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Covid-19 Update Message to students in Private Accommodation

March 24, 2020

This information is for students in privately owned accommodation, students staying in University owned accommodation will have been contacted directly.

We now know that the situation we currently face will escalate rapidly over the next few weeks and will last a number of months, with the pandemic likely to reach its UK peak in late May or early June. As the Government’s restrictions increase you may feel more comfortable staying with family if you are able to do so safely.

If you wish to remain  you will need to speak to your private halls provider or your private landlord/ agency. Their contact details should be available on your tenancy agreement.

They will need to know as they may need to put in measures to make sure you are safe over the forthcoming months. Make sure you follow social distancing wherever possible that means. 

*****Updated April 2, 2020*****
Some students in private accommodation have been given the option of terminating their accommodation contracts for the summer term. We cannot say what will happen over the next few months as the current situation in the UK is still quite new, but there is no shortage of accommodation in Cardiff.

Students who are being offered the opportunity to terminate their accommodation agreement should do so, and if it is possible to return to the University over the summer term you will be able to find accommodation.
*****

Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough

  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
  • If you have a job, work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
  • Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential service
  • Students are encouraged to set up online supermarket accounts so that they can organise deliveries.

Changes to access arrangements
Access to the University’s campuses will be restricted to its Residential Students only from 16.00 on Tuesday 24 March

  • Over the last week we have been increasingly persuaded by the evidence tracking both the incidence and spread of Covid-19 across Europe and the UK and we have been particularly concerned at the trajectory of deaths recorded in the UK.
  • For these evidence-based and value-based reasons we have taken the decision that there will be no access to any of our four university campuses after 17.00 on Tuesday 24 March for any member of staff other than ‘Key Workers’ and ‘Residential Students’.

If you have an underlying health condition what should you?
We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

If you have any of the following health conditions adopt the practices above and please inform Halls Team (see contact numbers) so that they are aware. The NHS may be in touch with you with specific advice shortly. 

  • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • those who are pregnant

I am staying on in Halls of residence and have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in halls of residence, what do I do?
Students in private halls of residence who develop symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should self-isolate in their current accommodation for 7 days, unless it is not possible to do so.  Students should let their accommodation management team know (contact numbers should be provided by your Halls manager or landlord) Staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people. It can be particularly challenging if there is limited space or no access to a garden.

It is important to take care of your mental as well as physical health and seek support if needed. Students can keep in touch with family and friends over the phone and on social media. There are also sources of support and information that can help, such as Every Mind Matters for adults, and Young Minds for young people. 

Cardiff Met provides 24/7 support for students through the Big White Wall platform. Use your Cardiff Met email address to set up a FREE account, and you will be able to chat online, access resources to help with anxiety, sleep and a range of other issues, as well as design your own ‘bricks’ to express how you are feeling. Big White Wall is overseen by clinical professionals who will be able to guide you to find the right resources. If you would like to speak to someone from Cardiff Met’s Wellbeing team, then you can complete the form on MetHub and someone will respond to you within a day or two. If you are already receiving support from the NHS or other services for your mental health, they will also be able to provide you with advice and guidance at this difficult time. Some simple advice includes keeping in touch with loved ones via phone or online, not watching too much news (just enough to keep you informed) and limiting your use of social media to just the necessary to stay in touch with friends or family.

Students should only return home if they are able to do so without using public transport. On returning home, the household should begin a period of whole household isolation for 14 days following UK Government guidance.

We recommend that all students living in privately owned halls or private houses should contact the manager/landlord of their accommodation to advise them of their plans to either remain in halls or return home.

I am in staying in halls without symptoms but have come into contact with someone who may be infected (i.e. a close contact within a household setting)
For students who are living in a private halls of residence or private house where someone has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) they should let their Halls management team (or landlord) know and they will discuss the situation with the local Public Health Wales, Health protection team who will undertake a risk assessment and identify who is required to take part in whole household isolation for 14 days based on their likelihood of being infected.

Students identified as part of this potentially infected group should, as above, only return home if they are able to do so without using public transport. Upon returning home, their household should begin a period of whole household isolation for 14 days. 

Certain groups, such as international students, care leavers and estranged students, may be unable to return home and should remain in their halls of residence, ensuring that the Halls management team  are aware of their circumstances.

Where accommodation is different from the format described above - for example longer corridors of single rooms - decisions on the whole household group to self-isolate for 14 days will need to be taken on a case-by-case basis. This decision will be informed by the catering and social areas shared by groups of students, in consultation with the local PHE health protection team.

Public Health Wales will support self-isolating students so that they can receive the food and medicines they need for the duration of their isolation, 

FAQ’s

Do I need to pay 3rd terms accommodation fees? 
You will need to speak to your private halls provider or your private landlord/ agency. Their contact details should be available on your tenancy agreement.

Will I have a reduction for this term? 
You will need to speak to your private halls provider or your private landlord/ agency. Their contact details should be available on your tenancy agreement.

How do I return my key if I have brought it home with me? 
You will need to speak to your private halls provider or your private landlord/ agency. Their contact details should be available on your tenancy agreement.

What if I have left items in my room, what date do I need to collect them by? 
You will need to speak to your private halls provider or your private landlord/ agency. Their contact details should be available on your tenancy agreement

What if I need to stay? 
You are within your rights to continue to stay in your room. But please consider carefully whether you really need to stay in your Halls or private house.  

I am staying on after 27th April and think I will struggle to pay.
If students are struggling to pay their accommodation fees you will need to speak to your private halls provider or your private landlord/ agency. Their contact details should be available on your tenancy agreement

Loans will still be paid by Student Finance in the 3rd term and you may be liable for any accommodation fees.