Dec 27 2020
On Saturday 19 December the Government announced that areas including London and Surrey are now in the new Tier 4. This does not impact the start of term, which is Monday 11 January 2021, our plans for a phased return to face-to-face teaching, or the services available on campus, although it does impact sport. More information about term two teaching is here.
In response to this escalation, and the increased number of cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) across the wider population, every student is now required to complete two free lateral flow tests (LFT) within the first few days of coming back to campus, whether you live on campus, near to campus or commute to campus.
LFT are free, quick and simple to take
Receiving two negative LFT means you, the people you live with and the people you study with can be more confident that, on your return to campus, you were not infected with Covid-19. Knowing your status means you are playing your part to help minimise the spread of the pandemic.
You can book a test here for our Egham campus, testing is available from Thursday 7 January 2021.
If you study at our London campus you can book your test here. Testing begins on Tuesday 5 January 2021. 
I am writing to you about testing now so that you can book your test in good time for your return to campus. I also want you to be aware that, if you do not take part in the LFT programme, you will be expected to self-isolate for ten days at home prior to coming to campus. So, for example, if you plan to arrive on campus on Saturday 9 January 2021, you will need to begin your self-isolation on Wednesday 30 December 2020. You can find out more about how to self-isolate here. The Government has advised that it is acceptable for you to self-isolate for ten days and then travel to campus on public transport, as long as you follow the social distancing and hygiene rules for travel on public transport. 
We will require students who do not take part in the LFT programme to also complete a self-declaration form which explains why they are exempt from taking LFT.  You can find the self-declaration form and information about exemptions here
During term one we supported over 1,000 students through self-isolation. I understand that some of you may be daunted by the prospect of returning to campus and perhaps having to self-isolate, and this may be making you consider whether you should return to campus. We continue to believe that the face-to-face, on campus, teaching that we are able to provide, and studying in an academic environment will help you to succeed in your studies. We have worked hard to create a covid-secure campus and a report before Christmas by the Office for National Statistics found that there was minimal evidence of transmission happening in face-to-face learning environments, such as lecture theatres. If you test positive for Covid-19 and you and your student household need to isolate, please be reassured that we will support you. You can read here about the support we will provide.
I realise that the start of term is still a few weeks away and we will write to you again on Wednesday 6 January 2021 with a reminder about testing and the start of term two. The news that every student is required to take LFT is a strong message to send, and I appreciate it might be uncomfortable to hear. However, the situation in relation to Covid-19 has changed significantly and we need to play our part and respond accordingly.
If you have any questions or concerns about term two, or would like more information on testing, please go to our Information Hub on the student intranet. 
Professor Paul Layzell
Royal Holloway, University of London