Coronavirus

Information for students

Student life at Queen Mary through the Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on almost every aspect of society this year, and universities are no exception. Throughout all of the challenges, Queen Mary’s top priority has been to make sure that our students have a safe, high-quality learning experience. To fulfil this commitment, we’ve made sure that our campus environments, learning spaces and facilities are as Covid-secure as possible, and have developed an innovative mixed-mode model to allow students to continue their education, whatever restrictions they face.

Student life at Queen Mary in September

Our plans for your educational offer in the new semester are unchanged. There will be a mix of on-campus and online education, and you should be ready to join us for the start of the new semester where there will be the full range of facilities and activities available on campus.

For overseas students there is specific guidance about returning or coming to the UK from the government that we have shared, including on quarantining and related costs.

Impact of possible future changes in Government guidance

It is of course possible that case numbers may rise either locally or across the UK to an extent that we are required by local or national government to reintroduce restrictions. We have a comprehensive plan in place and can at any point increase any of the controls above should the need arise. We could, for example, change our policy on face coverings, or reintroduce social distancing.

If we had to implement a change in social distancing policy, due to government instructions, it may lead to a temporary change in your timetable, and to the balance of on-campus and online education. If this happens, we will communicate the changes to you as quickly as we can. In an extreme scenario where the Government chooses to impose another lockdown, we can of course temporarily switch to purely online education. We can implement these plans quickly, should the need arise. Hopefully however none of these measures will be needed! 

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 at Queen Mary

Despite these efforts, the threat of Covid-19 remains very real, and there are inevitably cases among our community of staff and students. Up-to-date information about the number of active, confirmed cases among all of Queen Mary’s UK-based staff and students is published daily.

Current Coronavirus guidance and precautions

From 19 July, our guidance for all staff and students has been updated in line with the lifting of all legal restrictions, but everyone should remain cautious and vigilant.

  • If you’re joining us on campus, take a rapid Covid-19 test at home before you travel.
  • Take two rapid tests on site or at home when you get here, and keep testing regularly – either onsite at our testing centres or using a home kit that you can pick up from the onsite centres. Report all your results online.
  • It is really important that everyone gets fully vaccinated to protect themselves and others. You don’t have to get your second vaccine in the same place you got your first.
  • There is a vaccination centre on our Mile End campus in the Temporary Building in Geography Square. You can book an appointment and receive the vaccination from 11.00-18.00 Monday to Saturday.
  • If you have any signs or symptoms that could potentially be Covid-19, please follow Government advice on booking a test and self-care. You should also notify the University by emailing staffhealth@qmul.ac.uk (for staff) or studenthealth@qmul.ac.uk (for students).
  • Currently, we are encouraging the wearing of face coverings while moving around campus and in buildings where it is crowded. Our policy on face coverings will be reviewed weekly.
  • Our buildings and rooms have good ventilation, and there will continue to be a high standard of cleaning across campus.

Our first concern is the safety and welfare of our communities. We will continue to support our students, on and off our campuses, and are reaching out to our applicants, to reassure them about the new semester. Since government-mandated social distancing is ending, we will timetable for the new semester with full capacity. 

Our response to the pandemic and the easing of restrictions is flexible and we will monitor and adjust our measures to respond to any local outbreaks or change in the national advice. There is guidance online and we are here to help if anyone feels anxious about the weeks ahead.  

 

Other important information

Ensuring fair assessment

QMSU Executive Officers have been working hard with the Deans for Education, Vice-Principal (Education) and other Queen Mary staff on the detail of the Covid Mitigation measures in relation to assessment for this academic year and during the remainder of the pandemic. In all our discussions, students’ wellbeing and fair assessment have been central to our approach.

We have now set out some of the details about the currently agreed mitigation measures. This builds on the core aspects of our approach, which are:

  • streamlining our Extenuating Circumstances Policy,
  • extending deadlines where necessary, and
  • asking our examination boards to analyse patterns of students’ performance based on student cohorts pre-Covid and make reasonable adjustments where appropriate.

These measures seek to mitigate against the overall negative effects the pandemic has had on students this year, alongside individual students’ challenges. We will continue to monitor the situation and if required and appropriate adapt in response to local and national circumstances to ensure assessments remain fair and robust during the pandemic.

Your School or Institute may already have been in touch regarding the implementation of these measures locally. If you have any questions, do in the first instance discuss them with your Advisor. Any other questions should be directed to your Programme Director, Student Support Officer or Director of Education. Alternatively, you can contact the Student Enquiry Centre.

Arrivals from Red List countries

The UK Government is operating a traffic light system for arrivals into the UK, with different conditions applied to passengers arriving from Green, Amber and Red listed countries. Passengers arriving from Red list countries are required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days. This period of quarantine has a fixed cost of £1,750 for individuals who arrive before the 12 August. Arrivals from 12 August will be charged a higher fee of £2,285. Should two travellers from red list countries wish to share a hotel room the second adult will be charged £1,430 from 12 August. The fee includes 10 full days of quarantine, meals and two PCR tests that individuals self-administer on days 2 and 8 of their quarantine.

To help our students joining us from Red list countries, Queen Mary will share the cost of quarantine. For most students we will do this by deducting 50% of the cost of the quarantine from these students’ tuition fees upon their enrolment. Students who have already completed their full tuition fee payment to Queen Mary will be issued with a refund covering the 50% of the fee they were charged for their quarantine period.

  • Queen Mary will cover 50% of the fee for the ten day quarantine.
    • Where students are sharing a quarantine hotel room and their individual fee is reduced, Queen Mary will cover 50% of the students shared contribution towards that cost. For example, from 12 August two Queen Mary students sharing a room in a Managed Quarantine Hotel will be charged £3,714. Queen Mary will refund each student 50% of their contribution which will be £928.
  • For new students in 2021 and those who are returning to Queen Mary to continue their studies the 50% will be credited against any outstanding tuition fee balance you have left to pay. Therefore if you have paid 50% of your fee in September, your remaining balance will be 50% minus the credited amount from your Red List Refund.
  • For 2021/22 entrants/returning students who pay their tuition fees in full, the university will issue a refund covering the 50% during the autumn semester.
    • Please note refunds may take longer to process in peak periods of September and October.
  • Where a student is in their final year of study with Queen Mary, i.e. a 2020/21 Masters student, and has entered the UK since 21 June 2021, a refund covering the 50% will be issued by the Fees Office.
  • Where students are sponsored to study at Queen Mary, the expectation is that the sponsor will cover the cost of quarantine for their students. However, where this is not the case, Queen Mary may cover these costs on a case by case basis. Sponsored students with questions about this should contact globalengagement@qmul.ac.uk
  • The Global Engagement Office (GEO) will process the claims and be the primary point of contact via globalengagement@qmul.ac.uk.

Process

  • Students who are required to quarantine on arrival in the UK need to submit a ‘Red List refund’ claim through the Global Engagement Office via globalengagement@qmul.ac.uk.
  • Students will need to download the Red List refund claim form [DOC 19KB], complete it on a computer and send it to globalengagement@qmul.ac.uk.
  • Students will be asked to provide evidence of their hotel booking, photo ID (passport) and arrival in the UK (stamp in passport).
  • Refunds and credits to students accounts are normally processed within 20 working days, however, this may be longer during September and early October.
  • Students who are being refunded should submit their refund request via MySIS.
  • Students who are being credited to their account should still pay 50% upfront and the university will apply the credit against the remaining balance.

Arrivals from Amber List countries

Students arriving from Amber list countries and living in Queen Mary residences will be provided with support packages, such as food parcels and other essentials, for the duration of their self-isolation period.

PCR testing for new and returning Queen Mary students

Students who travel to the UK from an Amber list country are required to take a PCR test once they have arrived, on days 2 and 8.

Arrivals do not have to take the day 8 test if they are fully vaccinated under either:

  • the UK vaccination programme
  • the UK vaccine programme overseas
  • an approved vaccination programme in Europe or the USA

Further details can be found here.

There are a number of companies who can provide the PCR tests for travellers, all of whom can be found on the gov.uk website. The cost of the PCR tests differs depending on which company you use.

Queen Mary has been in contact with one such company, Future Health Biobank, who can provide our new and returning international students with their PCR testing kits at a reasonable cost.

  • Day 2 is priced at £55
  • Day 2 and 8 are priced at £99 in total

Students wishing to use Future Health Biobank can book their PCR testing kits here.

Once a booking is made, students will receive confirmation and their passenger locator code but if they have any issues, they can contact Oncologica, Future Health Biobank’s partner in processing the tests, on the below details:

Incoming students may also wish to take part in the Day 5 Test to Release scheme, details of which can be found here.

PCR testing FAQs

No, Queen Mary are presenting Future Health Biobank as an option for students amongst a number that are available. Students are free to opt for another provider from the gov.uk website.

Test kits will be dispatched to students based on their arrival date in the UK. Tests will be sent to the address supplied on the form when the booking is made.

Yes, the testing kit comes with pre-paid envelopes for returning the tests.

You are required to post your samples back through a priority post box to make sure they arrive on time. There are several priority post boxes around the Queen Mary campuses and off-campus residences. Locations can be found here.

Yes, you are allowed to leave your accommodation for the purpose of posting your tests back to Future Health Biobank. Students should return to their accommodation after posting the tests.

Results are usually sent back to students within 24 hours of being received at the laboratory.

International Student vaccinations

NHS England has announced that International Students will be eligible for a vaccine once they have arrived in England. Students who have received their first dose before travelling to the UK can receive their second dose once they have arrived. You can find out more on our Student Health pages via the button below. We will also be holding a webinar about this in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on your inbox for your invitation to join.

Self isolation

For those living in Queen Mary accommodation please get in touch with the Residential Support team at: residential-support@qmul.ac.uk or at: +44 (0)20 7882 6470 and they will be able to help you.

If you live in private accommodation and you need help with food and other essential shopping or you need someone to collect your medication, please register with the NHS Volunteer Respondents at 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week). The services they provide might change at short notice depending on government guidance in response to the pandemic.

If you are an international student and you do not have a UK bank account or a UK issued credit card, please ensure you have enough cash to pay for food shopping and other essentials that you might need while in self isolation. The NHS Volunteer Respondents can handle a limited amount of cash. You can also register with the Student Health Service online and arrange an e-consultation with a doctor or order a prescription.

The Student Space is a new service launched by Student Minds (the UK's Student Mental Health charity) providing emotional support and guidance to students during the pandemic. You can get in touch with them by phone, text or webchat.