Coronavirus: Frequently asked questions

Last updated: 18 January 2022.

Get the latest information and advice for current students on coronavirus and your studies at the University.

Find out more about:

The University is acting on the latest advice from Universities UKPublic Health EnglandUKCISA and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

COVID-19 safety, testing and vaccination

What safety measures are in place on campus and for in-person exams?

In line with government guidance, it's mandatory to wear a face covering indoors, unless you have a medical exemption – and this includes for in-person exams. You can pick up a face covering for free from building entrances around campus.

You should take a COVID lateral flow test each day before coming to campus to sit exams. If you test positive, you must isolate and let your School support contact know. If you can't sit an exam or your performance is affected by COVID (or another issue), you can make a mitigating circumstances request – our Schools have plans in place to support you.

We also recommend all staff and students get vaccinated, including boosters. Find out more about vaccination and testing.

How can I register with a GP (doctor)?

GP (General Practitioner) is what we call local or family doctors in the UK. You can register as soon as you know your Manchester address, to get access to a range of medical services.

Find out how to register with a GP.

When should I self-isolate?

If you’re living or studying on campus and you get COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for the virus, you must follow the instructions on our COVID-19 student safety page and isolate immediately. The page includes guidance for notifying the University.

Support is available if you are self-isolating – for further information, see our self-isolation guidance for students.

Do I need to have the COVID-19 vaccine before I come back to campus?

No, you don't have to be vaccinated to return to campus.

However, we strongly encourage all students (if possible) to have one or both doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine before returning to Manchester, or as soon as possible after you return.

How do I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Everyone in the UK aged 16 and over is eligible to receive the vaccine for free – this includes EU and international students.

There are a few different ways to get vaccinated, find out more on our vaccination and testing page.

How can I prove my vaccination status?

You may be asked to show your COVID-19 vaccination status at some places in England as a condition of entry to a venue or events, and when travelling abroad.

Find out more about the NHS COVID-19 Pass and how to get one.

Should I take a COVID-19 test before travelling to and from campus?

Yes – according to government guidance, you should take a test before you travel away from campus for an extended period – for example, to visit home – and then again before you travel back. You can use a home test kit, also known as a lateral flow, to test yourself.

Studying, teaching and assessments

Can I study remotely for the rest of the 2021/22 academic year?

We expect most undergraduate and taught postgraduate students to study on campus in Semester 2. This includes if you were learning remotely in Semester 1 as a pandemic transition. However, we understand a small number of students may find returning to campus especially challenging due to travel restrictions, pre-existing medical conditions, or another reason caused by the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

In these exceptional cases, students on a small number of Humanities programmes will be able to apply for continued remote study (for Semester 2 only). Where this option is available, Schools have been in touch with students to explain how to apply. Find out more on our Faculty of Humanities website.

When do I have to come back to campus?

If you have in-person assessments during the January exam period, you should be prepared to return in time for these. Otherwise you should return for the beginning of Semester 2, which starts on Monday, 7 February 2022. You'll need to arrive in time to complete any required quarantine period before the start of your exams or teaching activities (check out the further information on travel below).

Why do I have to return to campus for Semester 2?

We believe that being on campus is important for you to get the most out of your programme and university experience as a whole. Most of our programmes are designed for ‘blended’ learning on campus. Some also include activities or assessments that must be in-person to qualify for accreditation by the relevant professional bodies.

Returning to campus will also give you in-person access to all our facilities and services – the Library, study spaces, wellbeing support, the Students’ Union, sports and societies.

For more information and answers to any questions you may have, you can read this article.

 

How do I apply to continue studying remotely?

Continued remote study is only available to students on a small number of Humanities programmes. Where this option is available, Schools have been in touch to explain how to apply. Find out more on our Faculty of Humanities website.

What if I can’t return to campus for Semester 2?

Continued remote study is available to students on a small number of Humanities programmes. Find out more on our Faculty of Humanities website.

If your programme is not eligible for remote study but you’re unable to return to campus, there are a few other options – for example, interrupting your studies to return at a later date. To discuss the best next step for you, contact your Faculty:

  • Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health: Contact your Academic Advisor, Programme Director or School Support Office
  • Faculty of Humanities: Email Student Support
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering: Email your department contact.

What support is available for DASS-registered students returning to campus?

If you receive support from our Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) and think this may need to change because you’re moving to on-campus study, please email DASS.

When I return to campus, will all my teaching be in person?

During Semester 1, students on campus learned mostly through in-person activities, lectures and classes – supported by new recorded video content and other online resources. We expect to continue this approach in Semester 2, unless there’s a significant change in UK government COVID-19 guidelines.

What is blended learning at Manchester?

Blended, flexible learning at Manchester provides greater flexibility and choice. We're committed to blended learning as part of our University strategy to create increased student choice and flexible learning by combining face-to-face, online and blended learning.

This is not online teaching, but about augmenting your in-person lectures, seminars, labs, Q&As, discussions, and workshops with high-quality online materials for self-study. The exact mix of learning styles will depend very much on what works for each subject and study year.

Steve Pettifer, Deputy Programme Director for Flexible Learning, has produced a short video explaining more about what blended learning looks like in practice.

We're continuing to shape our flexible learning approach in partnership with our students and our staff.

Are facilities open on campus?

University halls of residence, libraries, study spaces, food outlets, sports facilities and other services on campus are currently open as normal. Some COVID-19 safety guidelines are in place to keep everyone safe – please refer to the first FAQ on this page for further information.

What happens if government guidelines or restrictions change?

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we’ll continue to assess the current situation in relation to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, review any emerging UK government guidance over the coming weeks and be ready to make any changes to our guidelines if necessary. We’ll keep our students and staff updated with any significant changes that may affect them.

Will I get a partial fee refund if I studied remotely in Semester 1 of 2021/22?

No – students will be charged the full published tuition fees whether studying on-campus or remotely. We’re committed to delivering the highest-quality learning and student experience. The current situation has brought forward our development of a blended, flexible learning model and so we’re confident that you'll be able to engage with your studies effectively, no matter the circumstances. See a breakdown of what the tuition fee is spent on.

If you're experiencing financial hardship, you can seek assistance from the University’s Living Cost Support Fund. This offers both small grants and loans, and is open to all University of Manchester students.

How can I make a complaint about my course or student experience?

If you have issues or concerns in relation to your academic experience, you should first contact the Head of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience in your School. They will be happy to discuss and seek to resolve your concerns, in-keeping with the Student Complaints ProcedureIf you remain dissatisfied after those discussions you can submit a formal complaint to your Faculty, as explained in the Basic Guide to Student Complaints.

I’ve submitted a formal complaint – do I still need to pay my fees?

Yes – you must continue to pay your tuition fees by the published due date. Where a tuition fee payment remains outstanding beyond this date, an indicator will be applied to your student record. You will be notified of this via your University email account and asked to contact Credit Control to arrange payment. Until payment or a payment plan has been agreed you will be unable to re-register or graduate.

I am having difficulties accessing online learning, what should I do?

For help with the University network / WiFi: Go to our student IT services page.
For help with online learning (including Blackboard): Go to our student support pages.

Vaccinations, work placements and clinical settings

I have a placement or research in a clinical setting – do I need to have the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that, from spring 2022, all health and social care workers in England must be fully vaccinated if they have face-to-face contact with service users. This is a legal, statutory requirement and will come into effect on Friday, 1 April 2022, subject to Parliamentary approval.

We recently emailed students and staff in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH) to let them know that this will apply to students who have a clinical placement, or who carry out research in an NHS or other Care Quality Commission-regulated setting (with the exception of those exempt according to government guidance). 

If you aren't fully vaccinated (or exempt), you can’t take part in a clinical placement. If a placement is a mandatory part of your course, this means you won’t meet your learning outcomes and complete your course, and you may have to withdraw. We understand that this may be a source of concern and we’ll support you as you explore options and make a decision. Undergraduates should contact their academic advisor to discuss their options. Postgraduate researchers should contact the Doctoral Academy. For more information, please read the guidance on the Medical Schools Council website.

If you’re exempt, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that you can still take part in a clinical placement. Please contact your academic advisor or supervisor and they’ll refer you to Occupational Health to certify your exemption. Read more about exemptions and who this includes on the government website.

If you’re a student who has a placement or carries out research in a clinical setting, we’ll need you to verify your vaccination status – see the relevant question on this page for details. This information will be kept by Occupational Health in accordance with data protection law, and you can read more about how the University collects and uses your personal data in the Student Privacy Notice.

If you have any questions that we’ve not answered above, please email FBMH. You may also find useful information in the Health Education England FAQs for Pre-registration Nursing and Midwifery and Allied Health Profession students.

What does ‘fully vaccinated’ mean?

For most COVID-19 vaccines, you need to receive two doses to be classed as fully vaccinated. You’ll need to receive your first vaccine by Thursday, 3 February 2022 in order to receive your second dose by the Thursday, 31 March 2022 deadline.

Although you don’t currently need a booster vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated, we encourage all staff and students to book a booster.

Which COVID-19 vaccines are recognised in the UK?

According to the government website, the following vaccines are recognised in the UK: Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen, Sinovac-CoronaVac, Sinopharm Beijing and Covaxin. Formulations of these vaccines, such as AstraZeneca Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria and Moderna Takeda, also qualify as approved vaccines.

For most vaccines, you’ll need two doses to be considered fully vaccinated. The Janssen vaccine is a single-dose vaccine.

If you’re travelling into England, you must have had a complete course of one of the recognised vaccines at least 14 days before you arrive. The day you have your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.

Do I need to verify my vaccination status?

Yes – if you have a placement or you work in a clinical environment, you’ll need to verify your vaccination status by Monday, 31 January 2022. If you’re one of the students who needs to be vaccinated for part of your course, you should have received an email from the School of Health Sciences, the School of Medical Sciences or, if you’re a postgraduate researcher, the FBMH Doctoral Academy (this includes PGRs on our Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programme). This email includes further details on the process and a link to the form you need to complete.

This information will be kept by Occupational Health in accordance with data protection law, and they will use this to confirm your status so you can carry out your placements or research. You can read more about how the University collects and uses your personal data in the Student Privacy Notice.

Should I still complete the form if I haven’t had my second vaccine yet?

Yes – please complete the form to verify your status even if you’ve not completed the full course of the vaccine yet. This will allow us to get a clear picture of the vaccination status across our students.

Please complete the form again to update us once you’ve received your second dose of the vaccine.

What will be recognised as evidence of my vaccination status?

The following are recognised as evidence of COVID-19 vaccination:

  • The NHS COVID pass, or equivalent from NHS Scotland, NHS Wales or the Department of Health in Northern Ireland; or
  • The EU Digital COVID Certificate; or
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card; or
  • A certificate in English, French or Spanish, issued by the competent health authority, which contains:
    1. your full name
    2. your date of birth
    3. the name and manufacturer of the vaccine you received
    4. the date you received each dose of the vaccine
    5. details of either the identity of the issuer of the certificate or the country of vaccination, or both.

If you were vaccinated abroad, you’ll need to provide evidence of your status and, where necessary, have a top-up dose with a UK authorised vaccine consistent with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance on vaccines. To avoid doubt, mixed doses (that is, where different vaccines have been administered to complete the dose schedule) will be accepted for the purposes of the vaccination requirements. More information can be found on this government webpage under ‘Countries with an approved proof of vaccination and examples of proof required’.

I’m not vaccinated, but my course includes placements or work where I am face-to-face with service users – what should I do?

If you’re not fully vaccinated by Friday, 1 April and are not exempt, you’ll be unable to take part in a clinical placement, or carry out research in an environment where you have face-to-face contact with service users. If this is a mandatory part of your course, you won’t be able to meet your learning outcomes and complete your course. We’ll explore options to support you, but this may mean withdrawing from your course.

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students should contact their academic advisor, student support team or placement lead as soon as possible, and postgraduate researchers should contact the Doctoral Academy and their supervisor. They’ll be able to discuss options with you and refer you to Occupational Health. For more information, please read the guidance on the Medical Schools Council website.

I’m not sure about whether to have the vaccine – where can I find more information to support my decision making?

If you contract COVID-19 or pass it on, you and others can become seriously ill, experience long-term health effects, or die. Vaccination has proven highly effective in reducing the severity of the illness and will help protect you, your family and those you care for.

Research has shown that vaccines help:

  • reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
  • reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19

For more information on the vaccines available, please go to Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.

There is lots of helpful information available on the NHS website that provides up-to-date facts about COVID-19 and vaccinations. You can also talk to your GP, and universities will be having conversations with students and offering support.

Below are links to some useful resources:

If you’re still hesitant, undergraduate and postgraduate taught students should contact their academic advisor, student support team or placement lead as soon as possible, and postgraduate researchers should contact the Doctoral Academy and their supervisor. They’ll be able to discuss options with you and refer you to Occupational Health.

I’m exempt – can I take part in a clinical placement or research?

If you’re exempt, you’ll still be able to take part in your clinical placements –but youshould let us know your circumstances. Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students should contact their programme director or student support team, and postgraduate researchers should contact the Doctoral Academy and their supervisor. You will then be referred to Occupational Health to certify the exemption.

What if I can’t get my second vaccination by the deadline?

If you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate taught student, you should contact your academic advisor, student support team or placement lead to discuss your options.

If you’re a postgraduate researcher, you should contact the Doctoral Academy.

What if I’ve just had COVID-19 and can’t receive the vaccine for a while?

If you’ve had a confirmed infection of COVID-19 after 6 January 2022 and aren’t yet vaccinated, this will affect your ability to receive two doses by the deadline. If this is the case, undergraduate and postgraduate taught students should contact their academic advisor, student support team or placement lead as soon as possible, and postgraduate researchers should contact the Doctoral Academy and their supervisor.

Current NHS guidance is that individuals aged 18 years old or over must wait 28 days before getting any dose of the vaccine. For the purposes of the Regulations, individuals will be considered temporarily exempt from the date of their positive test result on the basis that there are clinical reasons why they shouldn’t be vaccinated. Their temporary exemption will start from the date of their positive test and continue for 42 days from this date. The 42 days comprises a 28-day grace period based on clinical advice, and 14 days in which to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

You should still be able to book your first and/or second dose of the vaccine, and can therefore provide evidence of your intent to be vaccinated.

I am a postgraduate researcher and work on a clinical site in a laboratory – does this apply to me?

No – if you don't have direct, face-to-face contact with service users, this does not apply to you. For more information, read NHS England guidance on vaccination as a condition of deployment for healthcare workers.  

University halls of residence

What do I need to bring with me?

Use our what to bring checklist to help you prepare for moving into halls. 

We don't provide any bedding or kitchen equipment, but we've partnered with UniKit where you can order different kits before you arrive and these will be delivered to your nearest hall reception for you to pick up.

What arrangements are in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 in university halls of residences?

The safety of our residents and our staff is very important to us. We continue to follow guidelines from the UK government and from the Department for Education. 

In our accommodation each flat is classed as a household. If you're in accommodation provided in corridors then we have identified households within the accommodation and you'll be provided with information about which kitchen and bathroom facilities are available for your household.

Find out more about our accommodation commitment.

Are all facilities available in University accommodation?

We continue to be guided by the UK government, Department for Education and Public Health England.

If that guidance states that areas must be closed down in response to COVID-19 then such areas will not be available for residents to use. We understand that, if this happens, it may cause disappointment but, for reassurance, we will only take this action if required to do so by the UK or local government.

What does the contents insurance I get with my licence fee cover?

We provide cover for all students in University halls through Endsleigh insurance. It’s important to confirm your cover so that you understand what is and what isn’t covered. To check the cover matches all your requirements, please view the policy.

Private accommodation

How do I find accommodation for next year?

Manchester Student Homes (MSH) is a department of the University that work with a number of accommodation providers in and around Manchester. You can search on their website to find accommodation that suits your needs, including houses, flats, studios and Private Halls of Residence. You can call MSH on +44 (0)161 275 7680 or send an email.

MSH will be running their annual Accommodation Fairs virtually this year to allow you to meet accredited accommodation providers. To find out more visit their Accommodation Fair page or their Facebook page.

There are some things you should consider before beginning your search:

  • How big is your group/ do you want your group to be?
  • How much you want to spend per week?
  • Do you want an en-suite room or a shared accommodation?
  • How far are you willing to travel/walk?
  • Are you/ Is someone willing to manage your own bills? If not, a bills inclusive may be an option?

 See top tips and a viewing checklist

I have signed a contract for a house/apartment/private hall room but I don't want it anymore. What do I do?

A tenancy agreement is a legally binding -contract and all tenants are obliged to its terms until the end of the fixed period. To avoid any contractual breaches there are a couple of things you should make sure to do. These are as follows:

  • Inform the other tenants (if you are on a shared agreement)
  • Inform your accommodation provider
  • Seek an alternative tenant by advertising on Manchester Student Homes’ Message Board and Manchester Student Homes’ Facebook page
  • Once an alternative tenant has been found, contact the accommodation provider and the tenants to arrange for a transfer of names to occur.
  • Ensure that your name had been removed from the tenancy.

The replacement tenant must be accepted by all parties (where applicable) involved in the contract. If a replacement tenant is not found you are still liable for the contractual obligations (including rent) of the tenancy.

You are welcome to post as many messages as you like and in more than one section of the Manchester Student Homes’ Message Board. In the message you should include as much detail as possible:

  • Whether it is a house or a private hall
  • The number of tenants the house/flat accommodates
  • How much the room is
  • Whether or not bills are included in the rent
  • Location of the property
  • Facilities
  • Distance from the University campus
  • Time it takes to get to the campus
  • Your contact number (if you prefer).

It will be beneficial for you to reply to existing posts where students are looking for accommodation.

How do I deal with my belongings that I have left in Manchester?

Tenants are legally protected by Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. There is a legal duty on the accommodation provider to protect and keep secure any belongings that have been left in a property. If they believe they have been abandoned, they must receive express consent from the tenant before disposing of anything. They should be able to demonstrate that several attempts were made to contact the tenant and a reasonable period of time had lapsed before disposing of the goods. If an accommodation provider sells or disposes of the goods without taking the correct steps the tenant could advance a civil claim against them.

We advise you liaise with your accommodation provider and housemates when making any plans to return and collect belongings. This will ensure the accommodation provider knows you are collecting your items, and your housemates can ensure there is enough space for you (and anyone accompanying you) to be in the property whilst maintaining social distancing. Ensure that communications are detailed in writing and any telephone conversations are followed up with written confirmation (this should be standard practice for any dealings with your accommodation provider). 

If you can't return to Manchester, you should arrange for belongings to be stored or collected. Flexistore, our student storage partners, provide a solution for students living in University Halls. You can arrange to give Flexistore access to your private rented room, where they will pack and move your belongings either to their storage facilities in Manchester or ship them directly to your preferred address. Packing, storage and shipping costs vary, so it is best to contact them directly for a quotation. Insurance is usually included but can be topped up if necessary.

I am not ready to sign a contract for accommodation yet, is there a deadline?

There is no deadline for signing a contract in the private rented sector, but rooms/houses will gradually go off the market as other students sign for them. If you are looking for something specific then we advise that you sign sooner rather than later. It is important that you view the property/room and carefully read your tenancy agreements before signing anything. Manchester Student Homes offers a free contract checking service to help you understand your contract or any clause within it. You can email MSH or call them on +44 (0)161 275 7680.

How do I find short term or single semester accommodation?

Manchester Student Homes (MSH) is a department of the University that works with a number of accommodation providers in and around Manchester. Students can search on their website to find accommodation that suits their needs, including houses, flats, studios and private halls of residence.

You can search for short term properties:

You can email MSH with your requirements if you can't find what you are looking for.

Are there any flexible contracts available?

Manchester Student Homes (MSH) is a department of the University that work with a number of accommodation providers in and around Manchester. Students can search on their website to find accommodation that suits their needs, including houses, flats, studios and Private Halls of Residence.

We are pleased to hear that a number of Approved Accommodation Providers have already considered the impact of COVID-19 and the flexibility that students require in order to plan than subsequently sign into a legally binding contract with confidence. These Accommodation Providers have implemented additional clauses to their contracts to increase flexibility in order to adhere to student needs, and provide the support and care students require during this difficult period.

Currently there are 91 properties, owned by individual Landlords and Private Halls, totalling thousands of rooms that are offering the Coronavirus Amendment Policy, with this number increasing with each day. Flexibility will vary between accommodation providers but the information will be readily available on the MSH website.

What do I do if I want to view a property?

Students' safety is the first priority of our accredited accommodation providers. Depending on government guidance at the time, you may or may not be able to view a property in person. You should use virtual viewings where possible, in order to minimise public health risks. Ensure you always follow current government guidance around COVID-19. Find out more on Manchester Student Homes’ information and top tips on viewings page.

Support and wellbeing

Is there any financial support available?

We know that a number of students have started to struggle financially because of a sudden change of circumstances (for example, through the loss of part-time work). We want as many students as possible to be able to continue with their studies and would encourage anyone struggling to apply to our student hardship fund.

The fund, which can award both small grants and loans, is now open to all students, regardless of mode of study or nationality. Further details can be found on the student support webpages or send an email.

I receive financial support, will this continue uninterrupted?

All students in receipt of financial support, such as the Manchester Bursary, will continue to receive their instalments as planned. We are committed to maintaining support for all of our students.

I am a student on work placement, should I still be working?

Government guidance is very clear that workplaces should make every possible effort to enable working from home (with appropriate support provided to help facilitate that) and that individuals should only be asked to attend their workplace where this is not possible. As such, we expect that, in the vast majority of cases, students on work placement will be working from home. Some of our students are attending work, such as those carrying out essential work in healthcare services. 

If working from home is not possible and your placement provider asks you to attend work, then they must follow government guidance, including making every effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines. There are also additional considerations in relation to individuals who are vulnerable or live with someone who is vulnerable.

Your health and wellbeing are our priority and if you have concerns about any aspect of your placement (including being asked to attend your workplace) which you cannot resolve with your supervisor or manager at your placement provider, then please contact your School for advice in relation to the options available to you.

EU and international students

Where can I find advice on travel and visas?

If you're travelling to join us on campus from overseas, you'll find advice on travel and visas in our international students FAQ.

Can I access COVID-19 medical treatment?

There is no charge to international students or overseas visitors for COVID-19 testing, even if the result is negative. There is also no charge for any COVID-19 treatment provided if the result is positive or up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed. The same is true of most other infectious diseases.

Can EU and international students get vaccinated in the UK?

Yes – everybody in the UK aged 16 or over is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status.

Find out more about how to get vaccinated on our vaccination and testing page.

What support is available for students who need to quarantine on arrival in the UK?

If you’re travelling to campus for the first time from a “red list” country, we will pay the cost of your required stay in a government-approved hotel. We’re also negotiating lower costs for PCR tests, with a dedicated booking portal. For more information about quarantine, travel and visas, see our international students FAQ.