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Your wellbeing and COVID-19

Your wellbeing and COVID-19

If I have COVID symptoms or have tested positive, how can I protect others in my household?

You should follow the government guidance. The key messages are:

  • Stay at home and self-isolate immediately
  • This applies if you do not have symptoms and have tested positive using a lateral flow kit, or PCR, as part of contact tracing.
  • You should try and limit the contact you have with other members of your household.
  • Spend as little time as possible in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas.
  • Avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat.
  • Observe strict social distancing.
  • Ask the people you live with to help by bringing your meals to you, helping with cleaning and by giving you space.
  • Use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household where possible. If a separate bathroom is not available, try and use the facilities last, before cleaning the bathroom using your usual cleaning products. The bathroom should be cleaned regularly and use separate towels.
  • Use a face covering when spending time in shared areas inside your home to minimise the risk of spread to others. Used correctly, they may help to protect others by reducing the transmission of COVID-19 but they do not replace the need to limit your contact with other household members.
I have some COVID-19 symptoms, what should I do?

The common symptoms are:

  • a recent onset of a new continuous cough
  • and/or a high temperature (over 37.8C)
  • a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell.

It is critical that everyone knows the possible symptoms of COVID-19 and follows the correct procedures in reporting, self-isolating and testing. This is to ensure that we quickly identify, isolate and restrict further infections.

  • If you start to feel unwell when at home (student or private accommodation) - do not come to campus.
  • If you feel unwell while you are on campus – go home immediately.

In both cases:

  • Contact students@bucks.ac.uk and explain the situation.
  • Self-isolate: The government has published guidance on self-isolating at home.
  • If your contacts have had two doses of an MHRA approved vaccine, at least 14 days before contact, they will not need to self isolate, unless they then develop symptoms.
  • If you live in University-owned accommodation, we will contact you via our Track and Trace team (T&T)to identify your close contact and follow up and ask them to isolate if they have not had the two doses of the vaccine at the stated interval.
  • If you live in private accommodation, please take responsibility for protecting others and controlling the pandemic by making members of your household know what they must do.
  • Take a lateral flow test, or arrange a COVID-19 PCR test using the NHS website or call NHS 119.
  • Once you have received the results of your test, you must email students@bucks.ac.uk immediately, to let us know the result.
  •  If you are unsure about the symptoms  contact NHS 111, use the NHS 111 online symptom checker or the NHS COVID-19 App or consult your GP. If you are unwell and you do not have COVID-19 symptoms you should follow notify your course team to tell them if you are not able to attend a learning event (read more here: Bucks Learning Partnership Agreement)

If you test positive for COVID-19:

If the positive result is a lateral flow test, you must then arrange a follow up PCR test.  You can use the NHS website or call NHS 119. We have the NHS testing centre located in the Workshop building on the High Wycombe campus. You can book to attend this centre through the NHS website but you must book in advance before attending. 

  • The University Track & Trace (T&T) team will contact you to identify any close contact you may have had with members of staff and other students on campus.
  • The University T&T team is able to access details that are not shared with the NHS.
  • Public Health England will work closely with the University to support and advise the University in this process.
  • The NHS T&T service will contact you to identify who else you might have had close contact with in a social / non university setting
  • Continue self-isolating and do not attend campus. The T&T team will provide guidance
  • If you need support including supplies, do not leave your accommodation, but do contact students@bucks.ac.uk for support.
Does the university carry out Track and Trace?

Once we have confirmation that a student or colleague has tested PCR positive for COVID-19, we will instigate a set of measures to identify and notify those students/staff with whom the individual has had recent contact. Your contacts will only be required to isolate if they have not had two doses of an MHRA approved COVID 19 vaccination, at least 14 days before contact with a case.

This will mean that those affected members of staff and students will be instructed to self-isolate to help contain the spread of the virus. We are working closely with the Local Authority and NHS T&T and they continue to support the University in this.

I have to self-isolate, what does this mean?

There are various reasons why you may have to self-isolate. You could have COVID symptoms, or have tested positive, you could live with someone else who has symptoms or tested positive or you may be traced as a close contact of a positive case* and notified by the NHS App, NHS T&T or the University T&T team, or you may have to quarantine after foreign travel.

* If you are a case, your contacts will only be required to isolate if they have not had two doses of an MHRA approved COVID 19 vaccination, at least 14 days before contact with a case.

If required to isolate, you must remain in your accommodation and isolate for the notified period and follow the UK Government’s guidance. This is a legal requirement and breaches of the rules carry penalties of significant police fines. It is an important measure to stop the spread of the virus and keep your fellow students, University staff, families and the wider community safe.

Please notify the Student Hub and your tutor so that they can ensure that you are supported through your isolation. If you develop symptoms during the self-isolation period, you must contact the Student Hub and let them know that you are now feeling unwell and arrange to get tested yourself (see above).

Please do:

  • Order online and get your food delivered. Please contact the Student Hub if you have any questions.
  • If you are well enough, continue to work from home and attend classes online. Please contact your tutor if you need additional support
  • Contact the Student Hub if you need financial or wellbeing support
  • Exercise in your flat and take part in online gym sessions.
  • If you develop symptoms book and go and take a COVID test - but take precautions to avoid contact with others while you do so.

Please do not:

  • Go out to town for shopping – even for food
  • Go out socialising
  • Leave your flat to smoke or socialise with people in other flats or halls
  • Go on to campus
  • Go to your place of work
  • Go to the gym or park to exercise.

If you need any further guidance or support, please contact Students@bucks.ac.uk. Please protect yourself and the wider BNU community and follow the government guidance to keep us all safe.

Once you have completed your isolation period, and a period of 90 days has passed, you are strongly encouraged to take the free weekly lateral flow tests available at the University.

 

What does Track and Trace contact tracing consider?

When a case of confirmed COVID-19 has been identified, the University T&T team will work to identify those individuals (students and University staff) who have had close contact with the confirmed case. The team will discuss their movements and contact and use University logs and registers to identify others. Students and colleagues who have not received two doses of an MHRA approved vaccine at least 14 days before contact with a case, may be required to isolate.

NHS Guidelines define a ‘close contact’ as a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from two days before the person was symptomatic up to seven days from onset of symptoms (this is when they are infectious to others).

This could be a person who:

  • spends significant time in the same household
  • is a sexual partner
  • has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), including:
  • being coughed on
  • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
  • contact within one metre for one minute
  • has been within two metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • has travelled in a small vehicle, or in a large vehicle or plane
  • Where an interaction between two people has taken place through a screen, this would not be considered close contact.

Guidelines advise that the wearing of face coverings or personal protective equipment (PPE) is not a mitigation for close contact and so even if this was being worn at the time, the contact will be considered close contact. Only full medical-grade PPE worn in health and care settings will be considered as a mitigation

If you have tested positive and are contacted by NHS T&T or the University, you'll need to be ready to answer these questions so consider keeping a contact diary or simple record of where you have been to aid any conversation

The Students' Union have produced a handy form you can download and use here.

What do I do if I am finding it difficult to study when self-isolating and I'm worried about falling behind?

In the first instance you should contact your tutor who may be able to resolve your issue easily, or help you get the extra support you need. You may also want to contact Student Learning and Achievement to help with study skills.

If you are having technical problems you should contact IT if you can’t find the help you need on its pages.

If you need specific support, contact Student Learning and Achievement or the Inclusion, Diversity and Disability team. Or if you are struggling with your mental health or wellbeing we are here for you too. You have several options:

How do I get food and essential supplies whilst self-isolating?

You can order online and get your food delivered. See more details on food ordering here.

If you are experiencing any financial concerns, explore our bursaries and financial pages on our website and contact the Students’ Union Advice Centre on SUAdvice@bucks.ac.uk.

If you are finding it difficult to secure a food delivery, please contact the Student Hub students@bucks.ac.uk who can offer short-term, emergency assistance through our BNU Foodbank. Please note, Foodbank options are limited and we respectfully ask that students attempt to arrange a delivery prior to contacting the Student Hub.

I'm really worried and struggling with my mental health, what can I do?

This can be a stressful time for many different reasons and all elements of your wellbeing is our priority. All students have access to online support 24/7 from TogetherAll, or you can contact our Student Hub who can discuss all of the support available to you students@bucks.ac.uk.

What happens if I do not adhere to Government guidelines or university instructions on COVID safety?

The University has a duty of care to safeguard staff, students and visitors at our COVID-secure campuses and accommodation. We expect everyone to play their part to help reduce the risk of infection in our University community and more widely.

Our Student Code of Conduct for this academic year sets out our expectations around student behaviour and the process for managing incidents of student misconduct or breaches of the Code. In particular, we expect students to behave in a responsible manner; act within the law; comply with reasonable instructions; and adhere to health and safety requirements.

Someone in my household has been asked to self-isolate. Does that mean I have to as well?

If they do not have symptoms, and you have had two doses of an MHRA approved vaccine at least 14 days before contact with a case, then you will not have to isolate unless you have been specifically instructed by the University or by NHS App or NHS T&T. If you are unsure please contact students@bucks.ac.uk.

I'm an international student - can I leave the UK to visit my family and friends?

Please check the Government advice before you plan any travel as restrictions and guidance is changing all the time.