Update centre

Update on coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for residents

25 May 2020

 

The safety and wellbeing of our resident community is of utmost importance to us, and we want to share the latest guidance on COVID-19.

Helping our students and staff protect themselves and others is our top priority during this difficult and uncertain time. From the outset of the pandemic, we have been in regular contact with Public Health England and other expert authorities, and we will continue to monitor the evolving situation closely. Guidance from the Government and NHS informs the actions we take.

 

Latest Government Guidance

The UK and devolved governments continue to update their advice which we must all follow to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus. We will continue to provide you with the latest guidance from the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments as it becomes available by updating this page; please check frequently for updates. To stay informed of developments, we also recommend that you closely follow your university’s guidance.

 

What you need to do if you live in:

England

Stay alert and safe

As of 11 May, the latest guidance for households in England has changed. Read about how the guidance has changed and what this means for you.  

It remains the case that anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should self-isolate. If you are in the group classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’ or ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ please read further guidance here.

Collecting your belongings

The UK government is now allowing students who left their student accommodation in England and now wish to travel back to recover their belongings to do so, as long as they follow the precautions set out in staying safe outside your home. You must also have pre-booked a collection slot with your site team. Please do so by getting in touch with them here. Please do not come to site unless you have prior consent.

 

If you are still unable to collect your possessions, either because you are self-isolating or are otherwise unable to travel, we will continue to store your items for collection at a future date. Please do get in contact with your site team if this is the case, so we are aware of your situation.

 

Scotland

Guidance for households in Scotland remains unchanged for the time being. Please read more here.

 

Wales

Guidance for households in Wales remains unchanged for the time being. Please read more here.

 

Protect yourself and others

Please read the Government’s advice for how to protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19, and remember the importance of good handwashing and respiratory hygiene.

 

What to do if you feel unwell, and information on self-isolation

The Government advises that you should self-isolate in your room or studio if you have any of the coronavirus symptoms. Please read the NHS’s advice on COVID-19, its advice on self-isolation and information on student accommodation.

If you cannot cope with your symptoms during self-isolation, if they get worse or are no better after 7 days you should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111. The service for Scotland is here and for Wales is here. Call 999 for medical emergencies.

If a case is confirmed through testing, we will act quickly and decisively on the instructions given by the relevant authorities, and will work with our university partners to ensure a coordinated response, and to ensure that students receive the right advice and support. We will also arrange for a professional deep clean of the affected resident’s room, common flat spaces and any common areas the affected resident may have used, as advised by the authorities.

 

Keeping in touch with family and friends, and where to access help

If you are self-isolating in your room, please let friends, family and your university know.

It is important to take care of mental as well as physical health and seek support if needed.  Staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people. Beyond keeping in touch with family and friends over the phone and on social media there are sources of support and information that can help, such as Every Mind Matters. Our partner Relate, the UK’s largest relationship charity, has posted tips on keeping relationships healthy during self-isolation and social distancing.

If you are tested for COVID-19 at any point and have the virus, you must let your site team know via phone or email, as well as letting your university know.

 

What iQ is doing

We are focused on providing safe and welcoming homes to those living with us, and operating our properties effectively and safely.  We have taken a number of steps to ensure that we can continue to do this. We have:

  • Kept residents regularly updated with the latest information and guidance via this web page, and by displaying information on site that is provided by Public Health England.
  • Been working with our university partners to ensure a joined-up approach at all our sites, and to ensure students are able to access the support they need.
  • Maintained high standards of cleanliness in our shared areas.
  • Put hand sanitiser gel in receptions and common areas for general use of residents and staff, in line with Government advice for practising good hygiene.
  • Reinforced our well-established operational protocols for our staff, should a student become unwell and medical support be required.
  • Asked our site teams to practice social distancing measures with each other and residents, and perform only essential activities that allow us to safely operate our buildings.
  • Temporarily closed all gyms, gaming rooms and cinemas in line with government guidance, and ask students not to use any of the common areas. Communal social and study spaces are also closed where possible to support social distancing measures.

We have also been making sure that we have contingency measures in place with our suppliers, to ensure that – as much as we can – services in our properties can continue uninterrupted.

 

Our iQ community

We encourage the iQ community across all sites to support one another at this time. Whilst social distancing, and the prospect of self-isolation for those who are unwell, may be daunting, we want to ensure that nobody feels isolated, lonely or without what they need.

If you need help, we suggest that you get in touch via the app, post on your resident Facebook page, or email [email protected]and as a community we will do all we can to support you. If you know someone who does not have access to Facebook or other groups you are using to communicate and exchange, do reach out to them via text, phone or email to check they have what they need – or simply to check they are ok.

We believe in supporting each other in a time of difficulty. We can help limit the spread of the outbreak by acting now and together in a safe, considerate and friendly way.

 

Other practical advice

Post collection and food delivery

Please be considerate during this time about the amount you are ordering online, and limit deliveries to essential items. To keep everyone safe and adhere to social distancing, we need to limit avoidable interactions including with delivery drivers.

If you have any coronavirus symptoms, you should self-isolate and not visit reception. Please send a friend or flatmate who is not self-isolating to reception to collect any delivery for you or, alternatively, let the site team know by phone or email, and they will leave it outside your flat door.

 

Guests

We have temporarily suspended guest access, to protect staff and our resident community.  If you are self-isolating and you have arranged for a friend or family member to bring you essential food supplies or medicines, they can bring this up to you or leave it at reception and a member of staff will put this outside your door for collection.

 

Room and flat maintenance

We will continue to carry out essential maintenance, room cleaning and works as required. In these instances, social distancing will be strictly adhered to.

 

Fire alarms

In the event of a fire alarm, please evacuate the building as you would normally, but where possible, keep at least two metres (about three steps) away from other people.

We ask all residents to be vigilant in terms of preventing fires and in particular false alarms at a period when emergency services responses may be stretched due to sickness. We all have a role to play, so please:

  • Call 999 in the event of a fire being discovered. As ever, please do not rely on others including staff calling the Fire and Rescue Service.
  • Do not leave fire doors propped open.
  • Don’t smoke inside the building, including vaping.
  • Don’t tamper with smoke detectors or other fire safety equipment.
  • Keep your shower room door closed while taking a shower.
  • Remember that candles are not permitted.
  • Don’t leave cooking unattended, even for a few moments.
  • Don’t cook using deep fat frying – shallow fry if you need to.
  • Make sure the cooker is off when you have finished using it.
  • Don’t use metal containers or leave cutlery in the microwave when in use.
  • Do not use cooking appliances, such as rice cookers, in your bedroom.
  • Keep away from the smoke detector when using aerosols.
  • Make sure you are always able to hear or respond to a fire alarm.

 

Carefully consider your own travel plans

New guidelines are being introduced from 8 June. Please read this guidance carefully before making any travel plans.

If you do travel in to the UK and are self-isolating in your flat or studio apartment, you must not go out to buy food or other essentials. Please arrange for a friend or family member to bring you food supplies or medicines, and they can bring this to your door, or leave it at reception and a member of staff will put this outside your door for collection. Once self-isolation is complete you should follow the current government guidelines on social distancing measures.

For students who need to extend their stay into the post-term summer months, we will be able to facilitate this, and will work with you depending on your needs. Please contact [email protected] with your request.

 

Other questions you may have

We’ve tried to answer questions you may have here.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch with [email protected].

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

 

Generally, COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term health conditions.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The NHS advises that symptoms usually include a cough, high temperature and difficulty breathing. The government advises that if you have any symptoms – even mild ones – to stay at home. Find out more here.

Can I end my tenancy early?

We understand that these are uncertain and difficult times. We are considering what we can do to support students who need to check out before the end of the academic year. Please send any requests to [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Can I extend my booking if I need to?

Yes. For students who need to extend their stay into the post-term summer months, we will be able to facilitate this, and will work with them depending on their needs. We are focused on providing a safe and secure home for the many thousands of students who are still in residence. Any requests to extend your tenancy should be made via [email protected] or your site team. 

Any additional questions?

If you need to get in touch, please contact [email protected].