Looking After Yourself and Those Around You

"Collectively, as a campus community, we need to uphold our own personal responsibility when it comes to keeping everyone safe." President Kate Roberts shares some advice to help you have a safe and fun first few weeks at university.

Now the majority of students have arrived on campus for the start of the academic year, we wanted to share some advice to help you have a safe and fun first few weeks at university.

Starting university in a global pandemic was not on anyone’s radar at the start of 2020, but both the University and Students’ Union have planned a socially distanced and fun set of activities for the first few weeks to give you a fantastic start to your student experience. Collectively, as a campus community, we need to uphold our own personal responsibility when it comes to keeping everyone safe.

Respecting other people’s space

Fresher’s Festival can be overwhelming at the best of times and this year it is more important than ever to be aware of the comfort and requests of those around you. If you have recently moved into your halls or accommodation, meeting housemates from across the country (and internationally), it would be best to try and keep your social distance for seven to 14 days. This is to ensure any potential infection you have has cleared its way out of you and will prevent you from spreading anything to your new housemates. Different people will be coming to university with different expectations and different comfort zones regarding their intention to drink and socialise. This also relates to their comfort zones when it comes to cleanliness and interaction. Some students will be more cautious than others, for a range of different reasons. We ask that you respect other people’s boundaries and allow them to settle into university in a way that provides comfort for them.

To mask or not to mask

You can find the University’s guidance on wearing a mask around campus here. It is best to follow the guidelines of; if you are standing up, wear a mask – if you are sitting down, you probably don’t need to. You will be provided with two reusable face masks when you get to campus, make sure you don’t lose these! You will be required to wear a mask by law in certain places, such as the Union Shop and public transport. If you are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons, you can pick up a sunflower lanyard from Disability and Dyslexia Services (DDS).

Playing Your Part

We are supporting the University's Playing Your Part campaign:

Hands: Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitiser.

Face: We strongly encourage wearing a face covering where appropriate to do so.

Space: Maintain social distancing by staying two metres apart wherever possible.

Household: Your flat, corridor or house is your household. Government guidelines on households apply.

Symptoms: If you have symptoms of Covid-19, you and your household must self-isolate and get tested.

Test: Book a test here. If you test positive, share your contacts via NHS Test and Trace.

Looking after your mates

Starting at University is often when people explore different interests and let loose a bit; we know that after lockdown many of you are keen to enjoy your new-found freedom. However, due to the pandemic, you need to be sensible and responsible when it comes to socialising to ensure the long-term safety of the whole community. Make sure you don’t take any of your socialising too hard and you always know how you plan on getting home. Look out for your mates and help others feel safe and secure.

Out and about

It will also be really important to think about your safety when travelling around the local community. Popping down to the shops in Egham can be a great way to bond as a household when you first move in, but you must remember to observe the rule of six and wear masks where needed. Don’t assume that because you are off-campus, that the same considerations don’t apply! We are all in this together and should support the safety of the local community at this difficult time.

A message to take away

All members of the University community have an individual and community responsibility to minimise the risk to themselves and others. The University’s Code of Conduct can be found here.

You should keep updated with local and national government guidance in relation to social distancing, social gatherings, quarantine and self-isolation.

We hope that you enjoy Fresher’s Festival in a safe and responsible way, following the University’s guidance and the guidance for our Students’ Union events.