Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): universities, colleges and community learning and development providers

Published: 10 Aug 2021
Last updated: 24 Sep 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for operations in the academic year 2021 to 2022.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): universities, colleges and community learning and development providers
Student accommodation

Student accommodation

Students in all types of accommodation have a personal responsibility to follow whatever national guidance is in place for baseline measures (provided for either by regulations or in guidance).  Where support is needed in relation to any measures highlighted, students should communicate this to their institution as soon as possible.

Student accommodation at universities, colleges and in the Purpose Built Student Accommodation (“PBSA”) sector also have a responsibility to students to ensure accommodation is a priority focus for planning mitigations to protect students and staff from unnecessary risks.

Following appropriate national guidance on seeking a PCR test (if symptomatic or identified as a close contact), or undertaking regular LFD testing (if asymptomatic), self-isolation and contact tracing will be essential for early identification of the virus and to supress it from spreading. Read more information on NHS Inform for testing/guidance on testing.

Accommodation providers and students have a responsibility to encourage, adopt and maintain safe behaviours to protect themselves and other people.

We expect that institution-managed accommodation providers will:

  • give access to and encourage regular use of LFD test kits, and also consider producing further guidance with clear policies on management of self-isolation tailored to the specific accommodation setting
  • operate in a protective way, while taking account that a concentration of younger students may not be protected by the vaccination for some or all of the first term of the academic year. While there is no restriction on physical distancing, ensuring areas are well ventilated as well as regular cleaning of shared spaces of particular dense contact should be a priority
  • consider any specific work that is required to establish and sustain safe protective behaviours. This will include consideration of environmental modifications while supporting adherence to processes such as regular testing and self-isolation

It is expected that institutions will:

  • consider what information and/or advice can be offered to students to inform their social mixing in residences and other settings
  • support the provision of accommodation, where the student is due to reside in university accommodation, to international students arriving from amber list countries to self-isolate for the required period on arrival. Access to medical attention and food should be facilitated, and regular attention to wider wellbeing ensured

PBSA accommodation providers should also be encouraged by universities and colleges to offer similar forms and levels of support.


First published: 10 Aug 2021 Last updated: 24 Sep 2021 -