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19 December 2020

Coronavirus update: London, South East and East England to enter Tier 4 restrictions

Latest government guidance


This article was updated on 29 December 2020

The UK Government has announced that London, the South East and East of England moved to new Tier 4 COVID-19 restrictions from Sunday 20 December 2020.

We know that some of our community will be concerned about what this means for you and we are sorry that plans to spend time with friends and family have been disrupted.

The start of term will begin as scheduled in January 2021. We are of course closely monitoring what is an evolving situation following the announcement of Tier 4 restrictions for London and should there be any changes to timetabling, including on-campus, face-to-face teaching with a staggered approach, or our other services, these will be communicated to our students and staff directly. We will be updating students directly if there are any changes.

Tier 4 restrictions

Everyone living in Tier 4 areas must stay at home. You can meet with one other person from another household in a public, outdoor space. People can go outdoors for unlimited exercise. Support bubbles or childcare bubbles are still allowed in Tier 4, including over Christmas, and education settings such as universities, schools and nurseries will remain open in Tier 4.

Only essential retail shops, including supermarkets will now remain open in these areas. All others must now close including:

  • Indoor leisure, including gyms
  • Indoor entertainment, including cinemas
  • Personal care, including hairdressers and nail bars
  • Non essential retail

The Government guidance also advises that people outside of Tier 4 not to enter Tier 4 except for essential education and work.

Residents in Tier 4 must not stay overnight away from home.

In addition, people living in Tier 4 areas are advised not to travel internationally although the Department for Education has advised that students can travel home once from 3 December 2020 to 7 February 2021.

More information on the Tier 4 restrictions is available on the government website.

On campus activities

The university is now closed for the winter break, with no classes or teaching until Monday 4 January 2021. Students and staff can still travel to and from our campuses for essential education and work over the winter break. For more information on what is available on campus during the winter break, including opening hours for libraries and Informal Learning Spaces, please visit Student Services Online.

For students and staff coming to campus, please continue to adhere to the health and safety measures in place, including wearing a face covering (unless exempt), following safe distancing and regularly washing your hands.

Students in residences

We are continuing to support our students staying and arriving in our residences over the winter break. our resident welfare leads are available should students need support.

Our ResiLife team will be hosting three sessions a week to help students stay connected with other residents. The calendar of events is available online, with more details also available on our Instagram @kingsresilife. Students can also join our Microsoft Team site for the latest updates on events.

The Student Union are hosting the Global Lounge virtually this year which is another great way to meet other students, have a chat and enjoy some fun activities during the holidays.

The King’s sports team are running a festive on-line timetable including yoga, bootcamps as well as connected wellness sessions.

Testing for students and staff

We are continuing to offer testing over the winter break via our KCL TEST – COVID 19 research study. You can register online to take part.

From 2 January we will continue testing as part of the national testing programme for universities. We are using Lateral Flow Tests and tests are free.

We expect students to take regular COVID-19 tests. Also, when you arrive in London for the start of term and before you start on campus face-to-face teaching or use any of our on campus study spaces or services, we expect you to take COVID-19 tests. Booking slots are now available from 2 January 2021.

You must keep following all the safety guidelines to protect yourself and others, even if you test negative.

Staying connected and supported

We have a range of support and advice available for students over the winter break.

We encourage staff who are feeling anxious to contact the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), a free confidential service available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Protecting your health and telling us if you are unwell

If you experience coronavirus symptoms, please do not come to campus and follow the NHS advice to book a test and please fill out the King’s Self-Isolation form so we can support you. Please also be aware that the self-isolation period for close contacts has changed to 10 days.

We will continue to keep students and staff updated with the latest government guidance.