Important COVID-19 update: vaccinations, travel and your studies at UCL
13 December 2021
Everyone aged 18 or over will be offered a booster vaccination in December, some teaching may move online for the last week of Term 1, and what to do if you are planning to travel.
Just as the number of COVID-19 cases is beginning to rise throughout the UK, including the new Omicron variant, so too are they on campus. Our priorities are to keep you as safe as possible, minimise the risks on campus, and follow the UK Government’s guidance.
The situation is evolving and public health guidance can change at short notice. We will let you know of any changes that affect you at UCL as soon as possible. Please check the UK Government and NHS websites, as well as UCL’s coronavirus information hub, for the latest information, especially if you are planning to travel over the winter break.
Vaccinations and boosters
Everyone aged 18 or over in the UK will have the chance to get a COVID-19 booster dose before the New Year. Please get your vaccination or booster dose as soon as you can. Recent data show that having a booster increases your protection against the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
People aged 30 and over can already get a booster dose. Booster appointments for those aged 18-29 will be available to book from Wednesday 15 December; this service is not yet available at all walk-in vaccination sites. Find out how to book a vaccine and your nearest vaccination centre on the NHS website.
The NHS vaccination centre at Bidborough House is open 9am–6pm daily. The centre may temporarily suspend walk-in vaccinations at busy times, and you are recommended to make an appointment if possible.
Teaching for the rest of Term 1
Teaching and assessment will continue for all programmes until the end of Term 1 (Friday 17 December). Where we can, we will move teaching online for the rest of the term, but many practical and placement-based activities will continue in-person. Your department will contact you if there are any changes to your teaching and you are able to study remotely this week.
In line with current UK Government guidance, we intend for campus to be fully open for face-to-face teaching for the start of Term 2. We are keeping this guidance under review and will be in a better position to update you next week about what to expect in January.
Travelling over the winter break
Please think carefully before you make any travel plans for the winter break, and follow the latest guidance from the UK Government, your destination and any countries you will be travelling through, including the legal requirements for proof of vaccination or getting tested for COVID-19.
It is important to consider the potential risks to your health, and your family and friends before you leave London, especially if you are planning to attend any large gatherings or meeting people in crowded indoor spaces.
Before you travel, remember:
- Get a vaccination or booster dose for COVID-19 if you can.
- Download the free NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app.
- Get tested for COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms. You may need to pay for a ‘fit-to-fly’ test and discounts are available. Otherwise, please take a free Lateral Flow Test (LFT) before you leave and before you return to London. If you cannot order LFT kits for delivery due to high demand, you can take a test at the Student Centre, where you can also collect kits to take home.
- Check the UK Government’s safer travel guidance.
Keeping safe on campus
Campus remains open and you can still access facilities and services, including UCL Libraries and Support & Wellbeing.
- You must not come to campus if you are unwell or have been asked to self-isolate.
- Face coverings are mandatory while indoors on campus, unless you are exempt.
- If you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested at least twice a week with a free Lateral Flow Test (LFT), and before mixing with people in crowded indoor places. If you cannot order LFT kits for delivery due to high demand, you can take a test at the Student Centre, where you can also collect kits to take home.
- If you do have symptoms or you have received a positive LFT result, you should self-isolate immediately and get tested with a free Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.
- Please report your test results, whether positive or negative, to the NHS and UCL Connect to Protect.
Find out more about the measures UCL has put in place and what you can do to help keep everyone safe on campus.