Covid-19: Living Together Safely

Government guidance on staying safe and protecting others is likely to develop throughout the term and it is important to keep up to date with the latest requirements on the Welsh Government website.

Anxieties Moving In

It is understandable that, in light of the pandemic, you may have some anxieties about moving into a new property. As of July 2020, you may move into a new property and view properties in person under the amended Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

Welsh Government advice states that you should maintain a safe 2 metre social distance during the moving process. If you are moving in with new housemates, you should all agree to maintain this social distance. All those involved in the moving process must follow government advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus. No one should attend any property or meet with anyone outside of their household if they have symptoms, have been in contact with someone self-isolating or have been told to self-isolate.

If you are Shielding

Welsh Government advice states that clinically vulnerable and shielded individuals should ‘carefully consider their personal situation and the circumstances of their own move’, and that those individuals ‘may wish to seek medical advice before committing to moving home’. The Welsh Government encourages those who are vulnerable or shielding to make those involved with the move aware of their status - this includes landlords, any contractors (electricians, plumbers) that may be in and out of the property and other housemates.

If you are arriving from outside the UK

The latest Welsh Government guidance, updated 21 September 2020, How to self isolate when you travel to Wales: Coronavirus (COVID-19), gives very clear information on self-isolation and does allow you to move in with others. Very importantly, it also says that you

"should isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others. You must isolate at the address you provided on the Passenger Locator Form.

This can include:

  • your own home
  • staying with friends or family
  • a hotel or other temporary accommodation

You should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential care. The only friends and family who you can have contact with are those who travelled with you or people who you are staying with."

When to Self-Isolate

Self-isolation is different to social distancing and shielding and is a necessary course of action if you might have, or have, Coronavirus. When you are self-isolating, you must not leave your home, even for University, work, purchasing essentials or exercise.

Welsh Government advice states that moving home is ‘not appropriate’ if you pose a direct risk of spreading the virus. People who have coronavirus or are self-isolating with their family member, household or extended household should not leave their home to either move home, or undertake property viewings and should strictly follow the self-isolation guidance and apply for a test.

The advice also states that if you are contractually obliged to move home, you should delay the move until all members of your household have finished their period of self-isolation.

Presenting with Symptoms?

If you are presenting symptoms of Covid-19 you should get a test as soon as possible and certainly within five days of the symptoms occurring. The symptoms of Covid-19 outlined by the NHS are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough,
  • A loss of change to your sense of smell or taste.

If you have symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 you must self-isolate for at least 10 days. If your housemate or someone from your ‘support bubble’ has tested positive for Covid-19, or is displaying the symptoms listed above, you must self-isolate for 14 days. Should a housemate develop Covid-19 symptoms during the 14-day period, the isolation period for the rest of the household does not need to be extended. The individual in questions should isolate for a further 10 days from the time that the symptoms began.

If you are the person presenting with symptoms of Covid-19 it is important that you make those that you have socialised with aware that this is the case. In University accommodation, you may want to reduce the contact between yourself and residences staff by posting a notice on your flat door to advise non-tenants not to enter.

The NHS guidance currently states that anyone who is not in your household may not need to self-isolate unless they are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service, but they should diligently follow social distancing advice.

We currently understand that it is possible for coronavirus symptoms to occur again, in which case you should resume the same self-isolation measures outlined above.

If you need support collecting shopping or medicine when you are self-isolating, you may be able to seek help from an NHS Volunteer. If you are staying in Cardiff, you can also contact Cardiff City Council on +44(0)2920 871 071 to get help if you are unable to leave your accommodation and need essential items.

Most UK supermarkets will deliver food and other items either for free or for a low fee. If you are using these services, you can usually submit your order online. If you’re only buying the basics, take a look at the CO-OP’s On-demand groceries or Sainsbury’s Chop-chop app for a quick delivery. Otherwise, other services continue to provide their online services, however given the circumstances delivery slots may be competitive so it is sensible to plan orders a few weeks in advance if possible.

Managing Symptoms

As listed above, there are very specific symptoms that indicate the presence of Covid-19. Below is the NHS guidance on how to manage these symptoms if they occur:

  • A high temperature
    • Rest
    • Drink lots of water (more than usual) so that you stay hydrated
    • Take ibuprofen or paracetamol if you are struggling
  • A new, continuous cough
    • Avoid laying on your back, lie on your side or upright instead
    • Try a teaspoon of honey

If you are struggling with managing your symptoms, we would strongly advise you to contact a GP or pharmacist for advice. You should only do this by phone as you and members of your household should self-isolate while you recover.

If the symptoms get worse, you should seek medical help. In this case, we strongly advise you to contact the NHS 111 online Coronavirus Service,

Keep Your Housemates Safe

It is our current understanding that Covid-19 is spread mainly through close person-to-person contact. Ultimately, to avoid spreading the symptoms to those you live with, it is important that you try to stay away from them as much as possible for the duration you are self-isolating.

This could include:

  • Staying in your own room with your door closed;
  • Avoid using shared spaces at the same time;
  • Avoid using shared furniture such as sofas, beanbags or beds.
  • Use a separate bathroom, or if this isn’t possible, clean the bathroom every time you use it.
  • Use individual towels, including hand towels and tea towels.

It is our current understanding that reception desk services in University Residences are closed at this time. The University has asked that you contact your residences team via email if you have an outstanding enquiry, including any maintenance issues you are experiencing.

If you are ordering a postal delivery, you must give the specific details of your residence so it can be delivered to you directly.

The cleaning of communal areas has been paused while restrictions are in place; it is important to keep your accommodation clean to prevent illness. Please see our ‘Keeping Your Property Clean’ advice below.

Staying Hygienic

To reduce the spread of infection in your home, we would advise you to follow the NHS guidance and maintain the following hygiene measures:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards (See cleaning advice below)
  • Clean objects and surfaces you touch often (such as door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products (See cleaning advice below)
  • Keep windows open in the room you're staying in and shared spaces as much as possible
  • Consider wearing a face covering when in shared spaces

Government guidance states that in most cases face masks must be worn in all public areas except from in bars or eating establishments.

Keeping Your Property Clean

If you are concerned about the risk of contracting coronavirus, you may feel more inclined to keep your property clean and tidy. You don’t need to purchase niche, top-end cleaning products to keep your property safe during this time; your average detergent and bleach should be enough to remove the virus from indoor surfaces.

During this time, it is sensible to regularly clean surfaces, especially those that are touched frequently, such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and kitchen surfaces.

Again, if possible, the NHS recommends tenants using separate bathrooms, but we realise for most students this would be a luxury. Instead, we would advise you to clean a shared bathroom every time you use it. Be careful to wipe down the surfaces that you have touched regularly.

We would also advise students to be weary when disposing of rubbish. Cleaning cloths and personal waste can be disposed of and stored in standard rubbish bags, but the Government guidance recommends that this waste is put aside for 72 hours prior to being put in an external household waste bin.

Part of the Community

If you are moving to Cardiff to study, welcome to the local community!

During your stay here, we encourage you to consider other residents in Roath, Cathays and the wider city. You may not consider yourself ‘vulnerable’ in line with the Government guidance, but there are many people in the local community who are. We would strongly advise you to remain mindful in the local area, shops and venues.

We are expecting government guidance to develop throughout the term, and students should be taking it upon themselves to ensure that they are following the rules where they can. Be mindful that, if you breach the rules and someone complains to the University, they may choose to implement disciplinary procedures that could affect your academic career.

For your awareness, the Welsh Government Guidance states that organising an unlicensed music event of more than 30 people is a specific criminal offence. A breach of this legislation could result in a fixed penalty notice for £10,000, or can be punishable by conviction and an unlimited fine. We understand that upon arriving in, or returning to, Cardiff there are lots of people to meet or friends to catch up with, and there may be a lot of temptation to host a housewarming party. Unfortunately, this is currently prohibited by the Welsh Government and you may be subject to legal action, in addition to disciplinary action by the University.

Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410