Update centre

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

19th October 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. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have implemented a number of measures to ensure that we continue to provide safe, welcoming homes for our residents. We will keep this page updated with the latest guidance and advice, as well as useful information for residents, so we encourage you to check this page regularly.

Government guidance

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. The advice is different, depending on where you live. Please check here frequently for updates. To stay informed of developments, we also recommend that you closely follow your university’s guidance.

Local COVID alert levels

Local COVID alert levels

From 14th October the government has introduced a new system called local COVID alert levels for England. Where necessary, we will apply additional restrictions in line with this guidance. To help you understand the restrictions in your area, we will display a sign in reception that gives the alert level and any additional restrictions within your iQ property. We recommend that you regularly check for any changes in your area and you can find out about local COVID alert levels for England here. You can find information here for the local restrictions implemented in Scotland and Wales.

NHS advice

NHS Advice

Get the latest information and advice from the NHS about coronavirus (COVID-19), including how to protect yourself and others from the spread of the virus, what to do if you have symptoms and how to book a test.

Protect yourself and others

There are three things we must all do to keep on protecting each other:

  • Wash hands: Keep washing your hands regularly, or use hand sanitiser
  • Cover face: Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Make space: Stay at least 2 metres apart

Find out more about the restrictions in England, Scotland and Wales.

We ask that all residents wear face coverings and follow social distancing rules when moving around our buildings. 

We ask that you do not allow visitors where local restrictions apply, or if your building has had to implement a no guest policy.
 

 

Face coverings

We are asking all residents to wear face coverings in our properties when walking around the building or using social spaces – this helps protect you and others. This doesn’t apply to those who may have a medical exemption from wearing a face covering. Your face covering may of course be removed when you are in your room, kitchen or studio.

Remember that it is a legal requirement in Scotland to wear face coverings within student accommodation when walking along corridors and around the building, or using social spaces.

 

Household and gatherings

Your flat is now your household. You are permitted to have visitors to your flat or to meet people outside, however there are restrictions on this which you are required to follow. You should check for updates on the number of people you can meet to ensure you are not contravening the Government’s guidance.

For England check here. 

For Scotland check here.

For Wales check here.

 

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. Find out more here.

 

What to do if you feel unwell

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), you must self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible. Please note that you must self-isolate for ten days if you are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for the virus, as per the latest Government guidance.

What to do if you are self-isolating

Residents should also notify their site team that they are self-isolating via the iQ App or portal.

You must also follow any guidance given by the test and trace service including obtaining a test and any self-isolation required should you be contacted.

Please see here for the NHS’ guidance on self-isolation,  its advice on COVID-19, and information on student accommodation. If you live in Scotland check here, and if you live in Wales check here.

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. 

If you need support during your self-isolation, find out more here.

 

Carefully consider your own travel plans

Anyone arriving from a country outside of the UK is legally required to self-isolate for 14 days, unless you are from one of the countries listed on the UK Government’s travel corridor.  It is important that you check the latest information prior to travelling. Please read this guidance carefully before making any travel plans.

Find out more about arriving at iQ, and your first 14 days here

Receiving a positive covid test result 

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.
 

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

If you are self-isolating in your room, please report this via the iQ app, as well as letting your 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 need any mental health support

SHOUT is a free, confidential, 24/7 support text line. The service is confidential and can be accessed anywhere, at any time. Simply text “SHOUT” to 85258 to have a conversation with one of their trained volunteers.

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

Social spaces

We are doing our best to ensure social spaces remain open for residents to enjoy. It is important to follow social distancing by respecting the limited numbers allowed in the spaces at any one time, and good hygiene practice by using the hand sanitiser, wipes and anti-bacterial sprays before and after you enjoy these spaces.

We all have a responsibility to keep each other, and our community safe, and so where Government guidance requires it, or the spaces are not being used appropriately, our site teams may have to close these spaces.

 

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

Where Government guidance permits it, we will allow residents to have guests in line with this advice. Residents should sign guests in at reception and may also log guests via the iQ app or resident portal. All guests are required to sign in prior to being allowed into the property. Guests must also register their visit using the NHS test and trace app

For the safety and protection of other residents and staff, we ask that residents and their guests remain in their room or studio, and do not use common spaces around the property.

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 and works as required. In these instances, social distancing will be strictly adhered to and staff will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where appropriate.

It may be necessary for our team to ask you to wait outside your room (for example in the kitchen) in order to maintain social distancing whilst we complete any work.  Please follow the advice of our team so that they can resolve your issue as quickly as possible.

Even if you are self-isolating you should continue to report maintenance issues and where urgent our team will work with you to ensure these are resolved.

 

Fire alarms

In the event of a fire alarm, please evacuate the building as you would normally even if you are self-isolating, 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.

 

Other questions you may have

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

What are you doing to make your buildings safe for students?

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. Take a look at our safe, welcoming homes page to see all the measures we have in place.

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.

What if more people move in to my flat after i have arrived?

Any new arrivals may have to self-isolate if arriving from a country outside of the travel corridor, they have tested positive or if they are showing symptoms.

You will not need to self-isolate with your flatmate unless advised by track and trace, or you yourself are showing symptoms. It may be a good idea for you to offer support and help to any flatmate who is self-isolating.

Can I move in to my flat if the iQ building or city goes in to lockdown?

We will always do our best to ensure residents can move in to their home on time. As you can appreciate, we will be guided by the government advice at the time, but with a clear focus to supporting our residents during the moving process.  

Can my flatmates and I have guests round at the same time?

Yes, but you can’t exceed the number of 6 in the flat shared spaces, and must try to keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre at all times. If this isn’t possible we recommend hosting guests in your room/studio.

You’ll need to talk to your flatmates to ensure you don’t have too many guests at once, as this may breach government guidance.

You may also use the building social spaces, but must not exceed the number of people permitted within the area as stated on the entry door.

if there are already people using the social space, can I also use it?

You will need to check the person restrictions as stated on the front door. The total number of people permitted to use the space must not be exceeded.

If the fire alarm sounds should I leave the building if I’m self-isolating?

Yes. You must always evacuate the building if the alarm sounds. When at the evacuation meeting point, please keep at least 2 metres apart from everyone else.

Who decides whether a building will be locked down?

iQ will follow the guidance of the NHS, PHE and the government who will advise on whether a building is placed in to local lockdown.

We will be transparent with our residents, and communicate regularly in the eventuality of a building lockdown.

How will we deal with your data during the current Covid-19 pandemic?

At IQ Student Accommodation we are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy.

We already hold personal data regarding our residents and our Privacy Notice sets out the ways in which we will process your data. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we may need to ask you for additional personal information (including special categories data, such as information about your health) and share it with others, in order to respond appropriately to the pandemic and to take measures to keep our properties safe for all our residents

Legal basis for processing your personal data

We process special categories of personal data if it becomes necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, or where necessary for the purposes of safeguarding. The law does not require us to ask for your consent to process your data for these purposes. We may also make use of this information without your consent where, for example, if it is in your vital interests or is necessary in the establishment, exercise or defence of any legal claims.

Sometimes your personal data may be used for statistical research or reporting to our shareholders but only in a form that no longer identifies you.

Sharing your personal data

In this current pandemic we may share your personal data with your university, with public authorities, emergency services, and other stakeholders as necessary and where it is proportionate to do so.

For further information 

For further information on your rights in relation to your personal data, please refer to our privacy notice. If you wish to raise a complaint in relation to our processing of your personal data, you can contact our DPO at [email protected]

Any additional questions?

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