Coronavirus (Covid-19) FAQs and advice for incoming tenants

This page has been set up to provide information for incoming Graduate Accommodation tenants with questions or concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19). It will be updated on a regular basis. For more general information, please see the University’s student coronavirus advice page – and other useful online resources – on the right-hand links under advice and support.

Please keep yourselves and your neighbours safe by continuing to adhere to the latest government advice on social contact. This includes wearing a face covering on public transport and, from 24 July, in shops.

We hope the following FAQs will be helpful, but if you have any further queries or concerns that are not answered here, please contact the Graduate Accommodation team at graduate.accommodation@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Arriving from abroad?

We have produced a separate guide for students arriving from outside the UK and who may need to self-isolate.

DOWNLOAD GUIDANCE FOR THOSE NEEDING TO SELF-ISOLATE ON ENTRY TO THE UK

Your Accommodation

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In advance of your tenancy start date, the Graduate Accommodation Office will email you to ask when you are hoping to collect your keys to move in. To ensure that student arrivals are staggered, we will then book an arrival time slot with you. Please provide at least five days’ notice of your preferred arrival date to give us time to schedule a suitable slot.

In most cases, we will be able to give you access to a key safe so that you will have contactless check-in to your accommodation. 

We will be sending your tenancy agreement using the E-Sign system – look out for an email from our office about this. You will be able to review the document and ask any questions you may have before signing online.

Our office will be carrying out meter readings and inventory checks just before you arrive.  We will leave the paperwork in your accommodation for you to check and sign and then return to a drop box on site or other suitable location.

Site Assistants will only be on site for limited periods to carry out essential tasks such as fire alarm testing and flushing water systems. They will continue to work from home when not on site and are still available on the phone or via email to answer your questions. Please do not visit their offices, which are closed.

You and the other residents you share a kitchen and/or bathroom with form your social bubble or household according to government guidelines, so close interaction is permitted within your accommodation. When you are outside, meeting people from other households, social distancing guidelines apply.

All students will receive the latest guidance as part of the arrivals process. Any students who are displaying symptoms of Coronavirus will be advised not to travel to move in.

Students coming from outside of the permitted travel corridors are being advised how to self-isolate safely, and what to do if they go on to develop symptoms. 

You can only have visitors if you live in a self-contained flat.  If you live in shared accommodation you are effectively a member of one household so in the interest of fairness to all tenants in the household we are not allowing visitors currently – under government guidance the rules are complex and would place greater restrictions on some household members than others.

Cleaning of communal areas is continuing during the pandemic as normal unless you or a tenant you share facilities with is symptomatic and has to self-isolate.  If this happens, our contractors won’t be able to provide a cleaning service for communal areas, in accordance with advice from Public Health England. However, we will deliver and replenish packs of cleaning materials to each person who is self-isolating and a pack for use by other tenants who are sharing facilities with them.

We are providing a maintenance service but are prioritising essential and emergency repairs. If you or a tenant you share facilities with has to self-isolate neither our staff nor our contractors will be able to enter your accommodation to carry out maintenance work, in accordance with advice from Public Health England.  For this reason, we encourage all our tenants to take extra care to reduce the likelihood of maintenance problems, for example by:

  • avoiding plugging in any equipment that might cause the electrics to trip – please see page 19 of your tenant handbook for advice
  • keeping plugs clear of hair to avoid blockages
  • scraping plates before washing up and not pouring any food, oils or fats down the sink

Emergency repairs – where there is a serious danger to property or persons, for example, major leaks or flooding, insecure windows or doors, being locked out or a complete loss of electrical supply.

Urgent repairs – a loss of heating or hot water, leaking pipework or wastewater blockages to sinks and drains.

In these circumstances, we aim to attend and make safe within 24 hours at the latest.  Any follow up repairs will be scheduled when staffing levels allow.
To report a fault needing an emergency or urgent response please email us at tenant.helpdesk@admin.ox.ac.uk and provide as much information as you can, including the location of the problem and whether you or a neighbour will be present to allow access if your Site Assistant is not available.  It would also be very helpful if you could send a photo to show the fault, both in close-up and at a distance.

All other routine maintenance repairs will be logged and we will let you know when the repair can be carried out.

Be assured that all contractors visiting your accommodation will use sanitising gel and wipes and will either clean their hands before entering your home or wear disposable gloves. They will also ask you to remain in another room or at least two metres away from their work area to minimise contact.

We realise that these changes will cause inconvenience but do ask for your patience and your help to make sure we can keep all our tenants and contractors safe.
 

Unfortunately, we are not able to make pool bikes available at present, in the interests of keeping our tenants safe during the pandemic.

You can still use communal laundry facilities but please take care to social distance (at least one meter, preferably two metres) when using the space.  Take note of the guidance signs on display, remember to wash your hands before and after using the facilities, and make sure not to touch other peoples’ belongings, even if this is stopping you from using the equipment.

What to do if you are unwell – or you or someone you share with needs to self-isolate

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If you have any of the following symptoms you should self-isolate – that means stay at home for ten days:

  • A high temperature and/or
  • A new and continuous cough
  • Loss of sense of taste and/or smell

Staying at home means not leaving your flat, for any reason, other than a medical emergency or a real fire alarm (not a scheduled fire alarm test).

It is important that you inform the Graduate Accommodation Office that you are self-isolating by emailing graduate.accommodation@admin.ox.ac.uk.

You should request a coronavirus test through the NHS website but you must do this within 5 days of getting any symptoms. If you test positive you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace service to provide details about your recent close contacts.

If you are feeling significantly worse or you still have a high temperature after seven days, you should contact, NHS 111 online.  If you have no internet access, you should call the NHS (National Health Service) by dialling 111.

If you share facilities with other tenants, first please tell everyone you share with straight away because they will also have to self-isolate for 14 days in accordance with government advice.
Then please let the Graduate Accommodation Office know. You should also advise your college, which is your primary contact for your welfare.
 

If your flatmate is self-isolating as they are displaying coronavirus symptoms, you and all other residents of the flat should stay at home for fourteen days from the time your flatmate first showed symptoms.

You can find more detailed guidance for households with possible or confirmed infections on the UK government’s website, covering things like using communal areas, laundry facilities, rubbish disposal and receiving deliveries

If your flatmate is self-isolating as they have recently travelled to the UK from abroad, then you do not have to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms.  

Current guidance from the UK government is that you should also stay at home (self-isolate) for fourteen days to prevent spreading the disease further. Because of this, we can’t provide alternative accommodation.

Please ring your GP or pharmacist to ask for advice and arrange a delivery. We can ensure this gets to your accommodation. If you don’t have a GP, please ring 111.

All deliveries and parcels must be sent direct to you at your accommodation.  This is the normal procedure at most of our sites but applies to all sites during the pandemic.

If you or anyone in your house is self-isolating and you have a maintenance emergency, please email us tenant.helpdesk@admin.ox.ac.uk, clearly stating your situation as well as details of the fault as in the FAQ above.  Please also provide a phone contact number so that we can call you to talk through how we can best help you – depending on the nature of the problem, it may not be possible to send a maintenance operative.

Published 30.07.2020

Latest government advice


VIEW LATEST COVID-19 ADVICE

 

Contact us


For general enquiries contact us at graduate.accommodation@admin.ox.ac.uk.

To report a fault needing an emergency or urgent response tenant.helpdesk@admin.ox.ac.uk