Spring return and travel arrangements

On 5 January 2021 the Government announced a period of national lockdown due to the rising Covid-19 infection rates. This means the country is subject to further restrictions.

Following the Government announcement that we are in a third national lockdown, universities have been asked to pause face-to-face teaching during this time apart from  those on medicine, pharmacy or social work courses and to seriously limit the number of research students and staff on our campuses.

As a result, all our teaching will be delivered online until the end of February unless you are studying on one of the above courses. The start of term remains 18 January 2021. Specific guidance for research students is also contained below.

The UK Government has declared a lockdown in England in order to control the spread of new-variant Covid-19.

The main message of the lockdown is that you must stay at home apart from in a small number of exceptional circumstances.

The exceptional circumstances for higher education are listed below and you should only travel to your term-time address if you meet one of these criteria and it is absolutely necessary.

National lockdown

Wherever you are in the UK, it is important to remember that, you must follow the UK Government’s requirements explicitly, including in regard to socialising indoors and outdoors.

In particular, please be aware that this means that:

  • you are only permitted to leave your accommodation for essential reasons (eg essential shopping or to exercise once a day)
  • you can only meet 1 person from another household outdoors for exercise
  • no visitors to your accommodation/household are allowed. 

Teaching

With the exception of KMMS, Term 2 starts on 18 January 2021. Please engage with all online teaching sessions as outlined on your timetable.

The provision of teaching will be solely online until 1 March 2021, except for the exempt study programmes, which are medicine, social work and pharmacy. Students studying these programmes should speak with their School for further information on face-to-face teaching.

We recognise the importance of providing a blended approach to teaching and we aim to resume face-to-face sessions for all study programmes from 1 March 2021.

We will be reviewing these timescales in the light of ongoing Government restrictions. Our priority is to keep our communities safe.

Returning to campus

The country is now in national lockdown which means universities have been instructed to close and suspend all face-to-face teaching apart from for students studying the following subjects:

  • Medicine and dentistry
  • Subjects aligned to medicine / health
  • Veterinary science
  • Education / Teacher training
  • Social studies (Social Work)

The Government is advising you to stay at your current home and not travel between your permanent and term-time addresses, apart from in a small number of exceptional circumstances listed below.

University campuses are deemed to be Covid-secure environments, but the lockdown restrictions are designed to reduce travel in order to restrict the spread of Covid-19. If you do choose to return to campus or access campus facilities, please only do so if this is absolutely essential.

FAQ list

The Government is trying to limit travel as much as possible in order to stop the spread of the virus. It is important to please only return to campus accommodation in truly exceptional circumstances, for instance:

  • where you do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities or study space
  • or you need to return for health/mental health or safety reasons
  • or you are arriving from overseas and have made travel arrangements that you cannot change or cannot change without prohibitive expense.

Please note that access to library books is not a sufficient requirement for returning to campus. Please contact your School for guidance around alternative online material.

Yes, you should book two asymptomatic Covid-19 tests and receive two negative test results ideally 3-5 apart before using any campus facilities.

If you are travelling to return to your term-time address to study, please get tested for Covid-19 before leaving your home address where local test facilities exist and follow the guidance on safe travel (see below).

After arriving back in your accommodation, you should book two asymptomatic Covid-19 tests and receive two negative test results ideally 3-5 apart before using any campus facilities. The first of these tests should be as soon as possible after you arrive on campus, so you should make the booking prior to travelling, if possible.

The Government is advising against returning to campus for this purpose; however, “if you require medical supplies or equipment to support your online learning”, you may return but only if this is absolutely necessary.

If you do return to collect items, please ensure you adhere to all social distancing regulations, wear a face-covering, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and remain on campus for as short a time as possible.

The Government has recommended students should not access campus facilities unless in the one of the groups listed below. 

  • International students who have remained in the UK or who have arrived and do not have alternative accommodation
  • Students who have had to return to their accommodation due to not having access to appropriate study spaces or facilities at their home address
  • Those requiring additional support, including with mental health and wellbeing
  • Commuting students who require occasional  access to university facilities if essential to access online learning 
  • Researchers and research students whose work is dependent on access to specialist facilities to do their work only if it is impossible for you to continue your research at home

Please only make use of the facilities when it is essential to do so in order to reduce the number of people on campus at any one time.

If you are not in any of the groups, or your visit is not essential, please do not visit the campus.

We have had to make some changes to on-campus services to comply with national lockdown guidelines

From 11 January 2021, all catering outlets expect for Rutherford Dining Hall are closed. You can find the opening hours for Rutherford here

Students with Flex credits and those with a Bed & Bistro catering package, will be served all meals in Rutherford Dining Hall. 

All sport and fitness facilities (except our Physiotherapy Clinic) are closed until further notice. 

Park Wood Co-op is open. The main Kent Union Plaza Co-op is closed until further notice.  

The Templeman Library will be open during the following hours: 

  • Monday to Friday 10.00 - 16.00.
  • Saturday and Sunday - Closed. 

Where can I study? - study hub information.

You now don’t need to renew or return any books, including document deliveries, till Friday 26 February inclusive. 

Student Support and Wellbeing reception is open however students should contact via phone or email first if possible.

We have had to make some changes to on-campus services to comply with Government guidelines relating to the national lockdown.  

On the Medway campus, the Drill Hall Library will be open during the following hours: 

  • Monday to Friday – 9.00 to 19.00.
  • Saturday and Sunday – 9.00 to 17.00.

The sports facilities on the Medway campus are closed until further notice. 

The Pilkington Café is open between 8.00 to 16.00 where you can purchase food and drink.  

If you do have to return to campus, use private transport wherever possible and only public transport if you have no other option.

Please avoid car sharing with anyone outside your household or support bubble and rigorously follow the safer travel guidance for passengers to reduce the risk of transmission to others where this is not possible.

If you do need to use public transport, you should book your travel in advance and rigorously follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.

If you have already booked rail tickets back to university, you can now rebook wherever you bought the ticket without paying administration fees.

However you travel, please:

  • wear a face covering unless exempt
  • keep your distance from people from other households where possible
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  • avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • download the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible and checking in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters

With all study now online, international students travelling to Kent from overseas are advised to seriously consider delaying travel arrangements if this can be done without any undue costs. If this cannot be arranged or your course specifically requires you to be on campus, you will need to be aware of enhanced restrictions introduced by the UK Government due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Depending where you are travelling from, this may include a 10-day period of self-isolation upon arrival. If this is the case, you will need to inform the accommodation office via isolation@kent.ac.uk.

All students, even if you have had to self-isolate, will need to book two asymptomatic Covid-19 tests before using campus facilities. The first of these tests should be as soon as possible after you arrive on campus or after self-isolation.

Finance and accommodation

We are introducing a rent reduction scheme for all students with contracts for accommodation on the Canterbury campus who are unable to return due to the current Government lockdown restrictions.

You should have received an email from the Accommodation Team with a link to a simple form. Complete the form to apply for the equivalent of a six-week reduction of your second term accommodation fee. 

In order to allow time for the application process and for us to apply the reduction, we will also be delaying this term’s rent payment date until 1 March 2021. A revised statement will be sent to you during the week beginning Monday 22 February 2021 to confirm the new amount.

The amount of the reduction will take into account whether or not you have ‘Bed and Flex’ or ‘Bed and Bistro’ packages as part of your fee. Those students who have purchased the Flex catering package in addition to their accommodation fee will be contacted by the Catering team separately.

Pier Quays accommodation in Medway is owned and operated by Unite, a private provider. They have announced their own rent reduction scheme and will be contacting their student tenants individually.  

This will be a matter for your landlord to decide, however, we will be pledging our support to the work being done by Kent Union to represent the interests of our students in private rental accommodation in the region. Please contact the Kent Union Advice Centre for more information on private tenancy.

We have emergency short-term loans and other hardship funds available if you do find yourself in financial difficulty.  We have more information on our financial support page, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for easily, please contact financialaid@kent.ac.uk and a member of our Student Finance Team will help you.      

Academic mitigation and support

We remain committed to ensuring that no student is disadvantaged by the pandemic using our academic mitigation processes. We are currently updating our ‘no detriment’ processes and will continue to offer flexibility in applications for mitigation to ensure that we can support your needs as quickly as possible.

In addition, whilst we expect most students to meet their current coursework deadlines, students with deadlines between now and the end of the second week of term (29 January) who have been unable to submit will now be given an additional week’s extension automatically. For further academic support or advice, please contact your academic school.

Last updated