COVID-19 UPDATE

Updated 26/05/2020

We understand that the current situation is causing a lot of uncertainty and changing on a daily basis. We have outlined the answers to some frequently asked questions below.

 

STUDENTS WITH A BOOKING FOR THE 20/21 ACADEMIC YEAR

 

Book with total flexibility
We understand that the current situation is causing a lot of uncertainty for students who plan to start studying in the UK this September. You can have confidence in your existing booking or new application with our flexible booking policy*. Find out more here. 

*Policy applicable to specified properties

STUDENT CURRENTLY LIVING WITH US

 

Please note the following official statement from Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Universities:

“The Government’s advice is that students remaining at university should now stay where they are and not attempt to travel. If you are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation, you should remain there and stay indoors while current restrictions are in force.  As the Prime Minister said, staying put and remaining indoors is a crucial step now to slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed, and save the lives of fellow citizens”

Click here for the government published advice on staying at home.

When can I collect my belongings?

We know you may be keen to collect your belongings and clear your room. We have been working on a plan to take the appropriate steps to ensure our arrangements take the health and safety of all parties into account and spaces are prepared for social distancing. We will then get in touch with you to make you aware of the process and next steps. Please be aware that arriving at site without prior agreement may result in you being unable to access site or your room.


Will my halls remain open?
All Downing Students properties will remain open. Our service levels will be adjusted in line with government safety recommendations. Please bear with us during this time. Our upmost priority is to ensure the safety of our residents and staff

Why have you taken the decision to remain open?
For many students, our accommodation is their primary home and our buildings still have a very high level of occupation. The well-being of our students and staff is our absolute priority, and ensuring we are able to continue to provide all our students with access to safe, secure managed accommodation is essential.

If I decide to leave, can I re-let my room?
We are currently unable to accept 201920 ‘in year’ bookings due to the current pandemic. This means that students are unable to re-let 2019/20 tenancies. This will be reviewed on a regular basis.

How will my student finance be affected?
Student Finance England are following their standard process for payments and the third semester payment should not be affected at this time. They have confirmed that “students will receive their scheduled or next instalment of their maintenance loan at the planned start of their summer term, regardless of whether their university or provider has made alternative arrangements for teaching.”

SAAS will endeavour to fund students on time. The latest information is available on SAAS social media channels.

Who do I contact about my rental payments?
If you have a query about your rental payments, email payments@downing.com
If you are experiencing difficulty when your next payment is due please contact us so that we can help you.

How can I contact the halls team?
You can view the contact details for all Downing Students sites here. If you have any general enquiries please email info@downingstudents.com

What should I do if I am self-isolating?
If you have symptoms (High temperature, continuous cough etc.) You should self-isolate for 7 days. You don’t need to visit your GP or call 111 at this point. Please follow the below advice in line with Public Health England’s recommendations:

  • Stay in your flat unless told otherwise by health authorities.
  • Let the halls team know by phone or email that you are self-isolating.
  • Call 111 if your symptoms get worse or do not improve after 7 days and you cannot cope with them alone. In an emergency, call 999.
  • Do not go into university, work or public areas
  • Do not use public transport or taxis
  • Don’t come into direct contact with anyone bringing you supplies or deliveries, ask for them to be left at your door.
  • Stay away from friends or flatmates.
  • Make sure all of your rubbish is disposed of properly.
  • Keep in regular contact with friends and family by phone or video call.
  • Avoid using common areas in your accommodation.
  • In the event of an emergency, please evacuate the building as you would normally, but where possible, keep at least 2 meters away from other people.

What should I do if I have recently returned from another country?
If you have been away and develop a high temperature and/or new cough, you should self-isolate for 7 days and follow the self-isolation advice as listed above.

 

WHAT ACTION ARE DOWNING STUDENTS TAKING?

 

Visitors
We ask all tenants to be mindful of the number of visitors they have visiting them within the accommodation, and where possible not to have any visitors that do not live on site at present. Please ensure all visitors maintain vigilant with personal hygiene and regularly wash their hands, especially when they arrive, and please advise anyone suffering from even mild symptoms to stay at home as per the current advice.

Common Rooms & Gyms
These will remain closed from 8am on Wednesday 18th March 2020. We understand this will be disappointing, but we must prioritise the health of all residents and staff. The common rooms in properties which have laundry rooms which can only be accessed via the common room will remain open for laundry access only. (City Point & New Park).

Reception
Staff will be onsite to assist our residents.

Parcels/Deliveries
As of 8am on Wednesday 18th March 2020 we will not accept parcels. Please arrange for parcels to be delivered by carriers directly to your flat or use services such as amazon locker and click and collect.  We will not accept food deliveries at reception and would encourage you to nominate a friend to collect deliveries on your behalf if you are self-isolating.

Reporting Maintenance
We would ask you to report maintenance via the student portal. We will attend any urgent maintenance requests as soon as possible. Requests deemed non-urgent may not be carried out within the usual timeframes.

Events

Whilst we are unable to hold events in our social spaces we continue to run virtual events which are available to all our residents.  Further information regarding these events can be found here.

WIFI
It is likely that we will see a spike in internet usage over this period, due to this we would advise a hard-wired connection to devices where possible for a more stable connection.

Common Areas within Flats
Everyone is responsible for the cleanliness of the communal areas within your flats, please ensure these are kept to a high standard. Please also ensure you use only your own crockery, clean and disinfect all surfaces after use including the floor and regularly empty the bins.

Further guidance on cleanliness can be found here

Going Away
If you are going away from the residence (say for Easter Holidays), please inform the management team via email or telephone. If you have any queries, please contact the team and they will do their best to assist.

Self-Isolating
If you are self-isolating, please inform the management team via email or telephone and they will try and help where possible.

We are confident that by working together, remaining attentive and prioritising critical services we can work through this unsettling time positively, and we thank you for your support. We would actively encourage you all to continue following advice and guidelines from the UK Government and Public Health.

Contacting Staff
Should you need to contact any of the staff we would encourage you to do this via telephone or email and a member of the team will respond as soon as possible.

 

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