Any payment made for this term will be applied to any outstanding Term 1 (Winter) and/or future Terms 2 (Spring), 3 and 4 (Summer) Accommodation charges. We will only process a refund to you if there is a credit balance on your account after the end of your contract and you will need to request this separately by logging an enquiry via SID Online.

If your contract is issued by one of our nominated partners, please contact them to discuss your account. 

We know that some students may suffer an additional financial burden because of the lockdown measures. Please reach out for support and apply to the ‘Success for All’ Hardship Fund. The Students' Guild Advice Service is also able to offer advice on a variety of matters including accommodation and finance. 

Students in private accommodation are outside of the University’s control and students should discuss the matter with their landlords in the first instance. If your accommodation provider is planning to charge you rent when you are not using your room during the national lockdown, there is financial support available to you. Please reach out for support and apply to the ‘Success for All’ Hardship Fund to request support to cover your rent for the period you are not living to your accommodation. 

If you are living in privately-owned accommodation you are advised and encouraged to speak to you accommodation provider/landlord directly to discuss these matter.

We understand that some students, in returning to our campuses later than originally planned, may suffer an additional financial burden.  In partnership with the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union we have therefore committed to doubling the support available through the ‘Success for All’ Hardship Fund' by adding a further £500,000 to the fund.  Should you need it on your return next year for the start of on-campus teaching, please reach out for support and apply to the fund if you are suffering financial hardship.

 

Information for students staying in University accommodation

The Government defines a household as a group of people living at the same address and who share cooking facilities, bathrooms or toilets and/or living areas. This includes students in halls of residence who share such facilities. In halls of residence, your household is those in your flat or corridor and not your entire block.

The government has now introduced a new £800 fine for those attending house parties, including in halls of residence, which will double for each repeat offence to a maximum level of £6,400. These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people from outside their household.

During the national lockdown, you must also not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse.’ You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. Students hosting parties, attending parties, or otherwise breaching national lockdown rules regarding mixing between households may also be subject to University disciplinary procedures.

Our residences remain open and operational including our receptions and cleaning services. Please check our residence reception information to confirm opening times, which may vary especially during vacation periods.

In line with government guidelines, if you are self-isolating you must not leave your accommodation and therefore you should not visit the reception to collect mail during any period that you may need to self-isolate. We will endeavour to deliver post to outside your flat door, however for the latest information including frequency of delivery, please contact your local residence reception. You can collect deliveries, including parcels and grocery deliveries, from the entrance of your block/residence - you must wear a face covering and social distance while doing so.

You can continue to use the laundry facilities within our residences, even if they are not in your block. However, you should ensure that you continue to follow COVID-Safe protocols for the use of these facilities.

In line with government guidelines, if you are self-isolating you must not leave your accommodation and therefore you must not use the laundry during any period that you may need to self-isolate. Students who need to access laundry service can do so through the Exeter City Council Service. Just call the hotline or fill out the ‘students requesting community support’ form and a laundry service will be arranged for you. Alternatively, detergent to wash clothes in your room can be ordered via our online shop or alternatively from other supermarket suppliers to be delivered to you.

Details about our retail facilities in Exeter and the services they offer including deliveries are available on Eat and Shop webpages.

Visitors

Due to the ongoing situation in relation to Covid-19, we have updated our policy regarding visitors to manage the risk of infection. 

This policy will be amended in line with latest government and/or University guidelines about meeting socially indoors. Therefore, during the current period of national lockdown, no external visitors will be allowed to enter your room or university accommodation.

Once the government and/or University guidelines change we may still ask residents to limit their visitors. It is also acknowledged that visitors, including family members, provide a benefit to health and welfare. If this is the case students should contact the Residence Management Team via accommodation-guest@exeter.ac.uk.

Residents wishing to have a guest should provide the following information:

  • Student name and student ID number
  • Residence - building, block, flat number and room number
  • Date of visit
  • Confirmation that the guest is over 18

Overnight visitors outside of their households is not allowed in University accommodation. There will be some married students and others in long-term relationships whose partner lives sufficiently far away to merit an overnight stay, if this is the case students should contact the Residence Management Team via accommodation-guest@exeter.ac.uk. However, it should be noted that there might be times when it is not possible to accommodate these visitors due to local restrictions.

Eating in catered residences

Once you have been allocated to a room we will assign you to a particular zone in the dining room. You will remain in this dining zone for all your meals throughout the whole duration of your catered contract, to ensure your safety and help us with tracing should a need to do so arise.

We will also implement the following safety steps: 

  • Your table will be 2 metres apart from the next with sufficient space to move around safely
  • Dining rooms will be ventilated to allow free flow of air
  • Cleaning regularity will be increased and every touchpoint will be sanitised regularly
  • All dining rooms and catering areas will feature clear signage and floor markings
  • Sanitisation stations will be installed at regular steps through the dining areas

 You will still be able to socialise with other students safely and have the flexibility of enjoying your meal at different times each day.

We have completely revised the dining journey to protect our students and will provide an excellent dining experience with a choice of quality meals. We have a developed a new booking system that will allow you to choose when you want to enjoy your breakfast, weekend brunch or dinner. Through the booking system you will choose time slots and the system will automatically know which safe dining zone you are in and will place you there, at your desired time slot. The live system will allow you to change or cancel your booking if your plans change. Once you arrive at the dining room a dedicated host will take you through the process step-by-step, to ensure you are looked after and dine comfortably.

Here are the extra measures we have taken:

  • We have rearranged dining spaces and furniture to adhere to the current social distancing regulations
  • Each safe dining zone will be thoroughly sanitised after each diner
  • We have installed several hand-sanitiser stations at convenient points throughout the dining journey, as well as clear and simple signage to help you through the one-way dining rooms
  • We have limited the amount of touch points in the dining halls and will have adequately ventilated spaces
  • We have given our teams refresher training in safe cleaning practices and they will be available to speak to for further reassurance and guidance

 

You will have the option of our takeaway service. You can use the booking system mentioned in question 2 to tell us you are coming. When you arrive you will be looked after in a dedicated takeaway waiting area and collect your meal and drink from the host when ready. You can then return to your room and enjoy your meal there.

There will still be spaces to socialise that will have been sanitised on a regular basis. They have been configured to adhere to social distancing guidelines to ensure everyone is safe while they socialise. It may look a little different and we may need to make adjustment further in line with government guidelines. This could mean that we have to close the facilities for short period and also that you be asked to book a time to use the social spaces for your 'household'.

 

Cleaning in catered residences

Yes as we have been working closely with Public Health England (PHE) to ensure we provide the best support and safest possible environment we can for everyone living in University-managed and UPP accommodation.

As a result, we’re making changes to the way our teams work, to focus on cleaning touch-points. Touch-points are areas and items which are touched by a lot of people, for example door handles, taps, or handles and controls on appliances like kettles, fridges microwaves etc. Touch-point cleaning is already taking place seven days a week across catered halls, but we’re planning to increase it. Our cleaning teams are also going to be spending more time distributing extra cleaning and hygiene supplies to support you and your fellow students.

The following cleaning services are now in place:

  • The cleaning teams will clean touch-points in the shared kitchens in catered halls multiple times a day and will also remove rubbish. This will take place seven days a week.
  • Touch-point cleaning of communal bathrooms will continue in addition of the provision of anti-bacterial wipes
  • Cleaning bedrooms in catered halls, which currently takes place monthly will be paused for now, but antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser will be delivered to these rooms, in addition to the cleaning products already provided within the shared kitchens
  • Within communal kitchens you will see the addition of antibacterial wipes. We strongly encourage you to clean cupboard door handles, kettle handles, the point where you open the fridge etc with the wipes you have been provided before you use these touch-points. Additional in-room information will follow. This is in addition to the cleaning staff doing this as well
  • With the addition of wipes in your room and shared kitchen, please can you refrain from flushing these down the toilet. They have environmental qualities but not biodegradable, please use the bins you have and the wipes will end up in our ‘waste to energy’ waste stream and the large tubs will be recycled through our plastics waste stream

Please note, if your ‘household’ goes into self-isolation, cleaning services will pause and provision of cleaning packs will be distributed to you.

Please be assured we are keeping all measures under constant review and will continue to work with PHE on measures aimed at helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. We will keep you updated if there are any further changes.