Advice for Students

COVID-19 Advice and Guidance

Updated 24 September 2020

All students need to watch our Safety First video to understand the measures we’ve put in place this year and to know what we all need to do to keep each other safe. It counts on all of us respecting each other and our community – let broadcaster and author Mark Thompson talk you through our safety measures for 2020/21:

What’s happening for next academic year (2020-21)? Will students be taught on campus?

We’re looking forward to welcoming students back to campus in September. Our current teaching plans for next year are: 

  • To start as usual in September and to deliver as much in person, on campus teaching as is safe and practicably possible to do so, for example through small group teaching.
  • We are planning to deliver the academic content of larger lectures digitally for all students in advance of smaller group face-to-face sessions.
  • We will also do our best to ensure that students who are unable to return to UEA in September to commence face-to-face teaching can continue to participate as fully as possible remotely and online, until such time as they are able to join us.


When will teaching begin next academic year?

Please see our semester dates

How will students be assessed next academic year?

Details around assessments for next year are continuing to be worked on and will be communicated to students once finalised. One change that has been made for next academic year, however, is the introduction of an assessment period in January at the end of the Autumn Semester in which students will be able to complete some items of coursework and projects and sit examinations. The summer assessment period will reduce to three weeks.  

Students will also be contacted by their Heads of Schools regarding any changes to modules next academic year.

I Have Concerns About Arriving On Campus Or Taking Part In Face To Face Learning Due To My Personal Circumstances, What Can You Do To Support Me?

Following new circumstances arising this month, including changes made by UK Government, we have reviewed again the scope of flexibility of study options we can provide to students at the start of the new semester. In light of these new circumstances we will consider, where possible, any requests to start courses in an online only format to begin with this semester. It is important to be aware that this option is not possible for every course offered at UEA, for example those with practical and/or practice based elements.   

If any student wishes to consider this option they should email if they are a returning student, and if starting as a new student in 2020/21

Can Students Self-Isolate In Shared Accommodation On Or Off Campus?

Yes, self-isolation within wider households is permitted by UK government guidelines.

You or one of your fellow students may need to self-isolate within your shared accommodation. Most of those self-isolating at the beginning of the semester will be doing so for only a short period as a precautionary measure. As you will have seen in the news, the UK government has introduced quarantine measures for those visiting from certain countries and we are following this guidance.

Self-isolating students should not use the shared areas of the flat at the same time as other students and will receive appropriate support from our Student Services team. 

If you are a student who is self-isolating within shared accommodation, please follow this guidance to ensure the safety or yourself and others. 

Your safety is of the highest priority and we have worked hard to ensure your environment is safe, supportive and inspiring. Maintaining this will require us all working respectfully together as a unified university community. 

If you have concerns or would like more information please contact

Do I need to download the NHS Test and Trace app?

The University is fully supporting the new NHS Covid-19 Test and Trace app – due to launch on Thursday 24 September – and urges all staff and students to download and use it. 

The app will alert you if you have been near those who have tested positive, inform you of the level of risk in your postcode, check if you have the symptoms of coronavirus, help you book a test and get the result, and give advice on self-isolation and a countdown timer. 

There is also a ‘check-in’ feature, which means you will be alerted if you have recently visited a venue where you may have come into contact with the virus. You will see QR codes at campus locations such as cafes, restaurants and the Sainsbury Centre – by scanning the QR code on entry, you will build up a digital diary on your phone of the venues you have visited. This can support discussions with contact tracers if you become ill with coronavirus, and means important public health messages can be sent to relevant app users’ phones if needed. 

It’s important to note that all information collected by the new app is stored anonymously on your phone – not centrally. This makes it very secure and means your personal information and privacy are well protected. 

To download the NHS COVID-19 App, search for “NHSCOVID-19” in the App Store / Google Play Store on your phone.

If you have any concerns about the new NHS app, please contact

What about student maintenance loans and bursaries - are there any changes?

It’s been a very uncertain year and not surprisingly many people have worries about their financial circumstances. UEA is here to help and we’ve put some extra measures in place to support students encountering financial difficulties.

As usual students need to apply to Student Finance England (SFE) to see if they are eligible for a maintenance loan from SFE and bursary from UEA for the next academic year. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible. UEA will use SFE financial information, with your consent to share, to assess your eligibility for a bursary.

This assessment will look at your household income for the 2018/19 financial year so if your financial circumstances have changed it might be wise to consider asking SFE to reassess your case. This means that even if you weren’t eligible for extra support previously, you might be in 2020/21.

This year we’ve also arranged for students who are eligible for a UEA bursary to be paid their first instalment earlier than usual, on the 25th September. This will also be a larger slice of your entitlement with half paid upfront and then half in February. We hope this will help students buy what they need to support their studies, whether that’s new technology, books or other materials. You can find out more on our bursaries page

How is the University making sure the campus will be safe to return to in September?

Student and staff safety is our number one priority. We’ve carried out enhanced cleaning and have detailed safety arrangements for teaching, learning and the campus environment. We’ve created new learning spaces and adapted teaching  rooms and communal areas to make social distancing possible in lessons and when you are walking around. We’ve changed our timetable and introduced one-way systems and marked areas to help maintain social distancing. There are increased hygiene facilities and hand sanitising stations are being installed at key locations. 

Perspex screens have been installed at reception areas and lifts have been made single occupancy to support social distancing. 

At the start of the new academic year we will also supply all students and staff with a DoorMate which was designed by UEA students, technicians and researchers, and enables people to open doors and use keypads without having to touch surfaces. Sanitising wipes are being provided for people to wipe down work equipment and study spaces. We are also encouraging regular handwashing as this is the most effective way to combat the virus.

Will students have to wear face coverings?

As with the rest of the UK, face coverings must be worn where they are required by law. This means when in shops on campus and other buildings such as the Sainsbury’s Centre. As part of our work to make campus as safe as possible, face coverings will now be required to be worn by all students, staff and visitors while moving around in University buildings, in all teaching spaces and in any crowded external areas. 

We will be providing students and staff with two washable, re-usable face coverings – these are due to arrive in mid-September. Disposable face coverings will be available in the interim. You will also be required to wear a face covering when moving around in the Library, but not whilst studying in the Library study spaces. 

Students who cannot wear face coverings for medical reasons do not need to provide evidence of exemption. Coverings can also be removed for eating and drinking, and once at your work stations, study space or other non-teaching areas that are arranged to provide 2m social distancing.

Please review the Government advice to stay up to date.

What facilities will be open on campus in September?

Many of our cafes and restaurants on campus have reopened under Government guidance. We are working closely with our colleagues in the Students’ Union to make sure that the social aspect of your time is as close to what you would expect.

Sportspark has reopened in accordance with government guidelines, as has the Sainsbury Centre, so you'll be able to enjoy their world-class facilities. The library building has also recently reopened - please read our library frequently asked questions to find out more.  

Government advice is changing and we will respond accordingly - details are continuing to be worked on, and students will be kept informed.

Will sports facilities and clubs be up and running?

Sportspark has recently reopened in accordance with government guidelines. Read about the measures they're putting in place so you can enjoy their world-class facilities safely. 

UEA Sport will also be running a number of activities and initiatives to get students involved in sports and physical activity. With 58 sports clubs on offer, from archery and ballet, to rowing and cricket, there’s plenty of choice. UEA Sport will provide support and ensure sessions are run according to government and Sporting National Governing Body guidelines. Where clubs cannot train because of social distancing, we will run online classes and challenges so they can still participate in sports club activities.  As well as sports clubs activities, UEA Sport will continue to run their award-winning Active Campus participation programme, including initiatives such as wellbeing dog walks, day trips to local areas, drop-in sports and group exercise classes, inter-faculty competitions and events, all of which adhering to social distancing and government guidelines.

How will I be able to travel to and from campus safely?

Cycling from Norwich City Centre to campus is easy. UEA is located on a Pink Pedalway route which crosses the city.  We have more than 3,000 cycle racks, secure covered parking for bicycles and a bike servicing unit on campus. We also have hire bikes around campus and bike stands outside our city centre student accommodation so you can cycle around without having to invest in your own bike. We’re also teaming up with the City Council to see if Norwich can be a trial area for rental e-bikes and e-scooters.

There are regular buses from the town centre to campus and bus companies have reduced capacity inside to ensure passengers can socially distance. They have also enhanced their cleaning. One of the largest bus companies, First Bus, will be running buses more frequently in the evening and night time and they have invested in new and larger buses to help transport people around the city safely.

I’m an international student. what happens if I’m unable to arrive on time for the start of the semester or if I’m affected by travel restrictions?

We are hopeful that any travel restrictions in place globally will be eased by September and we are closely monitoring the situation while following Government guidance. We will ensure that students who are unable to return to UEA in September to commence face-to-face teaching can continue to participate virtually and as fully as possible, until such time as they are able to join us.

We are also taking steps to provide flexible arrival options so international students who are required to self-isolate will be able to arrive two weeks before their semester commences, with those staying in UEA accommodation able to access their room early. You will have access to a comprehensive set of virtual learning tools, access to your lecturers and our digital library. This will ensure that you are able to commence learning and transition seamlessly into your classes. 

Student welfare and safety is at the forefront of everything we do, and we will send detailed information on the arrivals process to returning students throughout July and August. 

I’m an international student on a Tier 4 visa and I am remaining in the UK to continue my studies remotely – what do I need to do?

If you are remaining in the UK and are continuing your studies remotely, we still request that you complete our self-declaration of absence form

I'm an international student in the UK with a visa which has just expired or is expiring shortly, and I am unable to leave because I am self-isolating or travel restrictions are preventing me from returning home - what do I need to do?

The Home Office has recently changed its guidance around immigration implications of COVID-19 – if you had a visa that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 and requested an extension, please visit the Home Office website to find out what you need to do next. 

I’m an international student with a Tier 4 visa studying Medicine or Nursing. Am I still restricted in the number of hours I can work per week during term time?

On 31 March 2020 the Home Secretary announced that, as a response to the national effort to combat coronavirus, trainee doctors and nurses will not be limited by the number of hours they can work in the NHS during term time. This change is expected to be in place for a limited period and only applies to work undertaken in the NHS. Your course and/or your School may have additional recommendations to consider as you balance your studies and any work so please ensure that you are aware of these before making any commitments.

I am a member of the British Armed Forces reserves - will I get deadline extensions and delayed examinations when I return to my studies?

Yes, students who are British Armed Forces reserves, or who are in other specialist volunteer roles, and who are deployed in this role will be given whatever support is necessary to ensure they can successfully complete their studies.