COVID-19 travel information

Spring Term arrangements

The start of Spring Term

Rising COVID-19 transmission rates require us to act swiftly to limit the spread of the virus.  We are very sorry that our plans have had to change and we know that this new situation will have an impact on our students. 

We wrote to all students in December and January to outline teaching arrangements for this Spring Term. On 30 December 2020 the UK Government wrote to all English universities following rising cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) across parts of England, evidence about a new variant and the extension of Tier 4 restrictions to a number of regions of the country. 

The Government requires universities to restrict the number of students allowed to start face-to-face teaching to a limited number of subjects, which include: 

  • nursing  
  • allied health professions (excluding SRES)
  • oral health 
  • social work
  • physiotherapy

Teaching will resume as timetabled for these courses.

All students on courses not included on the list, regrettably, are not permitted by the Government to return to the University for face-to-face teaching until at least themiddle of February 2021.

Teaching will therefore continue online only from the start of the Spring Term on 18 January. Our 'dual delivery' approach enables us to move between online and face-to-face as circumstances require. We can be flexible and respond quickly to external changes and government requirements such as those announced this week. 

As soon as we have further Government guidance this we will review our arrangements again and will provide further information about returning to our campuses. 


Returning to accommodation

The Government has also made clear that students should not return to their term time accommodation at this point, without a compelling reason. Examples of compelling reasons are:

  • you are an international student who has remained in the UK or have arrived and do not have alternative accommodation  
  • you do not have access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in your vacation accommodation  
  • you have remained in your university accommodation over the winter break 
  • you need additional support, including with mental health issues  
  • you are on a placement where the placement provider has COVID secure measures in place, is permitted to open based on the relevant local restrictions and is content for placements to continue

We appreciate that these arrangements will create particular challenges for care leavers, estranged students, international students and those for whom studying from home may be difficult. It has also been difficult for our students who have stayed on campus or are living alone in the university areas. If you need to speak to someone, help and support is availablehelp and support is availablehelp and support is available.

University accommodation

Students who have not yet moved into University accommodation, either because they have deferred occupancy or have paused their tenancy during the Autumn Term, will only pay accommodation charges for the Spring Term when they move in. Contact for more information.

COVID-19 testing and self-isolation


During January we will be running an increased number of clinicsincreased number of clinicsincreased number of clinics and we ask our community to be tested more frequently during this period. By increasing the frequency of testing we hope to allow our students to safely return and protect those who have remained on campus during the break.

To ensure we are COVID secure, any student not wishing to be tested during this period will need to self-isolate for 10 days before accessing any of our campuses. Therefore, you will be asked in the first week you return to campus to take two tests, three days apart. After your first week back it is suggested that you have a test weekly.


Any student who has tested positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for 10 days before travel in the vacation.

If you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, or if you have been made aware that you are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, you must isolate for a 10-day period.

If you are a close contact of a positive case and you wish to travel during the vacation period, you will need to have a negative antigen test or a negative PCR test before you travel. You will still need to self-isolate for a 10-day period at your destination. If you develop symptoms in the 10-day period you will need to arrange for an NHS COVID-19 test.

If you are sharing a house with others at your destination, they will not need to self-isolate unless you develop symptoms. We have developed a full programme of self-isolation support.

Students who are required to isolate should let us know by email

Travelling by public transport

If you need to use public transport to travel, find out what options you have:

Travelling from Colchester Campus

Travelling to Stansted Airport

  1. Take a bus or taxi from the University of Essex Colchester Campus at Wivenhoe Park. to Colchester (North Station).
  2. Take an overground train (Greater Anglia) from Colchester North Station to Liverpool Street.
  3. Take an overground train (Stansted Express) to Stansted Airport

Travelling to Heathrow Airport

  1. Take a bus or taxi from the University of Essex Colchester Campus at Wivenhoe Park. to Colchester (North Station).
  2. Take an overground train (Greater Anglia) from Colchester North Station to Liverpool Street.
  3. Take an underground train (TfL) via the Circle (yellow) or Hammersmith & City (pink) line from Liverpool Street to Paddington or King’s Cross St Pancras station
  4. Take an overground train from Paddington station OR take an underground train (dark blue & white striped line) to Heathrow Airport. From Kings Cross St Pancras Station use the underground train Piccadilly (dark blue) line to Heathrow Airport.

Travelling to Gatwick Airport

  1. Take a bus or taxi from the University of Essex Colchester Campus at Wivenhoe Park. to Colchester (North Station).
  2. Take an overground train (Greater Anglia) from Colchester North Station to Liverpool Street.
  3. Take an underground train (TfL) via the Circle (yellow) line from Liverpool Street station to Victoria station.
  4. Take the Gatwick Express (overground) directly from Victoria station to Gatwick Airport OR take an overground (Southern Rail or Thameslink) train from Victoria to Gatwick Airport.

Travelling to Luton Airport

  1. Take a bus or taxi from the University of Essex Colchester Campus at Wivenhoe Park. to Colchester (North Station).
  2. Take an overground train (Greater Anglia) from Colchester North Station to Liverpool Street.
  3. Take an underground train (TfL) via the Circle (yellow) or Hammersmith & City (pink) line from Liverpool Street station to King’s Cross St Pancras.
  4. Take an overground train (Thameslink) from King’s Cross St Pancras to Luton Airport

Travelling from Southend Campus

Travelling from Loughton Campus

Rules when travelling on public transport

When you travel, you should follow the Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers:

  • wear a face covering unless exempt
  • keep your distance from people from other households when you travel, where possible
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  • avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • download the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible, and check in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters
  • book ahead wherever possible.

Travelling by car

If you are travelling by private vehicle you should try to avoid car sharing with anyone outside your household or support bubble and should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers to reduce the risk of transmission where this is not possible.

Travelling abroad or returning to the UK

If you are planning to travel abroad or are returning to the UK, please follow the Government's latest foreign travel guidance. You can also email if you have any questions.

Students on Erasmus+ exchanges

Travel to and from regions affected by COVID-19 may have to be postponed or cancelled, and participants should speak to their provider in case alternative arrangements are necessary. Where this travel is funded through the Erasmus+ or European Solidarity Corps programmes, the Force Majeure clause in your contract may apply. See the National Agency’s website for more information.

International students

Leaving the UK to study remotely from overseas

If you came to the UK to study but would now like to return home to study remotely from overseas, the UK government have confirmed that this will be regarded as ‘essential travel’ and you can travel to your UK departure destination. Please ensure that you follow the UK government guidelines relating to COVID-19. You should also check what restrictions are in place in the country you will travel to.

Before you make arrangements to leave the UK please ensure that you have done the following:

  • completed your registration by attending an in-person right to study check and;
  • change your study location to remote by completing the Student Study Form on your MyEssex portal. If you have in person teaching scheduled, check with your department if you can study remotely instead.
  • check when your in-person teaching is due to start next term and make plans to be back in time to attend, don’t forget you may have to quarantine when you get back.

For students with a Tier 4 or Student visa you should also:

  • collect your BRP (if you originally applied for entry clearance overseas and haven’t already done so) and;
  • if your Entry Clearance or UKVI decision letter states “Police Registration” you must register with the Police unless your local Police Force has suspended Police Registration. If you live in Essex, you won’t be able to register as Essex Police have suspended new registrations and confirmed it in writing, go to our website to download a copy of their letter so that you can show it to UK Border Force when you travel back into the UK.
  • if you haven’t completed your right to study check and/or have been unable to collect your BRP, please contact our International Services team.

Please be aware that we are required to monitor the academic engagement of all our sponsored students (immigration) even when you are studying remotely, if you fail to engage for 30 days we may be required to withdraw our sponsorship and you may not be able to continue your course. Read our immigration pages for more information about studying remotely overseas in 2020-21.

For students from the EEA/Switzerland, we recommend you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before you leave, if you haven’t already done so. Read the UKCISA guidance and contact their student advice line if you have any questions about your application.

When you travel back to the UK, please be aware that you may be required to self-isolate (quarantine) when you arrive so you may need to arrive in the UK at least 15 days before you are required to attend. We recommend you review the latest guidance on entering the UK before travelling. If you have in-person teaching, don’t forget to change your study location back to on-campus via the Student Study Form on your MyEssex portal.

Quarantine information (for staff)

Quarantine period following travel abroad

Travel arrangements made before 26 July 2020

If staff a member made their arrangements to travel abroad before 26 July 2020 and is unable to carry out their work from home during the quarantine period they should contact their travel provider to explore what options they have for rearranging their plans. Managers are encouraged to be flexible where staff need to rearrange plans.

If a staff member can evidence that they are unable to make the changes then (providing leave was booked before 26 July 2020) we will honour their leave and the associated quarantine period. This means that staff who are unable to carry out their work from home will not suffer a detriment due to the recent announcement. 

Travel arrangement made after 26 July 2020

The possibility of sudden changes to quarantine periods has been widely publicised since 26 July 2020. If staff members booked their travel abroad after a change to the quarantine period was announced, the University will not cover the additional time, it will be at staff expense (either via annual or unpaid leave).

Making plans to book future leave

When requesting annual leave staff need to prepare for the fact there may be short notice changes to countries being placed on the quarantine list and plan accordingly. This means that if a staff member wants to travel abroad for their holiday and their role cannot be carried out from home they need to speak to their line manager before they make any financial commitment or book their holiday and seek approval to be absent for the full period (taking account of any potential quarantine period) regardless of whether their travel destination is at that point in time on a quarantine list or not. If the manager is unable to accommodate the full period off then then leave request must not be approved.

If manager can accommodate the full period and the staff member does not need the quarantine period, we will be flexible and allow them to cancel the proportion of their leave which related to a potential quarantine period.


  • Patrol Officer wants to book a holiday abroad for 1 week
  • Role cannot be undertaken at home
  • Patrol Officer must speak to their line manager before making any financial commitments or booking their holiday. 
  • The leave request will cover 3 weeks (1 week holiday 2 weeks quarantine period). We would suggest it is booked in two parts.
  • If a quarantine period is introduced before they travel or whilst the Patrol Officer is on leave, they will need to take all three weeks’ annual leave to cover the quarantine period
  • If a quarantine period is not required, they can if they wish cancel the quarantine proportion of their leave request (2 weeks in this example) and return to work.
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