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Confidentiality

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we are unable to share information with parents unless the student has provided their explicit consent to do so. This includes confirming whether a person has accessed the service or not.

We are unable to contact a student or force a student to utilise our service on request of a parent or any other persons.

Advice for parents and carers - last updated 14 December 2020

Parents and carers

We understand, as a parent or carer of our students, that you will have questions and concerns regarding the impact of COVID-19 on your child’s studies.

This page will provide you with access to useful information and resources to help reassure you that the safety of our students alongside their learning experience, is our priority.

In addition, there is information available across our Coronavirus website for both returning and new students, including details of the support available to them, should they need to self-isolate, or if they have any particular concerns or issues.

You can also find out about our Rapid Response Hub and the test process we have in place for any student or staff member that experiences COVID-19 symptoms.

Frequently asked questions

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If any students begin to experience COVID-19 symptoms they can request a test by contacting the Rapid Response Hub. Any students who receive a positive result will be contacted by the Rapid Response Hub to make sure they’re ok and have the support that they need. Any specific wellbeing needs will be noted and our Welfare Support team will be in touch with students as required. Every student will also receive an additional welfare specific phone call a few days into their isolation period to make sure that they have everything they need.

Our blended teaching model has been designed to enable us to provide all our students with an excellent digital learning experience which enables them to keep up with studies should they be required to self-isolate. If a student is unwell as a result of COVID-19 and think it may affect their ability to undertake an assessment they may be able to apply for an extension or a deferral through what the University calls the ‘Mitigation Process’. You can find out more about mitigation here.

We have a huge range of services and information available on our COVID Wellbeing webpages, students can contact our Wellbeing Services team on 01392 724381 or by emailing: wellbeing@exeter.ac.uk if they need help or support. Students living in University accommodation in Exeter can also contact the Residence Life Instant Chat. Students living in University accommodation in Cornwall can contact their ResLife Team.

Any student who needs to self-isolate in University accommodation in Exeter will receive an email from the Welfare Team to provide them with important wellbeing and welfare information. The University’s Accommodation and Welfare teams will jointly offer Zoom presentations for all students at the start of their self-isolation period to explain rules and support available. The Residence Life team are also offering social events and regular opportunities for students to meet their mentors. For students in Cornwall, our Living Support and Wellbeing team offer a wide range of support including self-help, online resources, advice and information, and referrals where needed.

We also have a range of additional support and digital entertainment and social opportunities for affected students in Exeter and Cornwall, and have opened our online groceries service for those who are self-isolating should they need to order basic provisions to be delivered to their accommodation. Self-isolating students can also arrange to have medicines and prescriptions delivered direct to their accommodation. We continue to encourage all students to reach out for support and wellbeing services whenever they may be needed.

If any student becomes unwell and needs additional support whilst in isolation they can call our Rapid Response Hub who will arrange for the student to be checked on and ensure they have the relevant support.

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).

Our intention is still to offer a rich, blended educational experience for students with as much teaching and other activities on campus as possible. We are incredibly disappointed that the start of term has coincided with a national surge in cases which has meant more restrictions have had to be brought in than we had hoped. However, as and when cases fall and national restrictions are eased, we fully intend to provide as much on campus as possible. Our planning has been designed with a flexible approach in order to continue to offer an excellent Exeter experience.

The Prime Minister has announced a period of national lockdown in England, starting from Tuesday 5 January and expected to last until at least mid-February. Find out more on our latest updates page.

Those students who are undertaking training and study for the following courses should return to face to face learning as planned and be tested twice, upon arrival or self-isolate for ten days:

• Medicine & dentistry
• Subjects allied to medicine/health
• Veterinary science
• Education (initial teacher training)
• Social work
• Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled (your university will notify you if this applies to you).

Current data from our Rapid Response Hub shows that the measures we have put into place means our face to face teaching is COVID-19 secure. The health and wellbeing of our students and staff is our highest priority and so we will continue to monitor this closely and if anything changes will act accordingly.

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

There are two main types of test used to check if people currently have coronavirus. The first type of test is known as a PCR test, and looks for the virus’s genetic material (Ribonucleic acid or RNA). These tests are currently more commonly used in the NHS for symptomatic testing. They require a laboratory to be processed.

The second is called a lateral flow antigen test, which detects the coronavirus antigen that is produced when a person is infectious with coronavirus. These tests do not require a laboratory to be processed and can therefore give a result much more quickly than PCR tests. The Government is therefore providing Universities with Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) to carry out the mass testing of students. These LFDs are usually administered by a nasal swab, which is quick and painless.

Please note that LFD tests are not always accepted by countries who require you to have a negative COVID-19 test before entering the country. For any student who needs a negative COVID-19 test to travel overseas to get home for the Winter break, we will provide a PCR test through our partner company, HALO. See My child plans to travel overseas for the Winter Break for details.

Parents and carers advice for spring term return

The University of Exeter are offering a test to all students in January and February 2021, using our existing test centres on the Streatham and Penryn campuses. We strongly recommend that all students book tests now for as soon as possible after they arrive in their term time accommodation and before starting any in-person teaching, or using study or social spaces on our campuses.

From Monday 25 January, we will offer regular and ongoing twice-weekly testing for all students who have returned to their term-time accommodation. Whilst not mandatory, we recommend that students book two tests, every week – this will help us protect our University community and allow us to manage any infection and subsequent transmission.

Students can book tests using the online booking forms in the relevant UK or international tab on our spring term testing webpage. Students should allow enough time to take test(s) before in person teaching begins or they need to use the campus study or social spaces.

The Prime Minister has announced a period of national lockdown in England, starting from Tuesday 5 January and expected to last until at least mid-February.

Those students who are undertaking training and study for the following courses should return to face to face learning as planned and be tested twice upon arrival, or self-isolate for ten days:

  • Medicine & dentistry
  • Subjects allied to medicine/health
  • Veterinary science
  • Education (initial teacher training)
  • Social work
  • Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled (your university will notify you if this applies to you).

Students who do not study these courses should remain where they are wherever possible, and start their term online. This includes students on other practical courses not on the list above.

If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.

For those students who are eligible for face to face teaching, you can meet in groups of more than your household as part of your formal education or training, where necessary. Students should expect to follow the guidance and restrictions. You should socially distance from anyone you do not live with wherever possible.

If a student is returning to campus after the winter break from a Tier 3 area in England, you may be able to get a test from a local NHS test site before leaving for University. If students are able to get a test in their local area before travelling, then they should do so and may not need to get two tests in Exeter or Penryn. This FAQ will be updated in the New Year as further Government advice on this topic emerges.

In most cases students should have the results by text and / or email within 24 hours for our HALO PCR tests (for international arrivals using Test to Release) and is likely to be sooner for LFD tests (for UK students). If a student tests negative for either HALO or LFD testing, they can consider it safe to access shared teaching, study and social spaces.

If a student has taken an LFD test or tests, if either test returns a positive result then an additional HALO PCR test will also be offered and you can book this through our Rapid Response Hubs in Exeter and Penryn. If that is positive, the student will need to self-isolate for 10 days and our wellbeing team will contact them to check they have the support they need during this time. You can find details of all the support available to our self-isolating students on our dedicated self-isolation webpage.

Before travelling back to campus, you should read the Government’s safer travel guidance for passengers. There are some key features to consider, including:

  • make sure you review the latest government guidance for local restriction tiers by area
  • if possible, travel using private transport rather than public transport
  • iIf travelling in a private vehicle, avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or support bubble
  • wearing a face covering while travelling unless exempt, especially if using public transport
  • where possible, keep a safe distance from people from other households when travelling
  • wash or sanitise hands regularly
  • avoid the busiest routes where possible, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • download the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible, and check in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters
  • if using public transport, book ahead wherever possible to let transport providers know you will be using the service
  • please be aware of the latest Travel Advice for Trains from South Western Railway if you wish to travel by rail.

If you are travelling to Exeter or Penryn from overseas for the spring term, there are a few important things to consider. We advise you to check the government’s ‘Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)’ guidance and also the guidance on ‘Entering the UK’ to ensure you are able to plan your return:

  • You should not travel if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
  • UK Government COVID-19 regulations mean that many travellers arriving in the UK will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival. There are a number of territories and countries with no self-isolation requirement for travellers arriving in the UK. This list is regularly updated and you should continue to check this on the Government website. The Government has introduced a new ‘Test to Release’ scheme which allows arrivals to the UK to get tested five days after arrival in the UK and leave self-isolation early if they test negative. See our ‘what is the Test to Release scheme for international travel and how can I use it’ FAQ for more details.
  • You should be aware that the travel corridor status of your country might change while you are overseas. Make sure you keep checking the Government website to keep up to date with any changes that affect you.
  • You should read the Government’s safer travel guidance for passengers before departing and refer to Exeter’s Planning Your Travel to University guidance. We will be offering an airport collection service, both for students who need to self-isolate and for those who are travelling from a travel corridor country.
  • Everyone travelling to the UK must complete a Passenger Locator Form prior to your departure. You will be required to show proof of a completed Passenger Locator Form at the UK border. You can complete it up to 48 hours before you enter the UK.

If your child needs to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, please see our information for students who are self-isolating webpage for frequently asked questions and information, including specific advice for students who need to self-isolate when arriving from overseas.

Students can find details of routes to airports and travel hubs on our Planning Your Travel webpage. Travel plans are aimed at students travelling to Exeter / Cornwall from major airports. Also on this website, you can find details of local taxi companies that will provide airport transfer at reasonable rates if you feel more comfortable travelling in a private vehicle. If travelling from the airport, it is important to plan travel carefully in advance and adhere to the safe travel guidance outlined above.

If travelling from overseas, your child may wish to bear in mind that Exeter is offering an Airport Collection Service for students returning to the UK in January. There will be a service for international students who need to self-isolate. Dates and details are on our Airport Collection Service webpage.

If someone tests positive for COVID-19 or needs to self-isolate with their household, they will need to self-isolate and will not be able to travel on a plane or other form of public transport. It is important to note that travel insurance may not cover costs if they cannot take a pre-booked flight owing to a positive COVID-19 test.

Students should therefore book refundable, cancellable, or flexible travel options where possible to make sure that they do not lose out if required to self-isolate. Check the terms and conditions of any bookings carefully and, if they do have insurance, check to see whether they are covered in the case of a positive test result.

Please be aware of the latest Travel Advice for Trains from South Western Railway if you wish to travel by rail.

If your child needs to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, please see our information for students who are self-isolating webpage for frequently asked questions and information, including specific advice for students who need to self-isolate when arriving from overseas.