Following the UK government’s COVID update over the weekend, we are strengthening our COVID-secure measures at LSE – with the expectation that staff and students wear a mask at all times while indoors in one of LSE’s buildings on campus. This is in line with the requirements announced for education providers and enhances our measures already in place.
Below, we’ve outlined further information about what this means for our School, including plans for in-person assessments in January 2022. We also ask that you review the updated UK government guidance for England, including changes to mask-wearing, travel and close contact isolation.
The following measures will remain in place for the remainder of term, and will be reviewed on 13 December 2021.
On-campus measures beginning Tuesday 30 November
From Tuesday 30 November, students and staff are expected to wear masks while indoors, in all campus buildings, unless you are exempt
In office areas, if staff or research students work in a socially distanced way sitting 2-metres or more apart from each other, they are strongly encouraged to wear masks but not required to do so. Where work cannot take place in a socially distanced way, including meetings, mask wearing is mandatory.
Our testing requirement remains in place, meaning you must have evidence of a valid negative test from the past 4 days or sooner to enter campus buildings with random checks being undertaken
In-person social events and graduation events will continue as planned with increased testing restrictions requiring a valid negative test from the day of, or the day before the event. The status of these events will be under constant review in this developing situation.
All other campus measures will remain in place
In-person exams and assessments in January 2022
In-person exams during the January assessment period will go ahead as planned. Students will be required to wear masks during the exam, unless exempt. Between now and the January assessment period, we will continue to monitor changes to the situation and may revise measures in place to ensure the safety of both students and staff.
Saturday’s announcement included changes to isolation and testing upon arrival in the UK, and we recognise that this, as well as the potential for further changes around travel, may be cause for concern, especially relating to arrivals for exams. There is a range of support available for assessments and we will be adding to our FAQs in the coming week with further information on what to do if students concerned.
Changes to travel and entry requirements to the UK
New entry requirements state that fully-vaccinated returning individuals will be required to take a PCR test by day 2 after arrival and must self-isolate until a negative test result has been confirmed. Students and staff returning to the UK from abroad, should allow enough time for the mandatory self-isolation period to pass before they are required on campus.
LSE will continue to offer free on-campus PCR tests for staff and students with an estimated wait time of 1-2 days for results. While we cannot offer a rapid-turnaround service from our testing centre, there are several providers who can offer rapid PCR tests, with some providing results within 3 hours of taking the test.
Throughout this extended period, we will have a series of check points to assess our cases and the wider situation, and if at any point it is necessary to change our safety measures, we will communicate this to you. We will update you with the measures and review points for the duration of Lent Term by 21 January 2022.
Mask wearing is still mandatory in teaching and learning spaces for students, as well as in lifts for all students, staff and visitors
Student mask wearing is required where prolonged contact is likely between students and staff in enclosed spaces, such as during one-to-one tutoring or advice sessions, including at the Student Services Centre. Exceptions can be made at the discretion of staff, and where agreed by the student.
Mask wearing is also strongly recommended in all other settings within LSE buildings, as one of the most effective ways to protect both you and those around you. This is especially relevant in confined and high-traffic spaces.
If you have been officially exempted by LSE from wearing a mask, staff and students can apply for a sticker to help identify this.
Government advice for the term ahead is that students and staff get tested twice a week for COVID-19, even if they are double vaccinated
Staff, students and visitors will need proof of a negative test within the last four days. Any self-administered test must be reported via the National Health Service (NHS) website and confirmed via email or text message.
This will have to be shown in the following circumstances:
- When students enrol in-person on campus
- To check-in to your LSE residence on arrival
- To enter campus buildings - check points are subject to change on a regular basis
- For events, we reserve the right to ask for a more recent negative test than in the last four days. Students and staff will be notified in advance if a stricter rule applies.
All students and staff should be tested within the last four days when coming to campus even if they are double vaccinated. You can get free self-test kits from many locations across London, or from the reception desk in the Old Building (OLD).
From LSE’s testing centre (now located in Connaught House) you can also continue to access PCR testing, and travel-related testing for days 2, 5 (test-to-release from quarantining) and 8. Visit the testing webpage to book and leave plenty of time to get your test.
Checks will take place on randomly chosen individuals at the LSE Library and at pop-up points across LSE’s campus. If you don’t have a negative result, you will be asked to get tested before you can enter the building and access facilities.
All students living in LSE halls of residence should get tested twice a week. Random checks will also be carried out in all halls of residence.
Regular testing will help reduce risk to our LSE community whilst ensuring that Welcome, teaching, learning and School activities can take place on campus and in halls. Thank you for your cooperation in advance.
Vaccinations and self-isolation
We anticipate around 83% of students will be vaccinated from COVID-19 by their arrival, and throughout the term we will be offering many opportunities for members of our community, both students and staff, to get vaccinated for free. This is particularly relevant if you not been vaccinated already with vaccines recognised in the UK, or if you have received one or more doses of vaccines not currently recognised in the UK.
Once fully vaccinated in the UK, you will be eligible for a COVID pass, which can be used to access concerts, night clubs and other venues
Students in higher education in England who are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID and have not been vaccinated in the UK will currently need to isolate for 10 days from your last contact with the individual, however, those vaccinated in the UK would not need to self-isolate. We are actively lobbying the UK government to extend the same rule to those vaccinated in other places. Our LSE Trace team can provide support and guidance if you are unsure what you should do.
If you're ill or feeling unwell, even if you're not experiencing COVID symptoms, all staff and students should stay at home and not come to campus until better.
Other COVID-secure measures
We will continue with all previous enhanced ventilation measures including increasing fan speeds, fan running times and 24/7 operation, to provide increased ventilation rates. LSE Estates are installing CO2 monitors to all teaching spaces that currently do not have them, as an additional monitoring measure.
Ventilation rates in all classrooms are currently being tested to check they are running in line with the latest relevant guidance below, which has been published by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), CIBSE (Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers) and USHA (Universities Safety and Health Association) in the last few months:
We will continue with thorough cleaning regimes as well as providing wipes and regular hand sanitising points
Ongoing monitoring of the local situation and LSE case rates through LSE Trace will continue, as well as the weekly wellness check-in. Anyone who tests positive or experiences COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and not come onto campus.