New and current students: arrangements for 2021-22

COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, and it is critical that our university community continues to act with great care and keeps our COVID numbers low. We need everyone to continue to support each other and work together to keep our community safe and well.

This page contains information about:

We’re really looking forward to the start of the new academic year.

At ARU we’re committed to providing an active, inclusive, and supportive learning environment From September, each course has in person face-to-face contact time on campus each week, and additional teaching through our virtual online environments such as Canvas, (our Learning Management System) and Microsoft Teams.

Timetables have now been published. However, we do understand that everyone’s circumstances are different due to the pandemic. We are therefore able to offer you the option of studying your course fully online in the first trimester (September – December 2021), for many courses, if you are unable to join us on campus. This is made available to you to enable you to make a personal choice, and you will be offered further opportunities to change your choice in the trimester at set points. .

Teaching arrangements

Studying on campus

We’re delighted to welcome you back to campus for the start of the new academic year.

The first trimester of this academic year will be one of transition. This means that even though formal COVID restrictions have been lifted by the government, we have made the decision to help keep our community safe and manage the risk of coronavirus transmission by keeping our in-person classes on campus to smaller groups as we transition out of the pandemic. Teaching will continue to be scheduled in blocks, as students have told to us that this works well for them and helps them organise their week.

This approach also provides the flexibility that is needed to make sure all students feel part of our community, regardless of their situation or needs, and that we can adapt quickly if the Government asks us to.

Studying online only

If you choose to study fully online, you’ll join the same learning community and receive the same or similar content as our face-to-face teaching, which will enable you to join us on campus easily when you’re able to.

Trimester 2 (January-May 2022)

We are already working on your timetable for Trimester 2. We are working hard to ensure you have the best possible educational experience, with more face to face teaching planned. We will continue to consult with students and the Students’ Union and keep you updated.

If you have any queries, please contact the iCentre via email ( or call them (between 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday) on 01245 686700. 

We look forward to seeing you, either in person or virtually, in September


EU and international students

If you are an international or EU/EEA student, please see our FAQs which contain the most recent advice from UKVI.

We also encourage you to check your ARU email account regularly.

If you are due to travel to the UK it is important that you familiarise yourself with UK Government travel requirements before you make any travel plans. As UK Government rules can change at short notice, visit the Gov.UK website for the latest pre-departure and arrival information.

If you are required to self-isolate on arrival you can join a range of social and wellbeing events online. Further support is available if you are self-isolating in university accommodation.

Letter from Minister of State for Universities to international students, 11 August 2021

Students on clinical placements

Your clinical placement is continuing as usual. If you have any queries please contact your Course Leader.

Asymptomatic testing

While Government COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, the virus is still present in the UK – which means there are still measures in place to try and reduce the risk of infection.

If you’re coming to campus, we ask that you continue to take twice-weekly asymptomatic tests and to report the results of these tests to the NHS. With one in three people with COVID-19 showing no symptoms, rapid testing helps to identify positive cases quickly, helping prevent the spread of infection.

You must report your result to the NHS – regardless of the result. If it is positive don’t forget to also complete the form on AskARU so we can offer practical and wellbeing support.

You can continue to collect self-test kits from ARU campuses:

  • reception in Guild House at our Peterborough campus
  • the Student Centre in the Queen's Building at our Chelmsford campus
  • the iCentre and Library at our Cambridge campus.

There are also other options for ordering and collecting the kits for free, such as:

For further information and guidance on asymptomatic tests, visit the NHS website.

How to take a home test

Home test instructions are included in the testing kit, but here’s a step by step guide to self testing.

Or you can watch this video to find out more.  

Report your result

Report your test result to the NHS, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. This helps the NHS to monitor the spread of the virus. Visit the Government website to find out how to report your test no matter the result.

If you receive a positive test result

If you receive a positive lateral flow test, you must:

What should I do if the test result is negative?

This indicates you’re unlikely to have the virus at the time of the test, but no test is perfect. You still need to practice safe behaviours, respect people's personal space where possible, continue with good hand and surface hygiene and wear a face covering where appropriate – even if you have received a negative result.

For more information about testing, see Gov.UK.

Will I have to be vaccinated to study at university?

We continue to follow Government guidance around vaccinations and encourage our staff and students to get vaccinated as soon as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We do also recognise, and respect, that there may be valid medical, cultural, or other factors why individuals may not want or be able to be vaccinated.

Some of our health care courses may require students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be placed within certain settings, such as care homes, as vaccination is both for students' own protection and that of their patients. This is subject to legislation being passed and if it does, will be implemented from October 2021. If you’re planning on studying a health care course, please contact us so we can put you in touch with a Course Leader to discuss this further if required.

If Government or sector vaccination guidance changes, we'll be in contact to explain what this means for you.

The NHS website has more information about vaccinations for students in higher education.

Entering the UK from overseas

If you are entering the UK from overseas, you will be required to take a coronavirus test before arrival. You will also need to follow any self-isolation (quarantine) requirements that are in place at the time. Our FAQs page has the latest information: see the sections for international and EU students.

We continue to support students who are self-isolating. We understand that this might be a difficult time, so our Counselling and Wellbeing team are available to talk to and we have a variety of wellbeing workshops which you can get involved in. We are here for you.

Keeping our community safe

We've worked hard to keep our community safe and manage the risk of coronavirus transmission.


  • have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • encourage everyone on campus to continue to wear a face covering (unless exempt) 
  • have hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes stationed around campuses 
  • have asked for those on campus to keep left when moving around – to ensure people's personal space is respected, where possible
  • provide lateral flow coronavirus test kits – available to collect from campuses 

Student services

We know how important it is that you receive excellent support while you're studying. You are able to access:

  • library resources and digital support online
  • campus libraries 
  • all student services – including disability and dyslexia support, employability and placement services, ARU Temps, and Study Skills – face to face and online
  • your Health and Wellbeing hub. Our Counselling and Wellbeing team offer daily drop-in sessions Monday-Friday from 11am-12 noon with a counsellor or mental health adviser and 2pm-3pm (term time only) with a wellbeing adviser. We are also running weekly workshops to build your confidence and skills to succeed in your studies.
  • the iCentre (open on campus 9am-1pm and 1.30-5pm, Monday-Friday, or email
  • open access PC areas, with some computers available on a drop-in basis
  • access to support from key contacts if your studies involve a placement.

Offering a wider student experience

It's never been more important to have some fun, relax and enjoy a bit of 'normality' in our lives. And so:

  • your Students’ Union continues to organise activities to help you have some fun and relax
  • student-run societies continue to have fantastic events and activities
  • your confidential advice service is open, by appointment, to provide support and guidance
  • our campus gyms are open and Team ARU encourages you to enjoy social and competitive sports in a safe way
  • we’ve also provided space on campus for group and personal study, and relaxation.


In the event of a national or national lockdown we will continue to follow the National Institute for Health Protection guidance and ask all students to remain in their current accommodation.

If you live in ARU accommodation and want to be released from a tenancy agreement please contact our Residential Service Team.

If you live in a nomination hall (CB1, The Railyard, Sedley Court, the YMCA), please contact the staff in your accommodation.

Visit My ARU for full details of all these changes.