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?

Coronavirus remains a serious health risk in the UK. The latest Government advice to protect yourself and others is:

  •        Meet outside, or open windows and doors for indoor visitors
  •        Stay at home and take a PCR test if you think you have symptoms
  •        Wear face coverings in crowded places and on public transport
  •        Check in to venues when you go out using the NHS Track and Trace app
  •        Wash your hands with soap regularly, and for at least 20 seconds
  •        Get vaccinated

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 restrictions on campus?

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

From September, the following guidelines should be followed on our campuses:

  • The wearing of face coverings when moving around buildings, and in classrooms, libraries and staff offices is strongly encouraged but not mandatory.
  • In teaching spaces and offices, desks will be set up at 1m apart. Staff teaching desks will be 2m away from students. Face coverings are strongly encouraged but not mandatory.
  • In our library spaces, 1m distancing will be maintained. Again, face coverings are strongly encouraged but not mandatory.
  • In social and catering spaces, wearing a face covering and social distancing is strongly encouraged.
  • Our enhanced cleaning regime will remain in place across all of our buildings.
  • Regular testing is encouraged (twice per week if coming onto campus) and staff and students are able to pick up home testing kits on campus.
  • NHS Test and Trace will remain across all catering outlets.
  • Staff and students should continue to use Notify to report positive cases and symptoms.

For more information on national restrictions, visit the government website.

Learning and teaching

Is teaching taking place on campus from September?

Most scheduled teaching including seminars, workshops, laboratories, skills labs and studios is being delivered face-to-face on campus where this is permitted and the University considers it safe to do so. This means that you will need to be on campus for this scheduled learning in order to engage with your course. However, 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.

Read more

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:

How will the current situation affect my results?

We recognise that the pandemic is going to impact on your studies. Because of this, we extended the No Detriment policy which we put in place last summer in addition to the extenuating circumstances programme. This policy applied to Semester 2 in the 2020-2021 academic year. Find out more here

Read our No Detriment FAQs here.

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.

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?

The Covid-19 vaccination is being offered to everyone aged 16 or over in England. You can book a vaccination through the National Booking Service or visit a walk-in centre.

If you are over 40 and it’s been six months since your second vaccination, you can now book your booster jab. You can wait to be contacted for an appointment or – depending on where you live – book an appointment here or get a third dose at an NHS 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?

If you are on campus, you must immediately go home and self-isolate. You should then follow our step-by-step guide to what you should do if you have symptoms:

Guidance for staff can be found on iCity here.

Guidance for students showing symptoms can be found here.

How do I get a Covid-19 test?

If you are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19, you should request a free test from the NHS here: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Staff and students are able to collect lateral flow device (LFD) testing kits from on-campus to use at home. If you are coming to campus, it is recommended to get tested twice per week. 

Find out more about testing on campus.

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. Find our step-by-step guide to what you should do if you have symptoms here.

The Test and Trace Team has told me to self-isolate. What should I do?

Staff should notify their line manager and follow the requirements set out by the Test and Trace Team. Guidance for staff can be found on iCity here.

Students should notify their course leader and also follow the requirements set out by the Test and Trace Team. Guidance for students showing symptoms can be found here.

You can find further information from the NHS on how to self-isolate here.

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

If someone in your household is well but has been told to self-isolate because they have been in contact with someone with Covid-19 outside the house, you can still attend campus.

Only if that person starts to develop symptoms should you stay at home and follow the advice in the Test and Trace guidance.

The government rules on self-isolation for those who have been in close contact with a Covid-positive person outline that if you are:

  • under 18 years old, or
  • fully vaccinated and not experiencing symptoms

you are not required to self-isolate, but you must take a PCR test as soon as possible. You are not required to self-isolate while waiting for your test result, but if your result is positive, you must immediately self-isolate. 

To be considered fully vaccinated you must have:

  •  completed a full course of vaccination at least 14 days ago (two doses of Moderna, AstraZeneca or Pfizer, or one dose of Janssen), and
  • completed your course of vaccination in the UK.

Find out more details about self-isolation and how it works at BCU Covid-19 Secure.

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

Do I need to wear a face covering on campus?

From September, the wearing of face coverings when moving around our buildings, in libraries, teaching spaces and offices, and in social and catering spaces, is strongly encouraged, but it is no longer a requirement to wear one. Therefore, there will be no exemptions process as it will be personal choice to wear a covering. This applies to both staff and students.

A limited number of spaces will require a face covering to be worn, due to their size and activities within them, but you will be notified of this requirement if this is the case.

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

Icon of social distancing Buildings and social distancing

Will social distancing be used?

From September, in teaching spaces and offices, desks will be 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.

What are the building opening hours?

A full list of building opening hours can be found on iCity here.

You can find opening times for all campus shops here.

You can find opening times for the Eagle & Ball here.

Do I use the normal entrances?

Yes, building entrances are now open with clear signage to show you the circulation routes as you enter. You should use the left hand doors when entering the building where possible.

Can I move around the buildings normally?

We strongly encourage you 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 told to self-isolate while in University accommodation?

If you are required to self-isolate because you are experiencing symptoms, the residents of your accommodation flat will also need to self-isolate.

You should follow our step-by-step Test and Trace process and inform the University through the Notify app.

Our Mental Health and Wellbeing Team will be in touch with you, anyone you’ve been in close contact with and members of your bubble to offer support. We will organise food and other essential deliveries so you don’t have to leave your flat. You can find out more about support for you while self-isolating here.

If you do not have symptoms, but have been in close contact with a Covid-positive person, the self-isolation rules now state that if you are:

  • under 18 years old, or
  • fully vaccinated and not experiencing symptoms

you are not required to self-isolate, but you must take a PCR test as soon as possible. You are not required to self-isolate while waiting for your test result, but if your result is positive, you must immediately self-isolate. 

To be considered fully vaccinated you must have:

  • completed a full course of vaccination at least 14 days ago (two doses of Moderna, AstraZeneca or Pfizer, or one dose of Janssen), and
  • completed your course of vaccination in the UK.

You should follow any specific instructions given by NHS Test and Trace. Find out more details about self-isolation and how it works at BCU Covid-19 Secure.

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

If someone in your household is well but has been told to self-isolate because they have been in contact with someone with Covid-19 outside the house, you should still attend campus as normal.

If that person starts to develop symptoms, the current rules on self-isolation state that if you are:

  • under 18 years old,
  • or fully vaccinated and not experiencing symptoms

you are not required to self-isolate, but you must take a PCR test as soon as possible. You are not required to self-isolate while waiting for your test result, but if your result is positive, you must immediately self-isolate.

To be considered fully vaccinated you must have:

  • completed a full course of vaccination at least 14 days ago (two doses of Moderna, AstraZeneca or Pfizer, or one dose of Janssen), and
  • completed your course of vaccination in the UK.

You should follow any specific instructions given by NHS Test and Trace. Find out more details about self-isolation and how it works at BCU Covid-19 Secure.

If you are required to self-isolate, you should contact your course leader and not come onto campus.

When can I come back to campus if I have had a positive test?

You can come back to campus after isolating for 10 days as long as:

  • you do not have any symptoms
  • you just have a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste – these can last for weeks after the infection has gone
You must continue to self-isolate if you have these symptoms after 10 days:
  • a high temperature or feeling hot and shivery
  • a runny nose or sneezing
  • feeling or being sick
  • diarrhoea

If you have diarrhoea or you’re being sick, stay at home until 48 hours after they've stopped.

You can find more information on how long to self-isolate for on the NHS website here.

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.

Can I hot-desk when not teaching?

If you are required on campus and cannot work in your usual office, you can book a hot desk in the Joseph Priestley or Seacole buildings via a new service. Read more about this 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.

International students

When do I need to arrive in the UK to start/continue my course?

We expect all international students to engage with their studies for Semester 1 online or in person from week 1 (week beginning 20 September).

The deadline to arrive in the UK to complete enrolment will be week 4 (week beginning 11 October), however this will be extended to week 8 (week beginning 8 November) if you are unable to travel to the UK.

Please check the guidelines on entering the UK from your country or territory before planning your journey and if you have any queries, contact the International Office at international@bcu.ac.uk.

Red list update

South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe moved onto the red list at 12noon on Friday 26 November.

A temporary flight ban is in place and all travellers who have been in these countries must quarantine and take tests.

Read about the latest changes to the red list.

I have already arrived in the UK. Can I access campus?

International students are able to access campus once they’ve completed any quarantine periods.

Students will not need to complete a registration form before arriving, but are expected to test twice a week for every week on campus. Home test kits are available to collect from Curzon Building (City Centre Campus) and Seacole Building (City South Campus).

Can I still start/continue my course online if I’m not in the UK?

You should still engage with your course online. The University will support you to minimise any disruption to your learning.

All of your 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.

Download a guide to using Moodle

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

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

Students who have returned from overseas should follow all government guidance when arriving in the country, and are encouraged to take a test before coming onto campus.

What support is BCU offering for students travelling to England?

We are offering support to new entrant students travelling from red-list countries and also some support for new entrant students travelling from non red-list countries. More information and terms and conditions can be found here.


I am travelling to England from a red list country. What do I need to know?

You must check the rules for the country you’re coming from or have travelled through.  If you have been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must quarantine for 10 full days in a managed quarantine facility. Before you travel to England, book and pay for a quarantine packagewhich includes your hotel quarantine, transport and Covid-19 testing on day two and on or after day eight. Full guidance for booking and staying in a quarantine facility if you’ve been in a red list country is available on the government website here.  A ‘what to expect’ guide is also available here.

You should look to book your managed quarantine package and flight at the same time to avoid any discrepancy. Before you travel you must also take a Covid-19 test and get a negative result during the three days before you travel. For example, if you travel directly to England on Friday, you must take the test on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. You must also complete a passenger locator form (PLF) with details of where you will quarantine when you arrive. Location details will be provided when you book your quarantine package. You must provide a quarantine package invoice number to complete your passenger locator form.

Do I need to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility?

The rules depend on which countries or territories you’ve been in or travelled through in the 10 days before you arrive in England, as well as the one you’re travelling from. For example, if you travel from a country that is not on the red list but have been in a red list country in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow rules for red list countries. 

Everyone who arrives into England and has been in a red list country must quarantine in a managed quarantine facility for 10 full days from the point of their arrival. The day of arrival in England will be treated as day 0.

Check the government website for information on travelling to another country during coronavirus and check the red list of countries and territories to find the rules for the country or territory you’re travelling from or have travelled through.

How do I book a managed quarantine package?

The managed quarantine service is administered by Corporate Travel Management (CTM). You must book a managed quarantine package within a 14-day period before arrival. The booking will include your accommodation, quarantine transport and Covid-19 tests on day two and day eight of quarantine.

Bookings can be made online. If you experience any difficulty booking through the booking portal, phone +44 (0)20 7429 9732.

You will need to agree to book and pay for a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form and board your journey to the UK.

Where can I arrive in England?
If you’re required to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility you can only arrive in England at certain ports of entry. It is your responsibility to make sure you are travelling to one of these ports. Direct flights from red list countries must arrive at dedicated red list terminals. Currently these are at London Heathrow and Birmingham Airport. Indirect arrivals can currently travel to: Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Birmingham Airport, Bristol Airport, Farnborough Airport, Biggin Hill Airport. Other ports of entry may be added in the future.
I have booked my managed quarantine package, but can't book a flight to arrive on the correct day. What should I do?

If you need to cancel or amend your reservation, contact Corporate Travel Management (CTM) by phone on +44 (0) 207 429 9732 (or use the local access number in your travel confirmation), or email quarantine.hotels@travelctm.com, no later than 48 hours before arrival and they will change or cancel your booking in full. If you contact them after that time, a cancellation charge of £200 will be applicable. The remaining amount paid will be refunded to you.

Can I quarantine in a managed quarantine facility room with someone I know?

Sharing of quarantine is only permitted for members of the same family who also travel together, and they must remain in quarantine together for the entire duration. All other travellers must book their own quarantine package and obtain a unique quarantine booking reference number to travel.

What services will be available during the managed quarantine facility?

The managed quarantine facility will provide you with information about the services available, including food, laundry and free Wi-Fi. The facilities selected for managed quarantine are able to meet the vast majority of requirements and will be able to accommodate dietary requirements, which should be identified when booking your quarantine package.

Can items be delivered to me during my quarantine period?

If you have items delivered to you during the quarantine period (such as food deliveries), they will be brought to the door of your room by the managed quarantine facility staff. Staff will try to bring the items to you as soon as possible. However, given the need to maintain compliance with Covid guidelines, deliveries may not be able to be brought to your door immediately when they arrive at the quarantine facility.

Equipment for working from home

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. 

A process has been established to deal with these requests, and the full guidance can be read here. The process involves the local DSE assessor identifying any needs via a DSE self-assessment.

The type of equipment included in this process are electrical equipment, which includes monitors, docking stations, or risers, keyboards, mice, cables for computers or chairs.

Staff

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, and returning to campus?

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 this car park is on a first come, first served basis, so staff should be aware that spaces cannot be guaranteed.

The University has decided not to renew its contract for car parking at Millennium Point from 1 August. Find out more on iCity.