Latest information on Covid-19 and autumn plans

Working together to keep our campus and Winchester safe

As the University for Sustainability and Social Justice, the continued health, welfare and safety of our students, staff and global community is our number one priority as we all continue to tackles the challenges brought about by coronavirus (Covid-19). The information and frequently asked questions below are designed to provide information to our current and future students, staff, and the wider community. The University is continuing to respond to the Government’s latest guidance and therefore information and guidelines are subject to change. 

Page last updated: 24 September 2020

Report symptoms. self-isolation or gatherings

If you are a student or member of staff self-isolating because someone you live with has symptoms, or you have been instructed to self-isolate by the University or NHS Track and Trace

If you believe a gathering is planned or has happened with over 6 people (inside or outside) that breaks the Government and University regulations


Our campus is open, with teaching via a blended approach

Our campus is open and we are welcoming new and returning students onto campus and into student accommodation from September. We have put in place a range of appropriate social distancing measures to ensure our students and staff are safe – please see more details below under ‘Safety measures on campus’.

The academic year is started on Monday 21 September as planned, with the week 12-18 September as Arrivals and Welcome Week. Students received their teaching timetable by 11 September outlining when and where their taught sessions will be happening this semester.

The government’s guidance on 9 September limiting social gatherings to no more than 6 people does not include the provision of education, so face-to-face teaching will go ahead as planned in a socially distant manner. 

We will constantly update our guidelines and practices based on the latest government guidance. 


Your learning experience

For the 2020/21 academic year, we will be delivering teaching via a blended approach - a combination of small group, on-campus sessions with large group teaching taking place online. Most of our courses are already taught in small group settings such as seminars, workshops and tutorials, so we are in a good position to accommodate any social distancing measures set out in national guidelines. The teaching on each course will be dynamic and interactive, making the most of the time students have working with staff and peers in person and online.

Over recent years, the way students study at university has become a blend of classroom-based and online teaching, where traditional practices have developed with the use of online teaching and learning tools. Winchester has for many years made use of a “virtual learning environment” that comprises some of the best online educational tools available. This web-based platform integrates with other services - like Microsoft Teams - and popular social networking and educational tools to create a personalised and interactive learning space.  It allows students to receive course materials, interact with tutors, share resources, collaborate with fellow students and submit work. It is also the link to a university wide community, where you can access support and get involved in a wide variety of different activities. A Quick Guide to Blended Learning

The wider university experience

Socialising and having a fun and safe student experience is important, providing all safety guidelines are followed. Visit Winchester Student Union’s events calendar on and explore a range of extra-curricular opportunities from sports to societies to volunteering, on

The Student Union has given an update on the operation of their sports, societies and representational networks in light on this change of government guidance on 9 September. See Winchester Student Union’s update here.

We will constantly update our guidelines and practices based on the latest government guidance. 

Supporting our students

We have always been passionate about providing a supportive and inclusive environment to help all students flourish and this has never been more true than in our approach to this academic year. All of our student support services, including mental health and disability support together with careers advice, will be available from September both on campus or online as appropriate.

Winchester Student Union will continue to provide exceptional student-led and student-delivered services to support your student experience: representing your voice; supporting you in your learning and welfare; and helping you access necessary and suitable welfare support.

On campus facilities

Our variety of on campus facilities will be open whenever and wherever we are able to do so safely:

Libraries: As of 1 September, both the Martial Rose Library and our new facility in the West Downs Centre are now open for all current students and staff, 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday until the start of term when hours will increase. Anyone visiting, please can you make yourself known at the Library Desk for an orientation of the new building layout and regulations - this includes wearing a face covering and adhering to social distancing at all times in our spaces. For the latest  information on opening times and library resources, students and staff should visit the library intranet pages.

Catering outlets: Catering outlets across both the King Algred and West Downs Quarters are open. View opening times of catering outlets on the intranet page here.

University Gym:  The Gym will be available for use via a booking system (Call the Gym instructors during opening times to book your space – 01962 827650 – option 1.) Each training session will last 1 hour and will be supervised by our team of qualified Health & Fitness Instructors. At the end of every training session the gym will close for 30 minutes for a deep clean. Gym members will be allowed to book their gym session 48 hours in advance, with a maximum of 3 sessions per week, per member. The current gym capacity is 15 members at any one time. Find out more about the Gym and other sports facilities on the intranet here.

Spiritual Wellbeing and Chaplaincy: The Spiritual Wellbeing and Chaplaincy team exists to support everyone in the University, including through the on campus Chapel. Muslim Prayer Room and Contemplation Space in the West Downs Centre. For more information on the support available, visit the Chaplaincy and Spiritual Wellbeing page here.

Winchester Student Union: Winchester Student Union is running a wide range of events and extra-curricular opportunities both within their venues and online. Head to the Winchester Student Union website for more information.

Staff return to campus

From September, the locus of University life will shift from many staff working from home to now many staff working on campus. Individual departments and managers are working with their teams to establish the date and logistics of returning to campus to work, as many offices are now at reduced capacity to enable social distancing. To accommodate these social distancing measures, there may be a rotation of staff combining working from home with working on campus.

For full information, staff should see the Guidance on Return to Working on Campus in Academic Year 2020/21 document.

Health and Wellbeing

Latest government and NHS guidance

Everyone needs to follow the latest government and NHS guidance on health and public safety. Please see the latest government advice here.

Face coverings

At the University of Winchester, we expect staff and students to wear face coverings:

  • moving through all University buildings (corridors and stairwells etc.) including student accommodation.
  • in all food outlets (except in designated eating areas), shops, non-classroom social learning spaces and the multimedia centre (MMC).
  • in the libraries when moving around in the space, but not when sitting at a socially distant study/reading desk.

Face coverings are not required to be worn in most teaching rooms, seminar rooms and offices where social distancing measures have been put in place (such as socially distanced desks). 

Face coverings may not be worn by staff when teaching for reasons of accessibility.  Teaching staff will be provided with face shields.

Specific measures for certain spaces may apply (performance, labs, etc.) which will be clearly advised in those spaces.

Exemptions from wearing face coverings

The University recognises that for certain reasons some people are unable to wear face coverings.  Where staff and students are unable to wear face coverings they are encouraged to demonstrate this by carrying an exemption card or downloading one to their mobile phone (available here).

For more information on face coverings, see our Face Coverings - Guidance for Students and Staff 8.9.20

Do you have symptoms?

Get tested before coming to university if you or someone in your household has symptoms

If you or someone in your household currently have coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) you must get tested before coming to university. DO NOT come to the University if you have any of these symptoms, get tested and complete one of the following forms:

We will follow up with you once we receive your completed form. You can still engage with Welcome Week activity and your course from distance if you have to self-isolate.

Once you are at Winchester, if you have symptoms you need to:

If you test positive, you must follow the advice you are given and self-isolate. Please also report to the University via the above links. Reach out if you need help either via Student Services or if you are University-Managed housing, via the Housing team.

Phone your GP or 111 if your symptoms are severe.

Potential higher-risk categories

If you are a student and you believe you are in a potentially higher-risk category and are concerned or anxious about this, please contact our Student Services team directly on   

All staff who are in categories that may mean they are at higher risk should complete a Covid-19 Risk Assessment for Staff in Higher Risk Categories ahead of their return to campus working.

NHS Track and Trace

If you are contacted through the NHS Track and Trace scheme, please do follow any and all guidance that you are given.

If you need to self-isolate based on the guidance of Track and Trace, please do complete the forms above as appropriate in order to inform the University.

Mental wellbeing

We know we are all living in extraordinary times and this can impact on our mental health and wellbeing in a variety of ways. Our Student Services team is here to support you with all aspects of your welfare and general wellbeing both on campus and online, including through individual appointments and a huge range of resources. You can see the support available and how to book an appointment on

Safety Measures on Campus

We are following the latest Public Health England and government guidelines and have put in place a wide range of safety measures across our campus including:

  • Socially-distanced seats and workstations across campus
  • Clear signage
  • Enhanced cleaning systems
  • One-way systems and plastic barriers in appropriate areas
  • Widespread hand sanitiser and cleaning stations
  • Blended learning to eliminate large gatherings
  • Introducing a Covid Campus Safety Team
  • Capacity assessments of each room and venue on campus to enable social distancing for students and staff
  • Face covering guidance, including the provision of face shields for teaching staff
  • Covid-19 training for all staff ahead of their return to campus working

Deans and Directors have been working directly with the Estates and Facilities team to plan the usage of each space on campus appropriately.

All students have received a copy of 'Working together to keep campus and Winchester safe: Covid guidelines for students'.

It is really important that all staff and students take all safety measures seriously. In order to protect us all, ignoring or refusing to follow government guidelines and regulations will result in disciplinary action, including potential suspension of studies for students.

We will all need to:

  • Practise social distancing
  • Wear a face covering as appropriate including when moving through all University buildings, ordering in all food outlets, and when in social learning spaces (for full advice see our Face Coverings - Guidance for Students and Staff 8.9.20
  • Wash our hands regularly for 20 seconds using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser, and cover coughs and sneezes
  • Follow all government, NHS and Univesrity guidance and regulations. All University guidance is subject to change in line with the latest government advice. Visit for the latest government advice.
  • Remember that socialising and having an fun and safe student experience is still important. Visit the Winchester Student Union events calendar and explore a range of extra-curricular opportunities
  • Only socialise indoors with members of up to two households and no more than six people – this includes when dining out or going to the pub.
  • Only socialise outdoors in a group of up to six people.

You cannot meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6, whether indoors or outdoors. This rule doesn’t apply to individual households (so if 7 students live in a flat, you can interact) or to education provision, so face-to-face seminars or teaching will still go ahead as planned in a socially distant manner. This ‘rule of 6’ is enforceable by law from 14 September.

Travel and International Guidance

Travelling to campus

Everyone must follow the latest government guidance on travel when planning your transport to campus. If you can travel to campus on foot or bicycle, this is encouraged.

Arriving from a country with quarantine requirements

If you are arriving from a country with quarantine requirements and need to self-isolate, you need to ensure you follow all of the instructions of how to self-isolate.

If you are self-isolating you need to make us aware of your circumstances by emailing  You must ensure you self-isolate for the full quarantine period. Please keep your boarding pass or other evidence of your return to England so your return date can be established if needs be.

If you need any help or support while self-isolating, contact our Student Advice team on

International students

If you are an international student and have any concerns around your visa or immigration status, or would like support for issues like homesickness, please get in touch with our International Student Adviser on  

Our Community

Working together to protect Winchester

We are proud to support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic. We provided campus accommodation this spring and summer to frontline staff who were unable to stay in their own homes and car parking spaces to those working at our neighbouring Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

We also donated acetate sheets to the Hospital which were used to make single-use face guards for HHFT staff. Read more about our support for the NHS here.

As our students return to Winchester, we are working closely with our community partners, including Winchester City Council and the Police the city to ensure that we have a coordinated approach to our students and staff following all public safety guidance, including social distancing.

We are in regular communication with our students and have outlined that ignoring or refusing to follow government guidelines and regulations will result in disciplinary action, including potential suspension from studies.

Public events are continuing to happen online and we would love for members of the community to attend.  Please keep an eye on the events page of our website for the latest events listings.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is there financial hardship support for students available?

We have a Student Support Fund which is available for full-time and part-time UK students experiencing exceptional, unforeseen hardship, including as a result of the global pandemic. For more information on our Student Support Fund, please contact Student Services on 01962 827341 or email​

What if teaching or the opening of campus needs to change in response to latest public health or government advice?

We have plans in place should there need to be any changes to the delivery of teaching, opening of facilities, or actions of students or staff. We are working closely with the Local Authorities on planning for eventualities. Any changes will be communicated to staff and students.

What is happening with Graduation 2020?

We firmly believe graduation is one of life’s great moments, a real celebration. As such, it is our intention to give our 2020 graduating students the full experience, shaking the hand of the Chancellor, Alan Titchmarsh, together with your fellow graduates, in Winchester Cathedral. Unfortunately, the restrictions on mass gatherings and social distancing requirements due the Covid-19 pandemic mean our Graduation Ceremonies cannot take place this October.

However, we are pleased to say that we have secured the week beginning 24 May 2021, to hold graduation ceremonies in Winchester Cathedral. Further details of the time and date of each ceremony will follow. This will of course be dependent on government public health advice and guidance at the time. We will keep you informed as early as possible of any changes. For any questions on graduation, please email 

I haven’t been receiving student emails, what can I do?

If you are a current or incoming student but haven’t been receiving emails from us, please double check your spam folder in the first instance.

If you can’t seem to find any emails from us, please contact our Registry team on with your name and 7-digit student number so we can sort this for you.

Do you have a question not answered here?

Get in touch with us via the purple 'Ask' live chat function.