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Support and services for students during the winter break

7 December 2020

Support and facilities available to students throughout the UCL closure period, from 5.30pm on Friday 18 December 2020 to 9am on Monday 4 January 2021.

Christmas tree in Front Square

Every year, many of our students remain in London for the winter break and continue to come to campus to study. In addition, some will be travelling to London during the winter break, after studying remotely for Term One.

We have now published information about the support and facilities available to students throughout the UCL closure period, from 5.30pm on Friday 18 December 2020 to 9am on Monday 4 January 2021.

Services and support on offer are summarised below. For full details, see the student guidance on Winter break 2020 - support and services.

Add this template to your email out of office, which outlines all support available for students. 

askUCL

Staff in the Student Enquiries Centre team will continue to respond to enquiries submitted through askUCL at a reduced capacity during the winter break.

The team will also be continuing their phone service until the final week of Term 1, at reduced hours. Visit the Student Enquiries Centre webpages for more information.  

Mental health and wellbeing support

In addition to external services (e.g. the Samaritans in the UK, or the Befrienders Worldwide network), the following UCL mental health and wellbeing support will be available to students:

Phone and online counselling

Care First counsellors are able to provide telephone and online counselling support on any issue, no matter how big or small, from things happening at home to university life. Professionally qualified and accredited counsellors are available 24 hours a day during the winter break, when other UCL mental health services may be closed.

Students overseas have access to this form of support through the Global Student Assistance Programme at any time.

Same-day appointments

The final Student Support and Wellbeing same-day appointment session will take place on Friday 11 December. Same-day appointments will resume on Monday 4 January 2021 – students can book an appointment through askUCL.

Longer pre-booked appointments will remain available in the final week of term and can be booked in advance through askUCL.

Students can still contact the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team in Student Support and Wellbeing over the phone during working hours up to Friday 18 December.

SilverCloud online CBT platform

SilverCloud is an online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) platform that offers online interactive tools, activities and videos on positive body image, depression, anxiety and stress to support to UCL students.

CBT helps students to identify and challenge negative thought and behavioural patterns that impact how you are feeling so that you can make changes for the better.

Student Space

The Student Space, run by Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity continues to provide access to dedicated support services for students, by phone or text, and information and tools to help them through the challenges of coronavirus.

Students' Union UCL activities

Students’ Union UCL have set up a UCL Winter Break 2020-21 Facebook group to help student staying on campus stay in touch with each other, and find activities to do during this time within coronavirus safety regulations.

Throughout the winter break, the Students’ Union and its clubs and societies will be hosting lots of events to get students into the festive mood. With movie nights, quizzes, exercise classes, crafting sessions, and lots more – there’s something fun to do every day. 

Each day throughout the break, a different winter wonder will be revealed on the Students’ Union website.

Visit the Students’ Union Winter Break homepage and see all the events happening over the break.

Supporting your personal tutees 

Ahead of the closure period you might send an email to your tutees to: 

Resources to support you in your personal tutoring role can be found on the UCL Teaching and Learning Portal, including the PT@UCL eXtend course and Personal Tutors Microsoft Team community (Personal Tutors @UCL).

Facilities and support on campus

UCL halls

Students staying in UCL halls over Christmas will have access to the same support as usual from the team of Wardens and Student Residence Advisers (SRAs) and a member of staff on duty every day.

Further information on the winter break provision for our students in halls can be found on the UCL Accommodation website.

Library services

The Student Centre will remain open 24 hours a day throughout the winter break, and Ramsay Hall and 1-19 Torrington Place will also be open but with reduced hours. Please see the Library Services website for detailed opening times and to book study spaces in advance. 

The rest of our libraries will close at 5pm on Friday 18 December and re-open at 9am on Monday 4 January 2021.

Security

Security officers will continue to be present on campus 24 hours a day throughout the Christmas period.

Please note that during the closure period, access to campus may only be granted on production of a UCL ID card.

Find out more about UCL Security.

Bloomsbury Fitness Christmas opening hours

Bloomsbury Fitness is usually closed over the holiday period, we understand how important attending the gym is for your physical and mental wellbeing, please see our new Christmas opening hours below

19 - 23 December 09:00-17:00

24 December 09:00-13:00

25 - 27 December CLOSED

28 - 3 January 09:00-17:00

Travel, testing and immigration

Travelling home for the winter break

As part of the UK government’s national coronavirus testing programme, UCL are offering asymptomatic students Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) in early December free of charge.

Read more about the testing programme and book.

Students travelling abroad over the winter break are advised to Read further travel advice.

Returning to campus after the winter break

Last week the Government released new guidance about how to support students returning to campus after the winter break. We are working at speed with your departments and will share our plans for the start of Term Two early next week, from 14 December.

Immigration and visa advice - EU/EEA/Swiss students

The UK has now left the European Union. EU/EEA/Swiss students have been advised that the end of free movement on 11pm on 31 December 2020 could mean they need a visa to continue to study at UCL. 

If they are already living in the UK or arrive in the UK by 11pm on 31 December 2020, EU/EEA/Swiss students will be eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Full information about the Settlement Scheme can be found on the Students website.  

Health care

Connect to Protect

Students should continue to report their status through UCL Connect to Protect to let us know if you think you may have coronavirus, you have tested positive for the virus, you are waiting for the results of a coronavirus test, or you need to self-isolate.

Ridgmount Practice and GP support

The Ridgmount Practice, UCL's partner GP surgery, will remain open during the winter break, except on the Christmas and New Year bank holidays.

Student should check operating hours with their local GP surgery and call before attending in person to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Other support and services

Study abroad

Students currently studying abroad requiring emergency assistance should contact their travel insurance provider on the emergency number +44 (0)1273 400 850. 

The Global Student Assistance Programme is also on hand to provide support and guidance for students staying in their placement over all or part of Christmas.

Money matters

For information regarding financial support, visit the UCL Fees and Funding website. Christmas can be an expensive time of year. For advice on how to save, read our 5 tips on how to save money over the festive period.

Faith services

Members of the Christian faith can find information on places of worship over the Christmas period from the UCL Chaplain and Interfaith Adviser.