Countdown to Christmas

Whether you are choosing to stay in Portsmouth, or go home to your family this festive season, we know the guidance can seem complicated. We've tried to break this down for you so you can plan ahead and enjoy this festive period.

  • Posted Tue, Nov 24, 2020 2:41 PM

Staying in Portsmouth

We know that not everyone leaves Portsmouth over the festive period. If you are choosing to stay in Pompey, then don't worry we are working in partnership with the University to make sure there is plenty for you to do within guidelines. Fill in this form to let us know if you are staying in Portsmouth so we can make sure you are provided with any support you may need as well as events you may be interested in.

If your fellow housemates are leaving Portsmouth you may be worried about feeling alone, please contact our Advice Service if this is the case, who will be able to signpost you to relevant support services.

You can also see what covid safe events are happening both physically and virtually via our What's On page! You can also check out the Can Do Hub to see what you can still engage with in a covid world, including safe study spaces and how to make any changes you want to see at the University and Union.


Leaving Portsmouth

Testing to Travel Back Home within the UK 

Your Officers pledged that they would ensure all students had the opportunity to get tested and the University have upscaled their asymptomatic testing provision to make sure this is a reality.

If you are planning to travel within the UK to your loved ones this festive season, then you are probably already familiar with the government guidance that has been released in regards to this. We know however, that it can often seem complicated and confusing. We have created a helpful flowchart that shows you the ideal steps that need to be taken to keep you and your loved ones safe this festive season when leaving the city. 

Further detail about the different types of test and how to book them can be found on MyPort. You will also be able to find information about support available if you need to self-isolate

At the Union, we understand that not everyone has the same circumstances. These steps outlined below are the ideal steps to take to be as safe as possible in preventing the spread of the virus to your friends and family outside of Portsmouth. If you are concerned about getting tested or being able to get home, please contact our Advice Service who can signpost you to appropriate support services.

Understanding the two types of test

The first is called a lateral flow antigen test, which detects the coronavirus antigen that is produced when a person is infectious with coronavirus. These are quicker tests that produce a result within 30 minutes and do not require a laboratory to be processed. This is the test that is currently being offered in this programme.

The second type of test is known as a PCR test, and looks for the virus’s genetic material (Ribonucleic acid or RNA). These tests are currently more commonly used in the NHS for symptomatic testing. They require a laboratory to be processed.


Covid Testing at Uni and Travelling Abroad

As far as we're aware at present the outlined steps wouldn't be suitable for border control when travelling abroad. The University are looking into separate Covid test arrangements for international students to use for travel and border controls but this is not in place at present.

In the meantime companies such as Boots provide a test which we understand may be suitable for travel and countries such as the UAE use this service to provide a valid PCR test for those travelling to the UAE. Students should follow Government guidance and stay at home until 2 December during the current lockdown. When travel restrictions are lifted, the UK Government's foreign travel advice has details of Covid border control requirements which varies from country to country. 


Travel Arrangements

If you are travelling home for the Christmas break we recommend that you plan ahead. This should help to avoid unnecessary stress and could save you money. Don’t forget to check and follow the latest national travel guidance before your journey.


Public transport users

Plan your train or coach journey and buy your tickets in advance as capacity is currently limited on public transport. Booking in advance may give you an opportunity to find cheaper tickets, but do check if you can get a refund if you had to amend your travel plans. Book online at National Rail for train travel and National Express or Megabus for coach travel. You can also save money with a TOTUM/NUS Extra card on most Megabus journeys, a Coachcard on National Express or with a railcard.

If possible, book your train or coach tickets online to avoid additional contact with ticket office staff. Always check before you travel, in case of last minute timetable changes, and follow the advice of travel operators and staff. Don’t forget that you will need to wear a mask throughout your journey, including at train, coach stations and ports, unless you are exempt.

If traveling by rail via London Waterloo, try to avoid booking for the 5th and 6th December, as engineering works and line closures in the area may result in longer journey times. 


Travel by car 

If you are being picked up from Portsmouth or driving home, please be aware that there might be additional congestion on the weekend of the 5th and 6th of December if more people head out due to the end of lockdown. In particular, any queues on the approach to Gunwharf Quays due to people Christmas shopping may cause delays on the M275/A3 route into the city. If you live in University halls of residence, please ensure that you plan accordingly to avoid missing your departure slot.



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