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We’ve been working closely with colleagues across UCL in response to the Government announcement on supporting your safe return home at the end of term. 

Below is a copy of the email sent to students on 13 November, outlining what we know so far:


This week the UK Government announced plans to support students to travel before the end of term, including offering rapid testing before travel in some areas, where this is thought necessary.  We are waiting to hear whether UCL will be in such an area.

The Government guidance is being updated on a daily basis, and we are working as fast as we can to respond and to support all of you, whether you plan to travel or plan to remain in your term-time accommodation for the winter break.

Face-to-face education activity moves online from 3 December

Students who intend to leave term-time accommodation over the winter break are being encouraged by the UK Government to travel between Thursday 3 and Wednesday 9 December. This is because the current national restrictions, which are expected to reduce the levels of COVID-19 circulating in the population in England, are due to end on Wednesday 2 December.  It also means that even if you are required to self-isolate, there will still be sufficient time for you to be with your families if you are celebrating Christmas.

We are therefore changing our teaching and learning arrangements for the remainder of Term One, so that if you plan to travel, you can do so without significant disruption to your studies.

  • From 3 December, most face-to-face teaching goes online until the end of Term One. In practice-based and practical subjects, face-to-face teaching may continue as scheduled until 9 December. Your department will contact you if this applies to you.
  • Existing online provision continues as planned.
  • From 9 December until the end of term on 18 December, all teaching will be online, except teaching on our MBBS programme, where students are designated as key workers.
  • Postgraduate research students will be able to continue on-campus research activities from 3 December if the research cannot be conducted remotely.

Advice and support for students who plan to travel

Over the next week we will be developing further advice and support to help you with your travel plans.  We also expect to have been informed by the UK Government Department of Health and Social Care whether UCL will be in an area where the rapid COVID-19 test needs to be offered. 

We will publish a web resource for students on 23 November.

Read the UK Government guidance for students about travelling for winter break.

Support for students who are staying at UCL over the winter break

For students in London over the winter break, the Student Centre will be open, although libraries and social spaces will be closed. Our Accommodation and Student Support and Wellbeing teams will be on hand to provide support throughout the closure period, including for self-isolating or symptomatic students. The Students’ Union and their clubs and societies will continue to host online events and activities throughout the winter break.

What this means for Term Two

We plan to return to as much face-to-face teaching as is feasible, from the first week of Term 2, subject to any additional Government guidance and restrictions in place when term begins on Monday 11 January 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge us all in many different ways, and you are demonstrating extraordinary resilience and commitment. Thank you for the support you are showing each other and for being a part of our community. We are doing everything we can to make sure you can continue your studies with us, wherever you are in the world.

Best wishes,

Professor Anthony Smith, UCL Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs)
Carol Paige, Democracy, Operations and Community Officer for Students’ Union UCL