UCL News


UCL shares plans for a phased return of students in the New Year 2021

14 December 2020

Today UCL students will receive information from your departments about arrangements for the start of Term Two.

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Departments are writing to students today with information about arrangements for the start of Term Two, in response to recent UK Government guidance about the phased return of students to universities across the country.

Here we summarise the general approach.

Studying in Term Two

In Term Two, students continue to have the option of studying wherever you are based, either remotely or on campus, according to travel restrictions and your personal circumstances.

Staying in London for the winter break

UCL winter break runs from 5.30pm on Friday 18 December. Every year, many of you remain in London for the holiday, and this year is no exception. Throughout winter break, the Student Centre, other study spaces and the gym will be open; Students’ Union UCL are running events and activities; and telephone and online counselling will be offered by our mental health and wellbeing service. Find out more. Our administrative offices will be closed from 18 December, reopening on Monday 4 January, when full access to the campus resumes, subject to current safety restrictions. 

Returning to campus for Term Two or arriving for the first time

Many of you are travelling to stay with family and friends during the winter break and plan to return to term-time accommodation for Term Two. In addition, some of you will be travelling to London for the first time, having studied remotely for Term One.

All universities have been asked by the UK Government to arrange a phased return of students to campus after the winter break, both to accommodation and face-to-face teaching. The aim is to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, by avoiding the mass movement of students within a short time period.

When planning the phased return of students, in line with Government guidance, departments have considered practical/laboratory/studio subject requirements, early assessments, and other subject-related aspects.

Your departments will write to you today, Monday 14 December, to advise you about when to return to campus. However, they are also making clear that you are not required to change existing travel bookings. In addition, if you are unable to study remotely from the place where you were staying during winter break, you can return to your term-time accommodation. You will be able to access facilities and services on campus as soon as you return.

Getting tested for coronavirus on your return/arrival

To protect yourself and your peers, if you are returning to term-time accommodation for Term Two, you are encouraged to get tested at UCL’s Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing Facility, which will be operating from 4 January. This is especially important if you are reforming a household. Book your test in advance, before you travel back, so that you can get tested soon after your arrival. Find out more about how to get tested.

International students preparing to travel to the UK should read our travel advice to find out more about what you should do on arrival.

If you have questions about your education in Term Two, please contact your department. For general questions, please contact askUCL, our self-help centre and student enquiry system.