New and current students: arrangements for 2020-21

Studying at university may be a little different this year, but we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. You'll notice some adaptations to campuses and classrooms, but our tutors and student services are here to support you.

As the health and wellbeing of our students and staff is our absolute priority, we wanted to outline just some of the measures we've introduced on campus and we continue to review the situation as it changes.

This page contains information about:

Student on a university campus - second student in background

Current restrictions

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 February regarding the government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England, all universities in England have been asked to continue to restrict the number of students who can return to campus for face to face teaching.

The government has advised that, from Monday 8 March, universities can resume face to face teaching for students who are studying practical or practice-based subjects that require access to specialist equipment or facilities on campus.

See the full list of courses and more information about returning to campus.

The government will conduct a review before the end of the Easter holidays to determine when university students on other courses can return to campuses. We will, of course, continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, we will continue teaching all other courses online only. This includes all teaching at ARU College.

The students returning to campus in March will join those we have been teaching face to face since January, including medicine, subjects allied to medicine and health care, education, social work, and some courses with specific Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) requirements.

We continue to support all students remaining on or around campus, not just those resuming face to face teaching. Our campuses remain fully open. For more information please visit Student News.

We have taken all possible steps to ensure that our campuses are Covid-secure, and we currently have low levels of Covid-positive test results in our community. We will continue to monitor this very closely, in constant liaison with our local public health leads.

We fully recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a very significant impact on your lives, and we are doing everything we can to support you through these challenging times.

Your health and wellbeing
Your health and wellbeing are very important to us. Please remember to visit your Health and Wellbeing hub, we have a variety of wellbeing workshops you can get involved in and our Counselling and Wellbeing team is available to all our students. We continue to offer very close support to any students who are self-isolating: visit Supporting you through self-isolation to read more.

Have you been financially impacted by COVID-19?
We have recently launched two funds for students who have been financially impacted by COVID-19:

  • the COVID-19 Financial Support Fund is if you need financial help with IT equipment, internet access, if your income has been affected by the pandemic or you are struggling to afford accommodation costs
  • the Ruskin Support Fund is available to our more vulnerable students who have been financially impacted by the pandemic.

Returning to university

The Government has stipulated that all universities continue to restrict the number of students who have face to face teaching.

Courses which could resume face to face teaching from January included medicine, subjects allied to medicine and health care, education, social work, and a small number of courses with specific Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) requirements.

From Monday 8 March the government has said that universities can resume in-person teaching for students who are studying practical or practice-based (including creative arts) subjects and require specialist equipment and facilities on campus. Please note that this will be a return to face to face teaching and learning sessions supported by online technologies. 

See the full list of courses and more information about returning to campus.

We will continue to support all students remaining on or around campus, not just those resuming face to face teaching. Our campuses remain open; for opening times please visit Student News.

Arrival of all other students to campus

The government has asked universities to pause the return of all other students at the moment to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

The government will review this decision by the end of the Easter holidays, and will consider the latest data to inform their decision. Students and universities will be given a week’s notice ahead of any further return to campus. We recognise the difficulties and disruption this may cause you and will continue to share information with you as we receive it.

We will therefore be teaching all other courses online only until further notice. This includes all teaching at ARU College. We will resume face to face teaching, for those that have opted for it, as soon as the government allows.

If you have any queries, please contact your Course Leader/Course Portfolio Leader.

EU and international students

If your course is resuming face to face teaching from Monday 8 March and you will be travelling to the UK, please note that you will need to self-isolate in the place you are staying or a quarantine hotel for the first ten days after you arrive, unless you’re travelling from an exempt country, territory or region.

See the Gov.UK website for the latest pre-departure and arrival requirements for travellers to the UK.

For all other courses, we encourage you not to travel to the UK and continue engaging with your studies online until face to face teaching on your course begins, in line with Government advice.

Visit our frequently asked questions page for more information about travelling to the UK, getting a COVID-19 test, quarantine, and studying at ARU this year. See the section 'Advice for international students'.

Universities UK also has an information page for students who are coming to the UK to study.

Students on clinical placements

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

Asymptomatic testing

One in three people with COVID-19 have no symptoms. If you are on campus we expect you to be tested regularly to keep your friends, family and our ARU community safe:

  • staff and students joining face to face teaching, or working or teaching one day a week on campus, to take a weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 lateral flow test
  • staff and students joining face to face teaching, or working or teaching more than once a week on campus, to take two tests a week.

This also applies to students living on, or within walking distance of, our campuses. Public Health England advises tests should be taken 3-5 days apart.

Students who have clinical skills sessions where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as students on medical and health courses, are asked to take a test twice a week.

Our Testing Centres are open Monday-Friday, 8.30am-5.30pm (last appointment 5.30pm) until 26 March. Appointments can be booked easily online, and take just 15 minutes.

We ask you to maintain safe behaviours across our campuses, including wearing a face covering indoors, maintain social distancing and regular hand washing.

Students and staff in Peterborough are welcome to take a test in either Cambridge or Chelmsford, or at a local testing centre. Peterborough City Council's website has details of testing centres in Peterborough and you can book a test online.

We encourage all staff and students to use the closest lateral flow testing centre to where they live.

If you receive a positive test result

If you receive a positive lateral flow test result, you must leave campus immediately and go straight to your current place of residence as quickly and as safely as possible.

If you use public transport, follow passenger guidance on how to travel safely: wear a face covering, stay two metres away from other passengers, wash or sanitise your hands regularly and follow local COVID-19 arrangements.

You can also follow additional precautions on public transport.


Your health and wellbeing

We continue to support students who are self-isolating. Your health and wellbeing is important to us, please remember to visit your Health and Wellbeing hub. We have a variety of wellbeing workshops you can get involved in and our Counselling and Wellbeing team are available to talk. We are here for you.

Creating a COVID-19 secure environment

We've worked hard to create Covid-secure campuses and manage the risk of coronavirus transmission.

We have introduced the following measures on all campuses:

  • one-way systems in campus buildings wherever possible
  • increased cleaning regimes
  • provided hand sanitiser stations around campus for your use
  • restructured the teaching timetable to stagger break times, and prevent crowds from forming outside teaching spaces
  • changed the layout of classrooms and other specialist learning spaces, such as workshops and science labs, to comply with social distancing requirements
  • switched to offering grab-and-go options at our catering outlets, and using cashless payment
  • made changes to the details we all use to access systems at ARU, so you can use the most up-to-date technology.

Supporting you academically

We're committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for you to study in. You'll be able to access campus as required and be taught in smaller groups, ensuring excellent support.

We understand that everyone’s circumstances are different due to the pandemic. And so you can choose how you prefer to study for Trimester 2 (January-May 2021). There's a choice of online only, or campus teaching supported by online technologies.

You can change your preference at set times in the year.

You'll notice a few changes so we can be sure we're following social distancing guidelines:

  • teaching blocks of four hours, on campus one day a week (for example 8am–12, 12–4pm or 4–8pm). You won't have to attend more than one teaching block on that day but you will be able to access other facilities outside your teaching block
  • campus teaching may include seminars, workshops, practicals and labs (where relevant)
  • campus teaching is supplemented by a rich range of online group teaching and learning activities delivered through Microsoft Teams, such as virtual practicals, online assessments, discussion boards and group work exercises
  • courses that use specialist learning spaces, such as skill labs, will have additional time allocated in those spaces
  • we've installed some of the specialist applications software that is normally only available in our IT teaching labs on computers in the Open Access areas to increase availability outside teaching hours
  • we've also arranged for specialist facilities to be available for booking for self-directed learning, when they're not in use for timetabled teaching
  • we've published guidelines on technical requirements for online learning.

Supporting your studies

We know how important it is that you receive excellent study support. You are able to access:

  • library resources and digital support online
  • campus libraries (with reduced opening hours and seating to allow for social distancing)
  • all student services – including counselling and wellbeing, disability and dyslexia support, employability and placement services, ARU Temps, and Study Skills – online
  • the iCentre (open on campus 10am-1pm and 1.30-4pm, Monday-Friday, or email
  • open access PC areas, with some computers available on a drop-in basis, and some bookable in advance
  • 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
  • when allowed, campus gyms will be open and Team ARU encourages you to enjoy social and competitive sports in a safe and socially distanced way
  • we’ve also provided space on campus for group and personal study, and relaxation.


Our accommodation team has put a number of social distancing measures in place.

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 choose to study online for Trimester 2 (January-May 2021) and have a tenancy agreement, your agreement will continue.

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 Student News for full details of all these changes.