Creating a relaxed, safe environment

Students talking in Devonshire Hall

Feeling secure in how we live with others has never been more important. Coronavirus (covid-19) is creating a “new normal” where we are all even more mindful of our own safety and wellbeing, as well as that of the people around us.

At the University of Leeds, we are taking steps to create an environment in your accommodation where you will feel confident, relaxed and safe. These include:

  1. Clean, hygienic spaces
  2. Creating comfortable, secure households
  3. Appropriate social distancing
  4. Help when you need it
  5. Keeping you connected

This page will give you more information on each of these steps, and let you know what you can do to keep yourself and others safe.

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Learn more about how we’ve created a relaxed, safe environment in your accommodation

 

Clean, hygienic spaces

Students chatting in their kitchen

Cleaning and good hygiene is now more important than ever. That’s why we’re ensuring that communal areas throughout all of our residences are being cleaned more frequently throughout the day. This includes reception areas, common rooms and the communal toilets outside of individual flats. Special attention is being given to cleaning frequent touch points such as door handles, lift panels and reception area furniture.

There are also hand sanitiser stations installed throughout our residences, please make sure to use them regularly.

We will provide you with a clean room at the start of your tenancy contract period. You will be responsible for keeping your room clean and tidy and together with members of your household will be responsible for keeping the shared space within the flat clean and tidy.  To assist you in keeping your flat clean in University owned and operated accommodation, staff will clean shared toilets and showers in flats weekly and they will deep clean all other shared areas within your flat (but not your own bedroom or en-suite) once during the Christmas, Easter and summer vacations.

We will continually monitor the government guidance and advice and will introduce additional cleaning services to residences if needed.

What you must do:

  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water where possible, when you’re not able to do this make use of the hand sanitiser stations installed throughout your residence.
  • Make sure to clean up after yourself in communal spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms and take out your rubbish to external bin stores regularly.

 

Creating comfortable, secure households

Student in his flat kitchen with housemates

Once you move into your flat you will become part of a new student household. Please be considerate and look after one another to create a household and an environment where you will comfortable and secure together.

Households form an important part of the government’s social distancing measures. If one member of your new household has a suspected or confirmed case of covid-19, then all household members will all have to self-isolate. For this reason, it’s important that you understand who is in your household.

If you are staying in a self-contained flat (all residences apart from Devonshire Hall, Ellerslie Global Residences and Oxley Residences) then your household consists of everyone who lives in that flat with you. If you are in Devonshire, Ellerslie or Oxley and your room does not form part of a self-contained flat, then your residence site team will identify the spaces that you've been allocated to use individually or as part of a household – such as your room, kitchen, lounge space and toilet and shower facilities. For your safety, these areas will be for the exclusive use of you as an individual or as part of your clearly defined household group.

In many parts of the country, the government has relaxed some restrictions around people visiting other households. However, in University accommodation we know that you want your health and wellbeing to be our primary concern. We therefore have a responsibility to do all that we can to keep you and all other residents safe. This means that at present we have taken the difficult decision not to allow you to invite visitors or guests from outside of your new student household into your room or flat at any time.

However, as long as social distancing is maintained you will be able to see and meet a limited number of guests in the public social space (such as common rooms) and outside areas of your residence. You must make sure when doing so that you adhere to the current government guidelines

We will keep this rule under review and will let you know at any point if there are any changes that may allow you to have more freedom to have guests or visitors to your new student household.

Learning how to live happily and comfortable with others is always key element of your time in student accommodation, but it will be especially important this year. Our Residence Life team will be offering enhanced support and events to help you bond together as a household. This will include things like “Big Night In” packs and competitions between different flats.

What you must do:

  • Be considerate and look after one another to create a living space where you will be comfortable and secure together.
  • Follow the rules that have been put in place to keep you and others safe. Always consider the impact of your actions on the other members of your household, or on the other households that live in your residence.
  • Just as you have been doing at home, you should regularly wash your hands, clean frequently touched surfaces and avoid touching your face.
  • Make sure you follow the rules on guests and visitors, and do not invite people from outside of your new student household to visit your room or flat.

 

Appropriate social distancing

Student in face covering inside a University building

The University is putting social distancing measures in place across the campus and all our buildings. Where necessary spaces throughout your residence will be configured to support social distancing. For instance, there may be one-way systems to control the flow of people around the residence – there will be signage to help you follow these systems. Where possible social spaces such as gyms, games rooms, cinemas, lounges and study spaces will all be opened with social distancing in mind so that you can still enjoy these facilities safely.

As in the rest of the University, face coverings must be worn in all indoor communal areas of residences unless you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes reception areas, main public corridors, in stairways and lifts and in those communal toilets located outside of your flat. This does not include inside your flat. Exceptions to this rule may be made in some social spaces and gym facilities. If this is the case, signage at the entrances to these spaces will advise you if you can remove your face covering whilst using the space and observing social distancing. Wearing a face covering is also encouraged outdoors if you can’t keep a safe distance of two metres.

If you have formed a new student household, within your flat, you won’t need to practice social distancing measures such as staying two metres apart or wearing a face covering inside the flat. You should still practice good hygiene measures, such as regularly washing your hands and regularly cleaning commonly touched surfaces. On campus similar rules will apply and signage will always be displayed to help you maintain social distancing.

What you must do:

  • Stay two metres apart from people outside of your household where possible – don’t be afraid to make others aware of the two metres rule, politely ask them to maintain their distance. Respect others' wishes regarding keeping at distance – be mindful of those who are naturally more cautious.
  • Wash and/or sanitise your hands before leaving your room, even if you are only going to a shared kitchen or a shared bathroom.

 

Help when you need it

Female student studying in her room

In our accommodation you can always contact someone if you need help, advice or just a chat. Staying with us means you’ll benefit from our years of experience in providing excellent student support.

Residence team members will be available for you to contact at any time of the day or night. Our dedicated Residence Life team will provide you with personalised online, phone and face-to-face services to support you in situations when you might need some help. This could be anything from reporting that you’re feeling ill to helping you to take care of yourself if you’re unable to go out. Contact residencelife@leeds.ac.uk for any assistance.  

If you do develop any symptoms of covid-19 such as a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell you must report it to us immediately. You can do this by going to accommodation.leeds.ac.uk/selfisolate.

You should also arrange to get a covid-19 test as soon as possible. You can book an appointment through the NHS national booking website.

The Leeds University Union (LUU) Student Advice team are contactable during working hours if you have any queries or concerns. You can get in touch with them by email helpandsupport@luu.leeds.ac.uk or call 0113 380 1400. Your Student Exec have also setup the LUU Student Community Group on Facebook to help students come together. It’s a great one stop shop for all the positives in the University of Leeds student community.

The University also offers additional support such as the Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service, which provides free professional and confidential counselling, wellbeing and mental health support.

The University’s Security Services are, as ever, operating 24-hours a day, every day of the year. They offer crime prevention advice, patrol the campus and residences and respond to alarms or emergencies. You can call them on 0113 343 5495 or video call on WhatsApp 07876 866747.

What you must do:

  • Report your symptoms immediately if you begin to feel ill.
  • Use the support that’s available from our Residence Life team, Leeds University Union or the Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service. They’re here to help you whenever you need them.

 

Keeping you connected

Flatmates relaxing in their kitchen

Our Residence Life team is providing a tailored series of welcome and induction events, training and guidance to support you. There will be a whole host of activities, both in person and virtually, to ensure that you can still make friends and socialise in a safe and enjoyable way. These will range from virtual bingo, quizzes, games nights and sports classes – which you can enjoy from the comfort of your flat – to in-person activities such BBQs, Pets as Therapy and more. You can find out what great activities are going on in your hall by joining your hall Facebook group or using the event calendars found in your flat.

In addition to events and activities, you’ll also have a welcome talk from your Residence Life Warden to help you settle in.

Leeds University Union are also planning a range of digital and in-person activities, including virtual cooking classes, escape rooms and yoga to on-campus outdoor food festivals, DJs and themed brunches, with more planned. You can find out what they have planned here: welcome.luu.org.uk/whats-on. Clubs and societies are a huge part of life at Leeds and there are over 300 to get involved with. You can also find upcoming events on the University website leeds.ac.uk/events

When you’re socialising it’s important now – more than ever – to be mindful and considerate of the people around us, including others in the community such as local residents of areas like Hyde Park. Your actions reflect on the University and its reputation locally.

What you must do:

  • Like and follow @UoLResLife on Facebook to stay up to date with everything that’s going on in your halls. You can also follow our Residence Life team on Instagram @uol_res_life.
  • Engage with the events and activities organised by our Residence Life team to make the most out your time in halls.
  • Make sure you check out what’s being organised by Leeds University Union and their societies welcome.luu.org.uk/
  • Do not attend or organize gatherings which do not adhere to the government guidelines. As well as being illegal, these can cause distress and disturbances for other members of the local community.
  • There’s plenty of ways you can socialise safely both locally and on campus.  Presently, you can meet in any outdoor space in a group of up to six people from different households*. Meeting outdoors remains the safest way to socialise.
  • Be respectful to others when visiting green spaces and parks by keeping your distance, not disturbing others and leaving the spaces clean and tidy for other visitors.
  • Be considerate to others, and please follow the government guidelines at all times. Always consider the impact of your actions on others.

*please be aware that this might change if government guidance is amended.

 

Action checklist

Am I being responsible about social distancing?

  • Always stay two metres from others where possible
  • Wear a face covering when required
  • Respect others and giving them space so they can feel safe
  • Follow rules that are in place to keep you and others safe
  • Consider the impact of your actions on other members of your household and other households within your residence

Am I following the appropriate hygiene measures?

  • Wash and sanitise your hands frequently
  • Clean kitchens and bathrooms as you use them and leave them clean for others to use

Am I exhibiting any of the known symptoms of covid-19? If yes, report it immediately.

  • Self-isolate if you have any symptoms of covid-19 and inform Residence Life team that you’re unwell so they can offer help and support
  • Let your friends and staff in your residence know you’re self-isolating. They can support offer more support if you need it

Am I struggling to settle in or make friends?

  • Contact the Residence Life team if you’re having any problems or just need someone to talk to. You can email residencelife@leeds.ac.uk or call 0113 343 5068 during office hours, or contact your Residence Life Warden or Residence Life Assistants.