Covid-19 hub: policies and guidance

On this page you can find information, guidance and FAQs regarding coronavirus safety measures at Somerville.

The policies here are live and will be amended as Government, University or PHE guidance changes and college-wide feedback is received.

Please direct all Covid queries or questions to the Principal’s Office.

We have been working hard to ensure that Somerville is COVID-Secure for all our staff and students, in order to ensure that we can all have a safe, happy and productive year.

This will require effort from all of us. As a college, we are doing everything in our power to guarantee everyone’s safe return, but this will only happen if everyone does their utmost to support these guidelines.

The links below contain the latest guidance designed to enable us to live and work safely together. We value your support in this, as in everything else.

We hope that you enjoy your return to College and look forward to seeing you in person very soon

General Guidance

  1. Return to Onsite Working Policy
  2. Risk Assessment
  3. Book a Covid-19 test through the University (Staff & Students)
  4. Student FAQs
  5. Academic Staff FAQs
  6. The Library
  7. ICT Service Statement
  8. Students who need to self-isolate or quarantine


University Guidance

Advice for new undergraduates (students) Please click here for information for new undergraduates starting in 2020

Covid-19 University Early Alert Service (Staff) – Please click here for information relating to the University Covid testing scheme

Wellbeing Advice (Students) – Please click here for information relating to Coronavirus and your wellbeing

Wellbeing Advice (Staff) – Please click here for information relating to Coronavirus and your wellbeing


Jan Royall, Principal

What a time this is to live through. The current pandemic has ushered in an age of uncertainty, when the shimmering prospects of the future contemplated by our young people have been replaced by a cloud of unanswered questions.

It is, and will undoubtedly remain, a huge challenge for all. And yet, in many ways, institutions like Somerville were created to enable people to deal with crises like this one – providing them with knowledge and skills, inspiring their research, and in doing so making individuals and our society more resilient. Our learning has lost neither its currency nor its power to change the world. Our community still offers a sanctuary for those wanting to transform themselves and the world through the power of thought. Our people, from students to fellows to alumni, may be physically scattered, yet I see evidence everyday of how they continue to advocate for causes and work that are essentially of a piece: compassionate, intelligent, dedicated to the public good.

So many lives are in turmoil. I am acutely conscious of the disruption to the studies as well as the hopes and aspirations of offer-holders and our students. The latter have dealt brilliantly with the transition to online learning, and huge thanks must go to our academics who have provided online lectures, tutorials and assessments so brilliantly whilst juggling caring commitments and research. As ever, our student community has inspired me with its response, not least for the ingenious and altruistic ways our JCR and MCR have devised to support each other and others outside our community. I am immensely proud of them all.

There will be difficult times ahead. All our plans must change, the way we work together and live together must adapt. We will have to spend more carefully, live more frugally, be more conscious in everything we do, savour the truly important things of life. But in so doing, we will come back stronger. As Somervillian Elizabeth Kirk (1946) so wisely said: “Circumstances of daily life will change, but Somerville’s ethos will not”.

Andrew Parker, College Treasurer

“The Covid 19 virus will have a very significant impact on our income in 2019-20. A combination of no student room rents in Trinity Term, no Easter or summer conference income, reduced endowment income and reduced rents from our commercial tenants has reduced our income by £2.3m. We have some savings from reduced activity and we have taken full advantage of the government’s furlough scheme but even so we expect to have a deficit for the year of £1.6m.

The picture for 2020-21 will be very similar. Reduced endowment and commercial rental income, reduced conference income and uncertainty about student numbers will reduce our income by £2m. We have identified cost savings of £0.5m, whist trying to insulate core teaching and research activity as much as possible, but this will still leave us with a deficit of £1.5m for the year.

The College has made use of the government’s furlough scheme in order to preserve jobs, especially for those who cannot work from home. We are topping up the amount received to ensure that these staff continue to be paid in full. Somerville is also committed to allocating even more support to students facing unexpected hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. There are at least 50 students on site who cannot return home, and as a result we have ensured there is a skeleton staff in operation, including 24 hour porters and on-call maintenance.

At this moment the Annual Fund has never been more essential, with contributions enabling us to respond to the urgent needs of our students, staff and the very fabric of the College. If you would like to support the Annual Fund today, please visit our giving page for further details.”