Returning to University in January 2021

Updated 15 January 2021

In response to the rise in covid-19 cases across the UK over the Christmas holidays, the government has changed its guidance on the phased return of students for the Spring term.

Except for a small number of courses (which at Leeds means Clinical and Social Work programmes and exceptions listed below), teaching will be online and students should not return to university until further notice – this will be mid-February at the earliest.  In addition, regardless of when they return, all students must be tested for COVID – and found negative – before they can interact with others or use facilities on campus.

Specific groups of students who need to access the campus are excluded from the general guidance and these are set out below. Please check the information below and our FAQs to see how you are affected by the changes.

Before returning to University

For those of you who will be travelling back to Leeds please remember to follow local tier guidance on social contact. If available, please use a local community testing programme before you travel to Leeds.  Please note that a subsequent negative test will  still be required after you return to Leeds prior to coming onto campus or interacting with other students face-to-face.

Students can now book asymptomatic (lateral flow) coronavirus testing from 4 January on campus

View our FAQs about testing in January

If you test positive for covid-19 you will be required to self-isolate for 10 days and you will need to assist NHS Test and Trace with contact tracing. Your household will need to follow the appropriate guidance.

Who can come to Leeds for the start of term?

If you live in the Leeds City region or have remained in Leeds during the holidays

If you live in the Leeds City region or stayed in Leeds over the holidays the previous advice was that you could continue to use the facilities on campus which remained open during the vacation.  The revised advice is that you should not use those facilities again until you have tested negative for covid.

If it is better for you to return to Leeds

We understand there may be many reasons why it is better for you to return to Leeds for the start of term and the guidelines still allow for this. If you need access to University facilities to study or if it is better for you to be in Leeds for your health and wellbeing you are welcome to return but you should not use any facilities on campus or interact with other students until you have tested negative for covid.

If you are arriving from outside the UK and have already made travel plans

If you are travelling from outside the UK and are not able to change your travel arrangements easily, you may return to Leeds. We will welcome you and support you but you should not use any facilities on campus or interact with other students until you have fulfilled your quarantine requirements and tested negative for covid.

If you have not made travel plans yet, you should wait for further information before doing so. We will support you to study online until you are advised to come to Leeds.

If you need further advice about planning international travel or returning to Leeds, please see the travel FAQS or contact internationalwelcome@leeds.ac.uk

If you are a Clinical or Social Work student

You should return to campus or to your placement at the start of term but you should not use any facilities on campus or interact with others (on your placement or with other students) until you have tested negative for covid.

If you are a student with practical assessments or activities essential for professional qualifications

You may return to campus anytime from the start of term if you have practical assessments or activities which need to be completed for a professional qualification and which cannot be rescheduled.  You should be tested negative for covid before interacting with other students or using any facilities on campus. Your school will let you know if there are any changes to arrangements for these activities.

If you are Postgraduate Researcher

You should continue your research from home where possible. However, where these are available and are also essential for your research, you may use facilities on campus (including covid-secure laboratories) once you have tested negative for covid.

All other students

If the descriptions above do not apply to you, you should follow the Government guidance and remain at your vacation address until advised to return to University.

You should take your Semester 1 assessments online and continue to wait for further information before planning your return to campus.

Teaching will continue to be delivered online until more detail is known about how the Government intends to phase the return of all students.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Frequently asked questions about returning to Leeds

I stayed in Leeds over the holidays or need to be in Leeds for my studies or personal wellbeing

We understand there may be many reasons why it is better for you to return to Leeds for the start of term. The new guidelines still provide for this. You can access University facilities to take or prepare for assessments, to study or just to be here because it is better for your health or wellbeing  any time from 4th January.   However, you must take a covid test and receive a negative result before you can continue to use any facilities on campus such as libraries.

I’ve been away from Leeds for the winter break. When should I come back to University?

  • Clinical and social work students, and students with placements in a Covid-secure environment may return from 4th January. They should take a negative covid test before returning to their placements or using any facilities on campus.
  • Students with practical assessments or activities related to professional qualifications which have to be carried out on campus may return to Leeds
  • All other students should wait for further information before returning to Leeds.

I have assessments in the first two weeks of term. Should I come back to campus?

  • Unless you have a practical examination which is related to a professional qualification, you do not need to come to campus.
  • All other assessments and all teaching will be provided online until further notice

What is happening with January coursework deadlines?

We will not be imposing penalties for late submission, of up to one week, on all coursework with a deadline between Friday 8 January and Friday 22 January. If you submit your work within seven days of the original coursework deadline you will not need to apply for this extension.

This applies to coursework already set and does not apply to timed assessments that are scheduled for the examination period. The usual mechanisms for applying for extensions, or other adjustments, for mitigating circumstances will remain open to all students. You are encouraged to use these channels and we will continue to consider all such requests sympathetically.

Coursework is a piece of work or activity completed outside of formal timetabled sessions. This may include essays, projects, reports and online assessment. An Online Time-Limited Assessment is a timetabled activity with a duration of 48 hours or less that must be completed within the prescribed timeframe.  Extensions do not apply to this type of assessment. 

For further definitions of assessment types, please refer to your school or faculty’s Code of Practice on Assessment.  

The extension applies to all taught programmes. Postgraduate researchers should discuss their personal circumstances with their supervisor and any adjustment to deadlines will need to be agreed on an individual basis. 

I have been unwell and not been able to complete my assessments to the best of my ability. What can I do?

You should follow our usual mitigating circumstances process if your personal circumstances have impacted your assessments.   

I have face to face teaching scheduled at the start of term. Will that take place?

  • Apart from clinical programmes, all teaching will be delivered online until more detail is known about how the Government intends to phase the return of all students.
  • All taught students should remain at their vacation addresses until advised to return.
  • As and when they return, students will all need to have taken a covid test and received a negative result before they may attend face to face teaching or use any facilities on campus. Where possible, this should be taken before travelling to Leeds. Testing will also be available on campus.

I live in Leeds permanently and commute to campus. Does the new guidance apply to me?

Yes the guidance applies to all students apart from the exceptions listed.  This means that you should not come to campus until you receive notification that is OK to so do. You will then need to be tested negative for covid before interacting with other students or accessing facilities on campus.

What if I can’t come back to campus when I am asked to return?

Once you are notified about your return date, if you are unable to return to Leeds to continue your studies you must notify your school using the Late Arrival Notification form

I’m coming back to Leeds from within the UK. What is the advice?

Unless you are a clinical or social work student, are on placement, or you have a practical assessment related to a professional qualification, you should not return to campus at this time.  After 18th January you will  receive more information about your expected return date and about when face to face teaching can start again.

Up until then, your Semester 1 assessments and teaching activities will be delivered online.

Travelling back to Leeds

Once you know your expected return date you should take a covid test and achieve a negative result before you travel. To minimise the risk of transmission to others when you travel, you should preferably use private transport wherever possible and only use public transport if you have no other option.

When using a private vehicle:

  • avoid car sharing with anyone outside your household or support bubble
  • rigorously follow the safer travel guidance for passengers to reduce the risk of transmission to others where this is not possible

If you need to use public transport:

However you travel, make sure you:

  • wear a face covering unless exempt
  • Keep your distance from people from other households when you travel, where possible
  • Wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  • avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • download the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible and check in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters

I will be arriving in or returning to Leeds from outside the UK. What is the advice about self-isolation and testing?

Before you travel you must find out if you need to self-isolate on arrival and make sure you understand the UK government rules on how to self-isolate. You’ll need to self-isolate unless you are travelling from one of the countries on the UK Government’s list of travel corridors.

From 4am on Monday 18 January you are required to present a negative COVID-19 test before arriving in the UK

Keep checking the UK government guidance on travel, self-isolation and testing, as it is changing regularly.

You’ll still need to self-isolate if required by UK government guidance, even if you’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine abroad.

If you are not required to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, you are advised to book in advance two lateral flow tests, three days apart, and you should limit interaction with other students until you receive the second negative test.

If you are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in the UK you do not need to take a lateral flow test to access campus facilities once you have finished your period of self-isolation. You are encouraged to take a weekly test.

You can also find information about the UK government’s new Test to Release scheme, where you may choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test in order to reduce your period of self-isolation after international travel. If you choose to take part in the Test to Release scheme, follow the UK government guidance to book a test with an approved test provider. Testing facilities provided by the University cannot be used for the Test to Release requirements.

Support is available for students who are self-isolating on arrival and at other times.

I’m a postgraduate researcher – how does this affect me?

New and existing postgraduate research students will be welcome to arrive or return at any point.  If you can conduct your research from home, you should do this. If you need to, you may use any COVID-safe facilities on campus such as laboratories to conduct your research.

I’m an international student and I’ve already booked travel to come back to Leeds. What should I do?

If you have already made your travel plans and cannot change them or it is expensive to do so, please do not worry. You can travel to Leeds as planned, but please make sure you let us know when you plan to arrive on our international arrival form so that we can support your travel and arrival.

If you need further advice about planning international travel or returning to Leeds, please email internationalwelcome@leeds.ac.uk or see the FAQs for new international arrivals

I’m an international student – how will any period of remote study affect my visa?

Visa concessions allow for learning to be provided online during the 2020/21 academic year. You can find more information about visas and remote study on our website for students.

Additionally, we would like to inform you that the UK government has recently announced that students who commence a one-year Masters programme in January 2021 will also remain eligible for the Graduate route, even if they are studying remotely, provided they enter the UK before 27 September 2021. Please note that your School may require you to arrive in Leeds before this date depending on the course.

Teaching and assessments

Will teaching be face-to-face in January?

Our current approach to teaching and learning will continue as soon as students can return to campus. Until then all teaching will be delivered online.

Where it is safe, practicable, and educationally advantageous or necessary, we will deliver face to face teaching. However, in instances where those criteria cannot be met, we will continue to recommend that teaching is delivered online. We expect you to join us in Leeds next term, as soon as it is permitted, but if for any reason you are unable to do so, you will be able to study remotely and will receive support and a high-quality online education from us, to the best of our ability.