Coronavirus FAQs

The safety of our students and staff remains our number one priority. Our ways of working and our physical environment have undergone some changes over the past few months – answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, along with links to find out more information, are below.

The information on this page is for current BCU staff and students. If you are an applicant or offer holder, please view our coronavirus information for applicants and offer holders page.

Information iconGeneral

How do I avoid catching or spreading coronavirus?

The Government has removed remaining domestic restrictions in England, however there are still steps you can take to reduce the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19: 

  • Get vaccinated
  • Meet outside, or open windows and doors for indoor visitors
  • Wear face coverings in crowded places and on public transport
  • Wash your hands with soap regularly, and for at least 20 seconds

Find out more on the government website.

How do I find out the latest University information about Covid-19?

This page will be kept up to date as and when the situation for Birmingham City University staff and students changes and regular updates are also posted on iCity.

Students should continue to check their BCU email regularly for updates, while staff will receive messages in Tiger Today.

What are the current safety measures on campus?

The University has taken the decision to keep certain health and safety measures in place, for the safety of our BCU community.

The following guidelines should be followed on our campuses:

  • All staff, students and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering when moving around our buildings and outdoor spaces.
  • Frequent hand washing is encouraged, with hand sanitiser stations around our buildings.
  • In our library spaces, 1m distancing will be maintained.
  • The enhanced cleaning regime will remain in place across all of our buildings.
  • Staff and students should continue to use Notify to report positive cases and symptoms.

Learning and teaching

Is teaching taking place on campus?

Most scheduled teaching including seminars, workshops, laboratories, skills labs and studios is being delivered face-to-face on campus. This means that you will need to be on campus for this scheduled learning in order to engage with your course. Some lectures are being held online and recorded, following feedback from our students this year, who told us that they preferred being able to watch lectures online at a time that suits them.

Are support services available on campus?

Most support services are offering support both on campus and online, including wellbeing support and counselling, academic support, library and learning resources, disability support, employability and careers.

IT support is available at the physical help desks located on the ground floor of Seacole Building, C033A in Curzon Building and the Level 2 Parkside Bridge.

Can I still use the library?

Yes, libraries are open to staff and students. Visit www.bcu.ac.uk/library for opening times and updates, and to book a space. It is no longer necessary to book a space to gain access. However, the booking system remains in place for individual and larger collaborative study spaces at Curzon and Mary Seacole libraries.

You can also access our library services online, including the following:

Studying online

How do I study at home?

Online learning will be available on our virtual learning platform, Moodle. You can find all your course information and resources, join discussion groups, submit assignments and talk to your course leader on Moodle.

Simply login at moodle.bcu.ac.uk using your BCU login details to get started. You can also access Moodle on the mobile app and via iCity.

If your course is using an alternative virtual learning platform, you will be sent information with more details soon.

Your course leaders may also host some of your learning on Microsoft Teams. Using Microsoft Teams, you can be added to small groups (or teams) of people to stay in touch and collaborate. Your tutor may use Teams to host video lectures and meetings, but you can also chat, share and temporarily store files, and chat to other students via video and audio calls.

You can download Microsoft Teams for free as part of our Office 365 suite, free to all BCU students. Find out more about using Office 365 here.

Remember to keep an eye on the Outlook calendar for your BCU email address for any Teams meetings you’ve accepted.

I don’t have a working laptop / computer or access to WiFi - what do I do?

The University campus is open for all students to access IT areas and study spaces, as well as to borrow a laptop from our laptop lockers.

What support is there for students that are parents?

If you are a student parent who is juggling childcare, we would suggest contacting your Course Leader to discuss options for flexibility. The University also has a Childcare Adviser who can assist and advise on support available. You can contact them via iAsk or email studentsupport@bcu.ac.uk.

Vaccinations

Am I eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination?

Anyone aged 16 or over in England can now get both doses of the Covid 19 vaccination and a booster dose. You can book a vaccination through the National Booking Service or visit a walk-in centre.

Where can I find out more about BCU's approach to vaccinations?

BCU is strongly encouraging all staff and students to get their Covid-19 vaccination and play their part in protecting our community from Covid-19. Find out more here.

Symptoms and testing

What should I do if I have symptoms?

There is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate if you have tested positive, however, we all have a responsibility to prevent others from becoming infected.

If you have tested positive, please stay and home and do not come onto campus.

Guidance for staff can be found here.

Guidance for students can be found here.

How do I get a Covid-19 test?

The Government is no longer providing free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England. These are no longer available to collect from the University.

If you still want to get tested and are not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a Covid-19 test yourself. You can buy these from some pharmacies and retailers, in person or online.

A small number of people will still be able to get free Covid-19 tests from the NHS. Find out who here.

Who do I need to contact if I have symptoms?

You should let your course leader or line manager know you are experiencing symptoms by phone or email. You should also report your symptoms via our Notify system. Guidance for students can be found here. Guidance for staff can be found here.

Someone in my household is self-isolating. Do I need to self-isolate too?

Close contacts of positive cases, and household members of those who have tested positive or are symptomatic, are no longer legally required to isolate, regardless of your vaccination status. However, we all have a responsibility to prevent others from becoming infected. You can help reduce the potential for spreading infection by:

  • Staying at home if you can
  • Monitoring yourself for symptoms (high temperature, new persistent cough, loss of smell or taste)
  • Wearing a face covering if leaving your home
  • Limiting contact with others in crowded places
  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Avoiding people who may be at increased risk of infection 
What support is available if I’m self-isolating?

If you are required to self-isolate, our Mental Health and Wellbeing team will be in touch to see what support you need. You can find out more about the support available here.

Icon of face coveringFace coverings and social distancing

Do I need to wear a face covering on campus?
Do I need to wear a face covering on campus?

Wearing a face covering while moving around our campus buildings, and in teaching and learning spaces, in strongly encouraged. 

Face coverings are not required when sitting in canteens and cafeteria areas.
Staff working in their offices are not required to wear a face covering.

You can choose to wear your own face covering. BCU face coverings are available at reception if you do not have one or if you forget your face covering.

Is social distancing being used?

In teaching spaces and offices, desks are set up at 1m apart and staff teaching desks will be 2m away from students. In the library, 1m distancing is to be maintained. In social and catering spaces, there is no requirement to maintain social distancing, although it is encouraged.

Can I move around the buildings normally?

We strongly encourage you to use the left hand doors when entering a building, where possible, and to adhere to social distancing while moving around buildings.

What will the room layouts look like?

Classrooms will be set up with desks 1m apart for social distancing, while staff desks will be kept 2m away from students.

What about specialist spaces where social distancing is not possible?

Every specialist space has its own risk assessment which you can read here. This area also contains guidance for those courses where social distancing is impossible due to the nature of teaching. 

Can I use the lifts?

Lifts are operational but their use will be limited to allow for social distancing. Please follow the signage at each lift.

Accommodation

What do I do if I need to self-isolate while in University accommodation?

If you are self-isolating because you are experiencing symptoms, you should isolate within your room in University accommodation. Check in with your housemates and work out times that you can use shared spaces while they are not using them.

Close contacts of positive cases, and household members of those who have tested positive or are symptomatic, are no longer legally required to isolate, regardless of your vaccination status. However, we all have a responsibility to prevent others from becoming infected. 

What should I do if someone in my household has symptoms or is self-isolating?

Close contacts of positive cases, and household members of those who have tested positive or are symptomatic, are no longer legally required to isolate, regardless of your vaccination status.

Check in with your housemates and work out times that you can use shared spaces while they are not using them.

You can help reduce the potential for spreading infection by:

  • Staying at home if you can
  • Monitoring yourself for symptoms (high temperature, new persistent cough, loss of smell or taste)
  • Wearing a face covering if leaving your home
  • Limiting contact with others in crowded places
  • Washing your hands frequently
  • Avoiding people who may be at increased risk of infection 

Icon of sanitiser Sanitation

Is hand gel provided?

Yes, hand gel is available at entrances and in prominent places around buildings.

What is the cleaning regime?

You can read the full cleaning regime here.

Are showers in use?

Yes – clear signage on use and any cleaning to be undertaken is on display and you should follow the signage at each shower block.

Can I use the photocopier or printer?

Yes, although try to minimise their use where possible. Where you can, stay in your seat until it's free to use. If this is not possible, please queue at least 1m away from the person using the printer. Wash or sanitise your hands before and after use of the printer/photocopier.

Can I distribute hand-outs?

Keep printing to a minimum by sharing documents electronically and displaying course materials, scripts and prompt cards on screens during teaching and practical sessions. If you have to issue hard copy documents, issue one copy per person. If hand-outs need to be reused, laminate them and wipe them down with a cleaning wipe between sessions. During the session, do not hand materials directly to another person.

Distribute them on desks before the session starts or designate a table in a clear area of the room as a pick-up point and allow individuals to collect as they enter. Always sanitise your hands before and after handling printed material.

Travel

I have just returned from overseas. Do I need a test?

You do not need to take any Covid-19 tests or quarantine on arrival in England, irrespective of your vaccination status. You should follow any rules that your travel provider tells you to follow. Other countries may have rules about what you need to do to leave the country to travel to England. You should check travel advice for the country you are travelling from.

Check the Government website for the latest updates.

Do I need to quarantine if I travel to the UK?

Requirements for completion of passenger locator forms, return from travel testing, and mandatory quarantine periods have now been removed. Some countries may still have specific entry requirement in place. Check the entry requirements of your destination before you travel.

Staff

Can staff request equipment for home use?

Staff whose current role involves an element of working from home may request equipment for home use to enable them to perform their role effectively. 

If you are a DSE user you must complete the Safe Use of DSE Training package and complete your DSE self-assessment. This will provide you with all the information you need in order to properly arrange your work station and adopt healthy working practices.  

What are the options for flexible working to help with travel plans and avoid potential commuter congestion?

If you are able to stagger your working pattern i.e. come in earlier/later and leave earlier/later, then please discuss this with your line manager in the first instance. Be mindful however, that if you are required to be on site for a specific time to meet timetable/business demands then you must be present at that time.

Where can I find more details about Agile and Hybrid working?

Find more details about Agile and Hybrid Working, including more FAQs, on iCity.

I previously paid for a car parking permit – will this carry on?

University car parks, including temporary plot A, will remain free for staff until the end of the year. Access to these car parks is on a first come, first served basis, so staff should be aware that spaces cannot be guaranteed.