Coronavirus

 

17 March 2020

a student washing their hands

Your health and safety is our number one priority and we’re continuing to closely monitor the situation around coronavirus.

If you have recently travelled abroad and are concerned you may have come into contact with coronavirus:
Goldsmiths House  020 803 60060 goldsmith.house@optivo.org.uk
Helen Graham House  020 803 60033 helengrahamhouse@optivo.org.uk
Ivy Hall  020 803 60066 ivy.hall@optivo.org.uk
Lucia Foster Welch  020 803 60019 luciafosterwelch@optivo.org.uk
Usher Hall  020 803 60006 usher.hall@optivo.org.uk
Park House  020 803 60064 park.house@optivo.org.uk
Platt and Writtle House  020 803 60059 platt.hall@optivo.org.uk
Welkin  020 803 60062 welkin.accommodation@optivo.org.uk
Wood Green Hall  020 803 60061 wood.green@optivo.org.uk
 

Government advice

The government have pulled together a web page with useful information.

It includes a number of questions such as:
  • What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?
  • If I live in the area where coronavirus patients are reported as coming from, am I at extra risk?
  • Should I wear a face mask?

Read more

The government information around coronavirus changes frequently. We advise you to keep a close eye on the government website for up-to-date information.

There are simple things you can do to prevent germs spreading:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze
  • Bin the tissue, and to kill the germs, wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. 

 

Are you self-isolating?

If you’ve been told to self-isolate and we’re due to visit you it is critical you let us know beforehand. This is vital for the safety of our staff and others.

Call the team at your accommodation:

Goldsmiths House  020 803 60060
Helen Graham House  020 803 60033
Ivy Hall  020 803 60066
Lucia Foster Welch  020 803 60019
Usher Hall  020 803 60006
Park House  020 803 60064
Platt and Writtle House  020 803 60059
Welkin  020 803 60062
Wood Green Hall  020 803 60061

 

Stop germs spreading

There are simple things you can do to prevent germs spreading:
  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze
  • Bin the tissue, and to kill the germs, wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. 

 

Impact to Optivo services

We’re following government guidance to limit the spread of coronavirus, however we will still have staff on site.

This shouldn’t impact the services you receive from us.  We will continue to carry out our repairs service as normal. Although it is likely we will move to emergency only service over coming weeks.

We have received a number of enquiries from new and existing customers regarding their tenancy status and rent payments. We're in the process of reviewing recent government advice regarding this matter and will provide further guidance on our website when we're in a position to do so. If you have any concerns regarding paying your rent please talk to one of the team (details above).

We’ll continue to keep you updated here on our website. We appreciate your patience and understanding at this current time.

 

01. How well is Optivo prepared to respond to an outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Like most organisations, we have business continuity and major incident plans.    

 

In response to Covid-19, we established two internal groups (Strategic and Operational) specifically tasked to manage the impact to our business and residents.  

 

They work collaboratively on our business response to the measures introduced by government as they’re announced.  This translates to local management plans which focusses on maintaining services and keeping our residents safe.

02. Will the accommodation site remain open?

Yes, we would like to reassure you that will remain open during this period.  Following PHE guidance though, there’ll be some adjustments we’ll need to make to how we deliver our offering.  This is in line with new advice on ‘social distancing’ to help avoid spreading and catching coronavirus.  

Being a responsible provider, we are undertaking the following:
  • We are committed to ensuring that our accommodation receptions remain open with no change to our hours.
  • We will be operating with one team member on site only.  There may be a delay in, or reduction to, our services here.  If you need to contact the accommodation reception please find your site email address and phone number.  We have a dedicated team working off site who can provide you with support on your enquiry.
  • We will continue to offer a maintenance service as we do now, however, further risk management measures may mean we’ll have a reduced service (i.e. emergency repairs only).  Emergency repairs are related to where there is a safety risk to you or others.  
  • If you need to contact us to report a maintenance repair, you can do this by contacting your site team.  We will ensure that your request is processed to be fixed.
  • If you are self isolating, only emergency works will be completed
  • Our cleaning team are working hard to ensuring that the accommodation hygiene standards are maintained.  This means however that we will be prioritising cleans of the communal areas.  These are high traffic walkways so we will be undertaking cleans to assist with limiting the spread of any general viruses.
  • If you are self isolating, we are unable to clean your immediate area. However, we’ll ensure that a deep clean in line with PHE advice is undertaken once you have completed your self-isolation.
  • Our event and activities programme will be suspended.  We will restart this when PHE advises that it is safe to do so.

Our accommodation teams are working hard to ensure that you continue to receive a positive experience from us.  Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time.

03. My University has moved to online learning and I want to leave

We have received a number of enquiries from new and existing customers regarding their tenancy status and rent payments. We're in the process of reviewing recent government advice regarding this matter and will provide further guidance on our website when we're in a position to do so. If you have any concerns regarding paying your rent please talk to one of the team. 

03. My University has moved to online learning

We have received a number of enquiries from new and existing customers regarding their tenancy status and rent payments. We're in the process of reviewing recent government advice regarding this matter and will provide further guidance on our website when we're in a position to do so. If you have any concerns regarding paying your rent please talk to one of the team. 

04. I’m struggling to pay my rent

We understand that this is a challenging time and that you may be financially impacted.  If you are struggling to make payment on your rent instalment, please contact us.  We may be able to agree a flexible payment plan or review other options.

04. I’m struggling to pay my rent instalment

We understand that this is a challenging time and that you may be financially impacted.  If you are struggling to make payment on your rent instalment, please contact us.  We may be able to agree a flexible payment plan or review other options.

05. Support if you’re feeling anxious about coronavirus

We understand that the current coronavirus health news may be affecting your mental health and wellbeing.

Students Minds has created guidance and information to help you look after yourself and your loved ones during this time.

There are a number of other organisations who have published guidance on mental health considerations relating to the coronavirus outbreak, including:


Support is also available from your University’s Student Support Services.  Please visit your University’s website for further details.

Please don’t suffer in silence – we know this is difficult time for many people.

06. I’m a parent who is worried, what can I do?

Stay in touch with them if you can.  Information and advice is available on these pages and government sites such as NHS and PHE.  Encourage them to familiarise themselves with official guidance.

Everyone should follow the same standard NHS guidance to prevent the spread of colds and flu: wash your hands often with soap, and cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose of this into a bin as quickly as possible.  Please encourage them to follow this advice – it’s the best defence against infection with coronavirus.

07. Where can I find more official information?

08. What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

A coronavirus is a type of virus.  As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus that can affect your lungs and airways.

09. What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms of coronavirus include high temperature and/or a new persistent cough.  This may progress to a severe pneumonia, causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.  

Generally, the coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions.  Those who are pregnant are also included in this category.  Otherwise healthy young adults are much less likely to develop serious illness.

For the latest information on coronavirus and its symptoms, visit the NHS website.

10. What conditions increase the risk of serious illness?

As with flu, it can affect people differently.  Some people have other conditions which make them more at risk.  Those with an increased risk are:
  • Older people
  • Those who are pregnant
  • Those with underlying health conditions e.g.:
  • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis 
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure 
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis 
  • chronic neurological conditions, diabetes
  • problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • a weakened immune system as the result of health conditions or medical treatment such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy 
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)

Check the NHS website for the latest information on coronavirus and underlying health conditions for a full list.

11. Is there a treatment for Coronavirus?

There is currently no specific treatment for the coronavirus.  Antibiotics don’t help, as they don’t work against viruses.  Medical treatment available aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.  It’s important that the person affected stays in isolation away from other people until they have recovered.

12. How does it spread?

Because the coronavirus is a new illness, we don’t know exactly how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses spread via droplets from coughing or sneezing. These droplets fall on people in the vicinity and can be directly inhaled or picked up on the hands and transferred when someone touches their face.  It can take up to 14 days between being exposed to the virus and developing symptoms.

13. How can I protect myself and others?

The NHS has issued the following advice on the best way to slow the spread of almost any germs, including coronavirus.

Good hygiene practices are key. 
  • Avoid touching your eye, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose of used tissues in a bin.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (NSH advice is for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice) or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  Ensure that you cover all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are unwell (2 metres/ 6ft distance).
Please ensure that you are registered with a local NHS GP surgery.

14. Should face masks be worn?

Public Health England (PHE) have advised that wearing face masks have little benefit to stopping you becoming infected.   Official advice is that the best way to reduce the risk of infection is good hygiene (wash your hands regularly and use tissues when coughing or sneezing) and avoiding close contact (closer than 2 metres/6 ft) with an unwell person.

However, some individuals may wear masks, not to protect themselves but as a socially responsible measure to prevent the spread of seasonal infections like the common cold.  It is very important that we recognise and respect these actions.

15. Health advice

Official sources such as the Government, PHE and the NHS are updating health advice daily.  The most reliable information and guidance on symptoms and measures you can take to protect yourself and other is available on their websites.

View the latest health advice from the NHS.

As of 16 March 2020, you are advised to self-isolate if you have either:
  • A high temperature (you feel hot to touch on your chest or back) or 
  • A new, continuous cough

They have also stated the following:
  • Don’t go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • You don’t need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home
  • Testing for coronavirus isn’t needed if you're staying at home

For urgent advice, use the NHS111 online coronavirus service if: 
  • You feel you can’t cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms don’t get better after 7 days
  • Only call 111 if you can’t get help on line

16. How long should I self-isolate for?

Official sources such as the Government, PHE and the NHS are updating health advice daily.  The most reliable information and guidance on symptoms and measures you can take to protect yourself and other is available on their websites.

View the latest health advice from the NHS.

As of 16 March 2020, you are advised to self-isolate:
  • If you have symptoms, for 7 days
  • If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms

17. What does self-isolation mean?

Self-isolation means you should remain at home and don’t go outside or travel.  It’s important that you avoid close contact with others.  PHE have issued the following guidance on self-isolation which provides helpful advice on both if you should self-isolate and how to do this safely to reduce the risk of virus being spread.

18. Who should I inform if I am self isolating?

It’s important you let us know so we can help you to take care of your wellbeing, share what we can do for you and those around you.  We will maintain confidentiality, but will also ensure that you are given the appropriate information and advice to manage risk.

19. If I self-isolate, how do I get food and other provisions?

If you require help with preparing meals, buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, please ask friends if they can assist. You’ll need to remind them to leave things outside your room so that you don’t have contact.  Alternatively, you can order medication by phone or online. You can also order your shopping online. Make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection if you order online. The delivery driver shouldn’t come into your home.

We are asking others on site to volunteer to assist as buddies during this time.  If you have any difficulties with support (your friends may also be self isolating), please contact your local accommodation team.  Where we can, we’ll put you in touch with a volunteer buddy.  If this isn’t possible, we’ll still ensure you’re supported.

The NHS website also provides advice on how to prepare for self-isolation in advance.

19. If I self-isolate, how do I get food?

If you require help with preparing meals, buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, please ask friends if they can assist. You’ll need to remind them to leave things outside your room so that you don’t have contact.  Alternatively, you can order medication by phone or online. You can also order your shopping online. Make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection if you order online. The delivery driver shouldn’t come into your home.

We are asking others on site to volunteer to assist as buddies during this time.  If you have any difficulties with support (your friends may also be self isolating), please contact your local accommodation team.  Where we can, we’ll put you in touch with a volunteer buddy.  If this isn’t possible, we’ll still ensure you’re supported.

The NHS website also provides advice on how to prepare for self-isolation in advance.

20. I'm concerned about another student with me.

Where possible, suggest to them they contact their GP via phone or use NHS111 online.  The local accommodation team are also available if you would like to pass on your concerns for us to follow up with them directly.

21. I share accommodation with someone self-isolating

PHE have issued the following guidance on self-isolation which provides helpful advice for both the person self isolating and how to do this safely to reduce the risk of virus being spread.

In situations where someone you are sharing accommodation with is self-isolating, we are required to maintain strict confidentiality so won’t be able to provide you with specific details on their situation.  However, we do have plans in place to manage self-isolation in our accommodation. These measures include enabling students to carry out their self-isolation in their ensuite rooms.  For students who live in standard rooms, designated facilities will be identified for their sole use.  This may mean you might be asked to use a different bath/shower room or W/C than you usually access.

As it’s more difficult to limit kitchen access, we are asking that different meal arrangements are made during self-isolation, with food being prepared on behalf of the person affected.  If you think you can help with this, please see our section on being a buddy.

There may be some circumstances where we are able to offer relocation (for you or the student self isolating) to another area.  We are conscious of individual situations, especially where someone may be vulnerable due to an underlying health condition.  If you are concerned, please contact your local accommodation team.

22. Are students self-isolating in your accommodation?

PHE guidance is you should self-isolate if you have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild.  Everyone should follow the same standard advice to prevent the spread of this illness.  Given this, we anticipate that there will be students who are self isolating in our accommodation.  Our main concern is the wellbeing of those affected and ensuring that they receive appropriate support.  We will maintain confidentiality, but will also ensure that you are given the appropriate information and advice to manage risks.