Covid information for students

Female UoP student wearing a mask

How We're keeping student life fun, safe and rewarding 

Plus find out how to get started on your course if you're a new or returning student

Here's our guidance on what's changed at the University:

Frequently Asked Questions

The Government has set out the tier system of Covid restrictions that will be in place from Wednesday 2 December. Portsmouth is considered to be in Tier 2 - High alert.

Under these rules

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey
  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

Activities for education purposes are exempt. For the full list of restrictions for this tier, visit the Government website. You can also view the Government's full list of local restrictions across the UK.

There are two testing sites on campus, one for students without symptoms and one for students with symptoms. Read more on Coronavirus Testing for Students for details of the free tests.

If you need to self isolate because you’ve tested positive for coronavirus, have coronavirus symptoms, have been contacted through NHS Test and Trace, or have to quarantine after travelling to the UK, we can support you. We can offer you a free 3 day food parcel and advice on ordering in supplies. Read more about self-isolation support for students

We’re following national lockdown Government guidance which says students should not leave their term-time address to return home between 5 November and 2 December. We are  asking students to remain at university and not to travel home before Thursday 5 November, to allow all students who are able to, to benefit from face-to-face teaching and COVID-secure educational facilities, and to prevent the increased risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).

We all have a responsibility, and all our actions affect the lives of others. This is in keeping with the current restrictions on moving between their permanent home and student home during term time, on a permanent or temporary basis, subject to limited exemptions set out in law.

As is the case for the rest of the population, students may only leave home for specific reasons, including:

  • for education
  • for work, for example if you cannot work from home
  • for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, or on your own with one person from another household
  • for medical reasons or appointments
  • to escape injury or harm (including mental health crises)
  • to shop for food and essentials
  • to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer

The national restrictions are for 4 weeks. The Government will publish further guidance shortly on how students can return home safely at the end of term.

Students who commute from their family home to the University can still travel to the University for educational purposes but should make sure that they take account of all public health guidance on safer travel, so that they and their fellow passengers stay as safe as possible.


On socialising, the Government guidance reiterates that the new restrictions apply to those in student accommodation, outlining that they must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of their household - a household in halls of residence is normally considered to be those students living in the same flat, or on the same floor, who share a kitchen and/or bathroom, rather than an entire block. 

Students can leave their home for exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, or on your own with one person from another household.

Government guidance confirms that teaching and learning can continue as planned while the national restrictions are in place. The guidance goes on to say that the Government recognises the central importance of face-to-face teaching, including for the mental health and wellbeing of students, and expects this to continue where it can be done safely. 

The guidance confirms that libraries and study spaces on campus can remain open to students and staff, for educational purposes, but must continue to maintain Covid-secure measures. 

The Library is open but has divided into 14 zones with a new booking system and click and collect service due to social distancing requirements. You can also find a list of study spaces on campus on MyPort. 

In line with government guidance, University cafes will only be offering takeaway food and drink, with no seating available inside.

Following Government guidance, University sports facilities will be closed during lockdown from 5 November to 2 December, in line with the wider government guidance for gyms and leisure facilities. However, if sporting activity is part of an education course, students will be able to continue this activity in a Covid-secure manner during the scheduled in-person learning hours.

Police have the powers to issue fines which will increase from £200 for a first offence, up to a maximum of £6,400 for further breaches. Anyone who organises or facilitates unlawful gatherings could also be fined £10,000.

If a student breaks the law on social gatherings - in fact any law - they could be suspended with immediate effect pending a misconduct hearing as part of our Code of Student Behaviour, with penalties ranging from a reprimand to permanent exclusion.

If you’re concerned about a social gathering or other disturbance, you should first report a breach of COVID regulations on the Hampshire Police website or by calling 101. (Please do not use 999 except for emergencies).

Complaints about student neighbours can be made to the University’s Student and Neighbour Liaison Service which can be contacted on 023 9284 3214 or on

You can report a noise disturbance via the city council website or by calling 023 9283 4092 (9.00am - 4.00pm)

All your support services are up and running, with a mixture of virtual and in-person access. To find out more contact the following:


BRP identity cards are different to University student cards, and are given to international students who have been granted a visa to be in the UK for 6 months or more.

BRP cards will be posted to your term time address once you have completed your registration and ID check. 

This is a change to the usual process due to Covid19. You may have received a letter from the Home Office asking you to collect your BRP card from the Nuffield Centre. Please note that there are no BRP cards being delivered to the University. 

You will receive your card directly in the post, approximately 10 working days after you have completed your Registration and ID check. If you have questions about registration please email or contact with any questions.

As far as we are aware at present this wouldn't be suitable for border control when travelling abroad. There is more information on travel and testing on MyPort.

Move to online learning before Christmas

A move to online only teaching will be staggered across the university enabling students to return home ahead of the Christmas break but continue their studies online:

Monday 30 November - start of online-only teaching for:

  • Faculty of Business and Law
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • School of Creative Technologies
  • School of Architecture

Students from these faculties and schools, if they wish, will be able to travel home from 3 December onwards following the end of the national lockdown.

Monday 7 December - start of online-only teaching for: 

  • Faculty of Technology
  • Faculty of Science and Health
  • School of Film, Media and Communication
  • School of Art, Design and Performance

Students from these faculties and schools, if they wish, will be able to travel home from 5 December onwards.

Exceptionally, some essential teaching (largely placements) in health-related courses, will continue as originally scheduled during the period running up to the Christmas break 

We have a phased move to online only teaching across our faculties and schools to allow students to travel home if they wish to do so, while continuing their studies remotely. The government has referred to this period as a ‘travel window’ with the dates of  3-9 December.

This shift to online teaching also allows time for students to self-isolate in line with government guidelines if they test positive for Covid-19 or have been instructed to isolate due to close contact by NHS Track and Trace, and still be home in time for Christmas.

We understand that some students will need to travel on dates outside of this preferred travel window but are strongly encouraged not to travel prior to the end of the current national lockdown which is due to end on 2 December.

Booking is now available for tests before travelling for Christmas.

It’s important that all students aim to take two tests, three days apart, before travelling during the Government's designated travel window between 3 and 9 December. 

Once you receive your second negative result by text or email it’s important that you then travel as soon as possible. In most cases you’ll receive results within 48 hours.

Healthcare students who are on placements are considered essential workers and should therefore remain in their placements until the end of term.


Health Education England will provide guidance separately on exactly what courses fall within this category are eligible for this exemption.

It is the University’s intention that teaching in the new calendar year will be delivered in a blend of online and face to face teaching as it has done previously in this academic year.

However, the Government has issued no guidance on its approach to students’ return to university after Christmas but it may do so. The University will share any changes to our plans for January if the Government guidance changes.

If you need access to a laptop for your online learning, you can borrow one through our laptop loan schemes (subject to the terms and conditions of the scheme).

We understand the current situation can be difficult for some students. The university has a range of support services for students to help them manage their wellbeing. Information is available via the Student Wellbeing Service.

Self-isolating can feel tough at times but support is available for students who need it. Support includes help with food parcels, ensuring you can continue your studies online and Wellbeing support.

The University has made a considerable investment to ensure teaching continues with the full engagement of academic staff and all the associated support services. Students are still achieving the learning outcomes required by their courses, and will be fully accredited for their learning to the same level as would have been the case had this COVID-19 crisis not happened.

This move to online only teaching is in line with government guidance and to facilitate the students return home for Christmas.

As such, students won't be receiving any change to their course fee payments.

We recognise that for a variety of reasons some students will remain at the university over the Christmas period. We are working in partnership with the Students’ Union to determine what support will be made available to students over the Christmas break.

University Coronavirus Information Line

If you have an enquiry related to covid, please first read through our 'coronavirus information for students' pages. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, get in touch with us on our Coronavirus Information Line.

Please note, this team cannot provide you with a coronavirus test appointment – instead read the information on coronavirus testing for students.


Telephone: +44 (0)23 9284 5588

The phone line is open: Monday - Thursday 8.30am - 5.00pm and Friday 8.30am - 4.00pm

Changes in 2020/21

Getting started on your course

Study and student life in 2020/21 video

Getting ready for study

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close