COVID-19: here's how we're handling it

COVID-19 secure 2020 

UPDATE FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF BIRMINGHAM, SANDWELL AND SOLIHULL BEING CATEGORISED AS AREAS OF INTERVENTION

Following the news that further restrictions have been implemented in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull, we have put together some FAQs to try to answer any questions you may have.

Latest information
Why have Covid-19 restrictions changed in the Birmingham area?
Results from Covid-19 tests in the Birmingham area have shown that the infection rate has been growing in recent days. The Secretary of State for Health has made the decision to put additional measures in place and raise Birmingham’s status to ‘an area of intervention’ on the watchlist.
What is an area of intervention?

There are three categories into which local councils can be placed on the Covid-19 watchlist.

These are:

  • areas of concern
  • areas for enhanced support
  • areas of intervention

An area of intervention is the highest level on the watchlist. It is described by PHE as an area where there is a "divergence" between the local measures in place to control the spread of coronavirus and the national restrictions across England. A detailed action plan will be in place and local resources will be boosted by national-level support.

I live outside of the Birmingham area. Do the area of intervention rules apply to me?
The boroughs of Sandwell and Solihull are included in the area of intervention, so if you live in these areas, the restrictions will apply to you.
What are the main restrictions being put in place now that Birmingham is an area of intervention?

From Tuesday 15 September Birmingham residents will not be able to mix with any other households, indoors or in private gardens, except for those in a support bubble. This applies both inside and outside the city boundaries.

Further details of the additional local restrictions are expected to be released by the Department of Health & Social Care imminently, and will be updated here.

Why is there a Covid-19 testing centre on Aston University's campus?

We have been working with Birmingham City Council to provide testing facilities on our campus since August 2020, which provides testing for up to 300 people per day. This is one of the many activities Aston has undertaken to support the fight against Covid-19 in the city.

The safety of our students and staff are of the utmost importance at this time. The provision of these facilities means in the event of a student or colleague displaying symptoms, they are able to apply to have their test on campus. This means they would not need to travel a long distance to a testing centre when feeling unwell and when they may be carrying the virus.

From September 2020, all universities have been asked by the Department of Health to provide testing on their campuses.

Am I able to use the gym, swimming pool and other sports facilities on campus while Birmingham is classified as an area of intervention?
We are waiting for further guidance from Sports England and hope to be able to provide an update on Monday 14 September.

If you have coronavirus symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

Get a test now

Do not leave home/your accommodation or flat for at least 10 days after your test

We will be operating a blended approach to learning and teaching where you will study both online and on-campus in term one. All large scale lectures will be delivered using online technology.

Staff and student welfare is something we take very seriously, which is why we have a dedicated team in place to closely monitor and manage the Coronavirus situation. Rest assured we’re doing everything we can.

Following guidance from Public Health England, Universities UK and the NHS, face-to-face teaching is currently taking place on-line, and plans are in place to open up the campus in stages over the coming months.

But our commitment to the Aston University community doesn’t stop there. Most learning is available via remote channels and we’re just a phone call or message away from answering any questions you may have. No query is too small and no concern is too trivial ­– just take a look at the FAQ pages below in the first instance.

Read our stories on supporting the national effort against COVID-19.

Exemption cards

If you are exempt from wearing a face mask we encourage you to download our exemption badge from our current student webpage and ensure that this is clearly visible on your person, or available to show via your phone. Plastic wallets will be available to collect from main reception so that you can attach to your lanyard.

Aston Together

We’re proud of our Aston University community and how we look after each other. We have never needed each other more than we do today. Help us to help each other by being considerate to others and behaving appropriately at all times. By working together we can all help to make Aston a safer place.

Together we ask that you:

Be respectful

Show consideration towards other students, staff and visitors. Respect those whose personal circumstances differ from yours, and who may need to adopt different safety measures.

World Health Organisation

Be observant

Follow guidance on social distancing and health and safety measures, and adhere to signage and instructions around campus to maximise the safety of yourself and others who are sharing space with you.

Be kind

Be kind

Show empathy towards others and be supportive to those in need. Offer friendship, be inclusive, and speak out to a member of the Aston team if you think someone needs assistance.

If you show Covid-19 symptoms, follow Government guidance to self-isolate, get tested and inform us via covid-19reporting@aston.ac.uk 

Key points

  • There will be no teaching of large scale lectures on campus until January 2021 at the earliest

  • All assessments will continue to be conducted online until January 2021 at the earliest. See our detriment policy.
  • If your course has a compulsory attendance element you may need to be on campus in accordance with professional regulatory body requirements. Find out more information.
  • The library building is now open for students to undertake private study and collect books.
  • Access to research labs is available by prior authorisation. Conference Aston Hotel and the University nursery are open for business.
  • The advice from Public Health England is that the overall risk to the population is at "Level 4 (A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation)". 
  • Aston has a team who is closely monitoring and managing the situation and is acting on advice of Public Health England, Universities UK and the NHS. 
  • We will be updating this advice as new Government and Public Health England guidance emerges.
  • For any general student queries or queries about teaching, assessments and exams please contact us.
  • For absences and visa queries please contact engagement.

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