Safety advice for students
Updated 18 September 2020
Keeping all our students safe is a top priority for us. We continue to be guided by the latest official government guidance. At Imperial, we also have some of the world’s leading researchers of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic who are advising governments around the world on the most effective measures to take to protect people from the virus as well as developing and testing a new vaccine.
Government guidance will continue to change in the UK over the coming months and we are regularly updating our plans for your safe return to campus.
This webpage contains guidance on the measures we are taking for your safety, plus information about the healthcare support available to you. You can also access our main COVID-19 Safety Guidance webpage which has more information about the safety measures and policies we have in place to keep our campuses and communities safe from COVID-19.
What measures can I expect in the Autumn Term?
Arrangements may change, but on current plans, as a minimum you can expect:
On arrival at Imperial, you will receive a welcome pack that will include three washable cotton face coverings, hand sanitiser and cleaning wipes.
Good infection control
The College is implementing good infection control procedures, for example, by frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly including door handles, light switches, furniture, handrails, IT equipment, desks, phones, flush plates, taps and dispensers. Perspex screens will also be used across the College in reception and service areas.
Due to social distancing measures, you should only visit campuses with a valid reason, such as timetabled teaching or pre-booked services. Check out when it's okay to be on campus on the visiting campuses safely page.
Hand sanitisers and multi-surface cleaning wipes
Around the College there will be hand sanitisers and multi-surface cleaning wipes for you to use, as well as plenty of hand-washing facilities.
You should keep at least two metres apart from other people. If you need to be in closer proximity, you should still stay more than one metre apart and it will be essential you adopt additional mitigating measures, such as wearing a face covering or a face visor, depending on where you are within campus. There will be clear signage systems and protocols to ensure you can go about your business while maintaining social distancing and good hygiene.
Safer socialising – max of 6 keeping a 2m distance
When moving into your student accommodation with others you will be forming a new household which will be a key part of how you will be able to socialise. There are still opportunities to meet new people outside your household and socialise safely at university but remember to keep a two-metre distance.
Also keep yourself and your friends safe by following the guidance on how many people you can safely meet with in different social situations – currently a maximum of 6 people indoors and outdoors, whether in a beer garden, bar, restaurant or cinema etc. Go out, socialise and enjoy student life but be responsible.
By following this guidance, hand-in-hand with the basic safety protocols, you’ll keep on track with your social life and, as far as possible, avoid getting coronavirus and having to self-isolate.
On campus, wearing a face covering is essential in most locations. Face coverings should cover both your mouth and nose.
When it’s essential to wear a face covering:
- Walking around campus
- Cafes and welfare spaces
- Lecture theatres
- Teaching rooms
- Halls of residence
- Travelling on public transport
- In shops
When it's not essential to wear a face covering:
- Laboratories (local arrangements will be in place)
- Workshops (local arrangements will be in place)
- Offices (local arrangements will be in place)
For laboratories and other high-risk areas please refer to the local risk assessments for exact requirements.
Off campus, government guidelines stipulate where you should wear a face covering. You can find the current government guidelines on wearing face coverings on their website.
Visors and face coverings
You may be required to wear a face visor in some places in addition to a face covering. The most likely places are in teaching rooms if it proves difficult to maintain a distance of two metres. Your department will provide face visors and will advise you of when it’s necessary to wear one.
Access to testing
If you start to feel the symptoms of coronavirus, no matter how mild, you can freely access testing through the National Health Service (NHS) and can find the nearest testing location and more advice by looking on their website. Check the NHS website for the symptoms of coronavirus.
The College has established a contact tracing process through the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Hub [link] which will interface with the NHS’s Test and Trace service. It means that any local instances can be quickly dealt with and contacts traced to prevent further spread of the virus locally at the College.
In line with official government guidance, we will not be introducing mass routine temperature checking because this does not detect the asymptomatic carrier. However, should you feel COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, you will have access to testing and you should follow the procedures to self isolate (see below).
As part of the measures we are putting in place to ensure residents are able to comfortably adhere to social distancing guidelines. A range of measures are being developed to ensure that residents are safe, secure and can comfortably adhere to social distancing guidelines. This will include staggered arrival times, clear self-isolation procedures, and amendments to corridor and communal space usage. For more information please visit our accommodation webpages.
Self-isolation or quarantine arrangements
Self-isolation on arrival
If you are travelling from certain countries you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in the UK. Please refer to the UK Government guidance on this requirement. More COVID-19 guidance and advice for international students can be found on the UKCISA website. We strongly recommend that you arrange to bring with you a credit / debit card that you can use when you arrive in the UK.
Living in halls? If it is necessary for you to self-isolate when you arrive - and you will be living in our halls of residence - you will be able to arrive to halls up to two weeks before the start of term, at no extra cost. Visit the self-isolating in halls page on the website.
Living in private accommodation? If you will be living in private accommodation, you will need to ensure that you are able to self-isolate effectively should it be necessary. You can find out more information by visiting the FAQs page on our website about COVID-19 and living in private accommodation.
Self-isolation due to contact tracing
If you have been in contact with someone within the past 14 days who has a positive test for COVID-19, you will be contacted by email by the College's COVID-19 Contact Tracing Hub (CCT Hub) and told to self-isolate. You must report your absence on MyImperial.
Living in halls? If you have to self-isolate while living in halls there are procedures you need to follow. Be aware of the measures in place and the support offered to you. Visit the self-isolating in halls page on the website.
Living in private accommodation? If you are contacted by the CCT Hub and asked to self-isolate for 14 days, ensure you follow the instructions provided. You should also follow the advice provided by the NHS.
The College provides support for students, check out the Student Support Zone pages.
Frequently asked questions
What access to healthcare facilities are there?
We will make sure that you have access to the services and support that you need to remain healthy, happy and to be a success. You can find out more about our support services on our website
Will I be able to visit a doctor?
If you have moved away from home to take up your place at Imperial you will need to register with a new doctor (also known as a General Practitioner or GP) so that you can access NHS healthcare. It’s important that you register with a doctor soon after you arrive – don’t wait until you are sick, as this could delay your access to treatment.
If you’re living in halls of residence, your hall will provide you with a registration form when you move in. For more information, visit the ‘your health’ web pages on the College website.
The National Health Service also provides advice on how to access services on their website.
If possible, before you arrive at Imperial, you should ensure you are fully vaccinated against:
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) – 2 injections 3 months apart should give lifelong protection
- Meningitis ACWY – a single injection is given to those under 25 years, who are attending university for the first time
- Flu - if you are in an at-risk group
If it is not possible to get these vaccinations before you arrive, Imperial College Health Centre will be running vaccination clinics around the start of term. The vaccines are given free of charge for those who are in the at-risk groups.
Will I be able to visit a dentist?
Imperial provides dental services on our South Kensington Campus. Dental services have resumed, with added precautions. For more information, visit the ‘your health’ webpages.