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Our local communities

Our local communities

Our local communities

Our local communities

Keeping communities safe

The health, safety and wellbeing of our whole community is our top priority.

We have campuses in Exeter and Cornwall but our students and colleagues travel and live across the whole south-west region and beyond. We’re proud to be an integral part of all our local communities and have a fundamental role in the areas of education, healthcare, business and supporting local councils and the national government ensure the region thrives.

We’ve been at the heart of the COVID-19 response through our research expertise, and by working closely with the NHS, police, councils and other regional bodies to tackle the virus and support the economic recovery. We’ll continue to do this and strongly believe that universities are well placed to bring people together and support our communities.

Community support and action

We have news, contacts, support and information on our website for our Devon and Cornwall communities. On these pages, you’ll also find valuable contact information including details of our Community Liaison team, Student Community Wardens, Estate Patrol team (Exeter), and our 24 hour community helpline in Cornwall.

Making a difference to our local communities

We’re committed to supporting our communities, partners, and the global effort to combat COVID-19 and our students, colleagues and alumni are working tirelessly to support communities at this time. From supporting businesses to working in unison with the NHS on treatments and care - you can find out about all our work on our COVID-19 response page.

Concerns about student behaviour or safety

We know some people in our local communities have concerns about the numbers of students coming to live in Devon and Cornwall, and that the impact on certain neighbourhoods is significant. We also know that a small number of students don’t always behave in the way we expect and the COVID-19 crisis has accentuated some of those concerns with government guidance being interpreted in different ways. We asked our students to voluntarily avoid mixing between households prior to the national lockdown on 4 November 2020 and received thanks from our local Public Health England organisation for our efforts to protect the wider community.

We’re committed to working in partnership with our local communities on any challenges as they arise and will always do everything in our power to ensure our students make a positive contribution to our communities and that we tackle poor behaviour when it occurs – mindful that many are young adults living away from home for the first time and that sometimes our powers have limitations.

We have a Community Liaison Officer and Student Community Wardens who support the integration of students as active citizens and work with the local Police and City Council to support fellow students living off-campus. You can find out more about their work and useful contacts on our Devon and Cornwall community pages.

Our students make a huge contribution to our local communities and are integral to local businesses, charities, hospitals, care services and schools. The University of Exeter is a top 10 UK university and our aim is to attract the very best talent from around the world to live, study and work in Devon and Cornwall with benefits for us all.

Safe student accommodation

We are ensuring that appropriate safety measures are in place in all University student accommodation. We’re following expert advice and are working closely with third party providers to ensure they meet expected standards.

Regardless of where our students are living, they have been asked to follow the latest government guidance as well as guidance on making a one-off move to an alternative residence ; staying safe outside your home and other published guidance, such as on travel and social distancing

Our students have also been reminded to continue to be good neighbours, respecting those already living in, or adjacent to, accommodation they are moving into on campus and within the communities they are part of.

We work closely with representatives from Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall Council, Exeter City Council, the Local Resilience Forum and members of the Safer Falmouth group. You can find out more online about our support in the community in Devon and Cornwall.

Safe campuses

We’re committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, colleagues and communities who access our campuses or may be affected by activity on our campuses. All colleagues and students who feel unwell are able to request a rapid test for the virus. In addition to this, we have robust plans in place to support our colleagues and students with periods of isolation and the tracing of contacts in order to reduce the risk of further infection.

We continue to enact our plans for a range of scenarios which includes both online and face to face learning. Social distancing and other restrictions will continue to be in place for as long as they are necessary.

You can find out about the measures we are putting in place, and read the guidance we are giving to staff and students.

Community News on Covid-19

Read our community newsletters in Exeter and Cornwall for information about university actions on Covid-19, including support and contact information.



Frequently asked questions

Please note the advice on this page may change, particularly as there are ongoing updates to the Government guidance.

The grounds of our Streatham and St Luke’s campuses in Exeter and our Penryn Campus in Cornwall can be accessed but it is important that social distancing is adhered to. This is so our local neighbours are able to use our outdoor spaces for walking, exercise and other recreational use. Please observe all safety signage and social distancing measures whenever on campus. Please note that during the period of national lockdown in England the library is closed to visitors.

The various works on our campus, undertaken by the University and our partners, are continuing in accordance with the most recent Government advice.

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.

Government mass testing

We are now publishing a daily update of new positive cases in the University community on our COVID-19 statistics webpage.

The regional figures, which also includes University cases, are released daily on the Devon County Council website (this includes figures for Cornwall).

The University of Exeter has committed to offering COVID-19 tests to any students returning to our campuses. Any student coming to our Exeter or Penryn campuses will be able to book two Lateral Flow Device tests to check whether they have COVID-19. Students will be advised to book a test as soon as possible after their return to University, with a second test three days later to confirm the result. Students will be asked to limit their contact with others while they await their test results. If a student tests negative, they will be able to return to classes according to government guidelines. Any students testing positive will need to self-isolate for 10 days in line with Government guidelines. The households of anyone testing positive will also be required to isolate. We will also offer regular ongoing testing to students on campus or in their term-time accommodation, allowing students to get tested twice a week, every week.

The intention of this scheme is to ensure that any students returning to Exeter or Penryn with COVID-19 do not spread the infection beyond their peers or to the local community. It is likely that this large mass testing programme will identify a number of positive cases, but by identifying positive cases and asking them to isolate straightaway we can limit the spread of infection to others.

The testing scheme is voluntary for students. The University will be strongly encouraging students to get tested and will provide a test for any student who wants one.

Government advice is that universities should stagger the return of students to their campuses. Courses training key workers as identified by the government, as well as students on clinical placements, will return to our campuses first.  Lockdown rules have specified that students who do not study these courses should remain where they are wherever possible, and start their term online. It is likely that when the latest national lockdown ends the return of students will be staggered with practical courses first. 

The University of Exeter has committed to offering COVID-19 tests to any students returning to our campuses.

The Government requires those travelling to the UK from non-travel corridor countries to self-isolate for 10 days when they arrive in the UK. The University has communicated this requirement to all of our international students and will support any international students who arrive at University to self-isolate safely when they first arrive in the UK. Students arriving from travel corridor countries will still be offered the opportunity to book COVID-19 tests when they return to the UK, in the same way that any other student would be able to.

The University will also advise international arrivals from non-travel corridor countries of the Government’s new Test and Release scheme, which allows international arrivals to book a private test after 5 days from their arrival in the UK.