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Return to campus and COVID-19 testing

Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-ChancellorA message from Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor emailed 11 December 2020 to all students

Further to my email last week, I wanted to share some more details about the start of term in January.

Travel window

We are following the Government’s guidance to spread the return of students following the Christmas break over a five-week period from 4 January, to help control the spread of Covid-19 and to ensure your safe return to University.

The Government has set clear expectations regarding the return to campus, and our Schools are currently finalising the position for each of our courses. They will share this information with you in the coming days so that you can begin to plan your return.

Safety when returning to campus

With the return to campus, ensuring safety is the highest priority. As with the Autumn term we will have the same extensive safety protocols in place.

It is also vital that we all still take steps to ensure our own health and safety and that of others by continuing to wear face coverings, maintaining social distancing, regularly washing or sanitising our hands and following guidance around social gathering.


As a further measure, we will be offering Covid-19 testing to all students upon their return to University. These are the same tests that have been provided during December – i.e. Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing for students without symptoms. This is not a substitute for following existing safety restrictions and guidelines. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 please book a test through the NHS. Once again students are being encouraged to take two tests as close as they can to the point that they return to campus.

Booking will be available across four sites:

• Cockcroft – Moulsecoomb
• Mithras – Moulsecoomb
• Eastbourne
• Falmer

There will not be a test centre at our City campus. This is due to space restrictions and the need to use all available space to allow teaching and learning for our students based on this campus, to support the earliest possible return to face-to-face delivery.

Booking and taking your test

All courses will be given a recommended testing period based around their return date, starting from 4 January. You will receive an email next week advising you of how and when to book.


We know that some of our students may need to return to the University earlier than the scheduled re-start of face-to-face teaching. These include students who do not have access to accommodation that has suitable study space or access to IT, students who need to return for health reasons, or international students who have pre-booked travel.

If you fall into one of these categories, please travel as you would have done normally but please also book a test as soon as possible after your return to campus.

Other considerations

If you are traveling from an area defined as being in Tier 3, please try to get a test in your home town if they are offering asymptomatic testing before traveling.

International students who are returning to the UK from a country not on the UK Travel Corridor list may wish to take advantage of the new ‘Test to Release’ Scheme. This allows for a test on the fifth day and release from the sixth day subject to a negative test.

The Government has advised that students who have had a positive Covid test in the previous 90 days do not need to take a further test.


All facilities will be open from 4 January, including libraries, sports facilities, and hospitality outlets.


Much of the guidance issued in November remains in place. In particular, when traveling within the UK please try to use private travel where possible and adhere to good social distancing practice.

What happens next?

Your school will contact you to provide you with the specific information about your course and we will begin to email students with their test information next week. Please do also continue to check your emails over the holidays as we may need to provide you with further important information.

FAQs are available on our website, and we will add to these as plans are finalised. We will share further updates next week.


Robin Coleman • 11 December 2020

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