Covid-19: Guidance for Students

Updated 14/04/21 @ 11:03

***Consult the FAQs below for latest updates on arrangements for the Easter vacation and returning in Trinity.***

On this page, you can find the links and information you need to stay safe and have a successful term in college. The FAQs below contain the latest information and advice from College regarding student life, Covid restrictions and study arrangements.

  1. Book a test from the University.
  2. Latest FAQs from Oxford University
  3. When Should I Test? Check the Oxford University Flowchart.
  4. Self-Isolating in College? Read our Self-Isolation Guide
  5. How to Use the Library This Year
  6. Wellbeing advice
  7. ICT: Help and Advice and Requesting IT equipment for online tutoring form
  8. Download the NHS Covid-19 App: Apple or Android

FAQs

  • I’m an undergraduate student. When should I come back to College for Trinity 2021?

    We hope that students who have not already been permitted to return will be able to come back to College from the 21st of April in order to do lateral flow testing in time for the start of term on 26th April.

  • I’m a finalist. Can I come back to College early for study purposes?

    We are giving special consideration to the return of final year students, including third-year students on four-year integrated masters courses, who may ask to return from 12th April. We are also willing to extend that to requests to return from 5th April, if a student deems that essential to their studies. Any finalist wishing to return from either of those dates should apply for vac res and the usual vac res accommodation charges will apply. A new vac res form will be available in the near future.

  • I’m a postgraduate student. When should I come back to college for Trinity term?

    Most PGR students who wish to be in Oxford, and who have been able to travel, are already here. There is now agreement that all PGT (Masters and MPhil) students can return from 8th March. Given that all students returning to College are expected to take two Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests before in-person teaching begins – one on arrival, one three days later – it would be feasible to return from 4th March. Testing kits are available from the Lodge for all students, whether resident in College or not.

  • I’m an international student. Should I come back to college for Trinity 2021?

    Residency requirements will not be in place for international students next term, but we hope that, if it is safe for you to do so, you will return to Somerville. Of course, we recognise that a small number of you may wish to stay at home, particularly if you are in a ‘red list’ country. Sadly, we are not able to assist with the costs of quarantine in hotels. However, if you are coming from a non-‘red list’ country and are resident in College, you will be able to self-isolate here.

  • How will Covid testing be conducted in Trinity 2021?

    On your return to college, you will receive two LFD tests, the first of which should be taken on arrival and the second three days later.

    Afterwards, we strongly encourage all students to participate in the university’s LFD testing service – including those who have been vaccinated or have had COVID-19 more than 90 days ago. We suggest that all staff and students who are working or studying on-site get tested twice a week, every week, throughout Trinity term.

    You can book an LFD test via the following link: https://earlyalert.medsci.ox.ac.uk/earlyalert/booking/bookpcr

    Please note, the closest testing centre to Somerville is St Luke’s Chapel on the ROQ site. You can select this as an option within the booking form.

    Finally, if you have or think you may have symptoms of Covid, you must book a PCR test via the following link: https://earlyalert.medsci.ox.ac.uk/earlyalert/booking/bookpcr

  • Are residency requirements in place for Trinity Term?

    Residency requirements will not be in place during Trinity Term, but we hope that where possible you will return - although international students may wish to stay at home, particularly if you are in a ‘red list’ country. We will not be able to assist with the costs of quarantine in hotels, however, if you are coming from a non ‘red list’ country you will be able to quarantine in College.

  • Will I be charged rent if I don't come into residence in Trinity?

    Of course we won’t charge you rent. If you are not planning to come back next term, please let accommodation know as soon as possible to confirm the arrangements and avoid being charged for a room. We will certainly miss you!

  • How will teaching take place during Trinity 2021?

    There will be no in-person teaching until at least 26th April and some tutorials might continue to be online throughout Trinity Term. Lectures and seminars will continue to be online.

  • When will in-person teaching resume?

    The date varies from course to course. We are yet to hear for some courses when in-person teaching will be permissible, while others returned to labs at the end of Hilary. You can find a consolidated list of all the currently available dates at https://bit.ly/3wfKbcL. An announcement is expected from the Government after Easter about when all courses may resume in-person teaching.

  • How will finals and prelims work this year?

    While it has been confirmed that exams will take place in-person for those courses which have been given early permission to restart in-person teaching, It is likely that the vast majority of students taking finals and prelims will do so in their rooms, so we will all need to be very conscious of the need to keep noise levels down in College this term. If you are one of the few students whose room is subject to external noise, we will find an alternative space for you. If exams do not take place in-person, they will be in an online, closed book format with remote invigilation. More information will be made available on the examinations timetables page examinations timetables page as soon as possible after the government’s Easter announcement.

  • When will my graduation ceremony take place?

    All degree ceremonies due to take place in May, July and August 2021 will be postponed as a result of the ongoing pandemic. A university working group are reviewing arrangements for graduations due to be held in the next academic year, together with options to manage the backlog of graduands. Work is also taking place to consider arrangements for medical students who need to have their degrees conferred before starting work in the NHS. Students who need to have their degrees conferred urgently can continue to do so by contacting the academic office regarding graduating in absentia.

  • When will the Library be open over the Easter vac and in Trinity?

    The Library is open for booked spaces only between 1000 and 1230, and 1330 and 1600. It will be closed from Friday 2nd April until the afternoon session on Tuesday 6th April due to the Easter bank holiday weekend. There will be no evening study sessions until 0th week of Trinity Term, but there will be 5 evening sessions a week from that point on, as well as additional shared study spaces during the day.

  • I’m a postgraduate student. What facilities will be available to me in College during Trinity 2021?

    If you’re a postgraduate who is resident in college, please let Teresa know that you intend to return to College accommodation. For those of you who live in the community, you will now be able to:
    - come into College to pick up a take-away lunch;
    - use the Graduate Reading Room and click + collect from outside the library rather than the Lodge (please notify the Lodge of your intention to come in).

  • Will social distancing and mask usage still be necessary?

    Yes, due to the fact that LFD tests do not pick up every positive case, social distancing and mask usage will still be necessary for the time being.

  • What will the rules on socialising be in college following the 29th of March?

    UK government guidance allows either a group of 6, or a group of comprised of two households to gather outside. Due to the size of households in College, which can be up to ten people, all colleges across the university have agreed that it is best if socialising is allowed on the basis of the rule of 6 only. Socialising indoors with members of different households continues to be prohibited by the law, and, just like everyone else in the UK, you need to continue to wear face coverings, socially distance, and wash your hands.

  • I’m returning to Somerville from overseas. What testing should I undertake for Trinity 2021?

    As you will know, you will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test before you travel and provide proof of a negative result upon entry to the UK. You will also need to book two tests to take during your self-isolation period; it may be possible to reduce your isolation time by making use of the ‘test to release’ scheme. If you have in-person teaching scheduled for Trinity term but are not able to return, you should discuss with your department what alternative arrangements can be put in place for you.

  • How will dining work in Trinity 2021?

    When you come back, the dining room on the quad will be open for lunch and dinner, and for the latter it will be possible to eat in households. We also plan to hold some dinners and receptions outside during the term.

  • What welfare support is available to me in Trinity 2021?

    Whether you are resident in College or studying at home, the College Welfare Support Services that are usually accessible to you are still available. These include:

    *Welfare Officer*
    I will be working as usual, but from home rather than the office. If you need to contact me please email on welfare.officer@some.ox.ac.uk and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

    *Junior Deans*
    There will be a Junior Dean on duty from 7pm-7am and at weekends for the duration of Hilary Term. The Junior Deans are here to provide crisis welfare support to students in residence AND those studying at home. You can contact the on duty Junior Dean on 07805 784964 or on the new welfare.junior.deans@some.ox.ac.uk email address. This email is NOT an urgent response service so if you need urgent help, please call the Lodge on 01865 270600 (if resident in College) or the Junior Deans on 07805 784964. The Junior Deans will be providing support remotely where possible but will attend in person if necessary.

    *Emergencies*
    For urgent medical problems for those of you in residence, please call the Lodge on 01865 270600 or call 999 for an ambulance.

    *The College Nurse*
    The College nurse will be available for online consultations – contact her to arrange a video consultation at somenurse@nhs.net.

    *Peer Support*
    Peer Supporters are available to provide support to students who are working at home. Please contact them directly or via peersupport@some.ox.ac.uk. Learn more about Peer Support here: https://blogs.some.ox.ac.uk/jcr/welfare/peer-support/

  • How should I take the LFDs?

    A training module will be available on Canvas (https://canvas.ox.ac.uk/enroll/KJNBLX), providing detailed instructions about how to take the tests. Even if you already completed the training in Michaelmas term, we encourage you to review the materials again to refresh your knowledge.

    There is also the following brochure explaining the process: https://www.some.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Lateral-Flow-Test-Instructions-Pamphlet-v3-1.pdf

  • I don't want to take the LFDs. Is there any other option?

    All students are strongly advised to take the lateral flow tests on their return. If you are still certain that you do not wish to, please inform Jan Royall on principal@some.ox.ac.uk and self-isolate for 10 days.

  • How should I record my results?

    It is crucial that you immediately record the results of each test as soon as they are visible. You must do this via the result reporting section of the Early Alert Service: https://earlyalert.medsci.ox.ac.uk. This will help the University and the NHS to understand how the virus spreads, helping to protect the community.

  • What should I do if I test positive?

    If you test positive in any of your LFD tests, you must self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test through the Early Alert Service and self-isolate until you know the results.

    If you live in college and your first test is positive, you will be asked to self-isolate away from your household to reduce the spread of COVID-19. You will need to make contact immediately with your College to discuss how your self-isolation will be managed. The quickest way to ensure you are supported immediately will be to contact your College Lodge and ask to speak with the College SPOC, Andrew Parker.

  • What should I do if a close contact or household member tests positive?

    If a member of your household or a close contact tests positive in an LFD test, they will need to take a confirmatory PCR test. You should self-isolate as soon as you become aware that your close contact has received a positive LFD result.

    You should continue to self-isolate until that person has received the result of their PCR test (but continue to take your LFD tests as planned).

    If your close contact’s PCR test result is negative, you can stop self-isolating at that point. If it is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days.

    Please note that this guidance will not apply if you live in college accommodation and the individual with who has tested positive has been asked to self-isolate away from your household and you have not been in contact with them.

  • What should I do while I’m awaiting results?

    You should limit your social contact and interaction with others until you receive the result of your first test. If it is negative, you should continue to be cautious until you have taken your second test. This means limiting social interactions (but not self-isolating). You should not take part in in-person teaching or activities such as organised sport at this stage.

    If your second test is negative, you can take part in in-person teaching, and other activities such as organised sport. The third test will help us to identify any infections that might have been acquired in the week after the first week's testing.

    You must continue to adhere to all health guidance and the Student Responsibility Agreement at all times.

  • What if I need to quarantine upon my return?

    The quarantining period for our students returning from countries not on the travel corridor list has now reduced from 14 days to 10 days. This can be further reduced to five days if you choose to pay for a test, which then proves negative. A list of private suppliers of coronavirus testing can be found here: https://bit.ly/3p1HQhj

    Any days in college accommodation spent quarantining will be charged at 50% of normal rent. If you choose to you can quarantine in the first few days of term.

    We can arrange for food to be delivered to you when you are quarantining in college.

  • What should I do if I have symptoms of coronavirus?

    The most common symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. If you experience these, arrange for a test through the University’s Early Alert Service; click here. If you arrange a test through the NHS website or NHS 111, you’ll need to notify EAS separately, so that your test results are shared with the College. While you’re waiting for test results, you must self-isolate in your room or, if you are in privately rented accommodation, at home. If you test positive for Covid-19, you must comply with the current requirements. If at any time your symptoms get worse and you feel concerned about your wellbeing, then you should phone the Lodge on 01865 270600 who will be able to call an ambulance if needed.

  • What are households and what do they mean for socialising?

    During the pandemic, all students will be living in households containing up to 12 students. Students in a household often share facilities such as a bathroom or kitchen.

    You can mix freely with other members of your household both within your household space and elsewhere. However, no more than eight students from the same household should be in any one room in student accommodation at any one time, even if there are more than 8 people in your household. Outside of your household, all national and local restrictions in regards to socialising apply. Given the current lockdown, households must be adhered to particularly carefully this term.

  • When does my household need to self-isolate and what happens if we need to?

    If you or someone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus, the whole household will need to self-isolate. The individual with symptoms should book a test with the University’s Early Alert Service (guidance on the EAS website) and contact Andrew Parker to let us know that you have symptoms and have booked a test so that we can look after you.

    If a negative test result is received, we will inform you and your household that you are free to leave self-isolation. If a positive test result is received, the student who has tested positive will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or the positive result (whichever is earlier) and the rest of their household will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the same date. The local NHS track & trace team will do the full contact tracing.

    We will make sure that self-isolating households have access to welfare and any other support that they need. During your self-isolation, you and your household will have to stay in your rooms and corridor. We will have food delivered to your room. It is perfectly safe to drink or fill your kettle from your bathroom tap, but bottled water will also be provided with meals. We encourage students to think about packing a ‘Covid contingency kit’ with any bottled drinks, snacks, treats, books, etc. they might want during a period of self-isolation to have ready just in case. JCR and MCR volunteers are welcome to drop off food and any other supplies that are necessary, provided they do so in a contactless manner following all safety guidance.

    If you are well enough, you will be able to carry on attending lectures and tutorials online, and the library will provide a 'click and deliver' service so that you can still access books. Households can continue to speak in corridors and communal areas and use kitchens during self-isolation but will need to follow strict social distancing and have as little contact with each other as possible in order to avoid more cases of Covid-19. The household will be responsible for cleaning their own kitchens and bathrooms at that time, and cleaning materials will be provided. Unfortunately, you will not be able to go outside for exercise.

  • How will Collections work?

    Collections will be taken in your rooms or home study spaces if you have chosen not to return. We will request that you maintain exam conditions for completing papers to get the best possible practice in for your exams. You will be informed about the specific arrangements for you by your tutors.

  • How can I get books from the College library this term via click and collect (or click and deliver if I am in self-isolation)?

    The Library will again be running Click and Deliver and Click and Collect services for those students living in college. Students working from home who need resources and are unable to access them online should get in touch with the library on library@some.ox.ac.uk and they will do whatever they can to help. The library staff will also continue to provide a scanning service within the bounds of copyright law, as will the Bodleian libraries. More details will be available on the college website soon.

  • How will I collect post from the Lodge?

    The Lodge team is working very hard to ensure that the post room can remain open seven days a week from 8am - 9pm in a safe, socially-distanced manner.

    At most times of day, numbers in the post room will be limited to 2 and the parcel room in the foyer to Lodge House will be limited to 1 person only.

    However, during the peak hours from 10am - 12noon and from 1pm - 5pm, if the post room is staffed, we will attempt to set up a system whereby you can collect your post and parcels from the post room window by the entrance to the New Council Room. If this system is in operation, we will place a sign outside the Lodge advising you where to queue.

  • Can I get packages delivered to the Lodge?

    Yes, within reason. But please consider the needs of the Lodge team by not ordering too many packages at once or packages that are excessively large or heavy. If the Lodge receives too many deliveries or too many outsize/heavy parcels, we may have to review this policy in order to ensure staff can continue to work safely.

  • Can I have takeaway food delivered?

    Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to have takeaway food delivered via the Lodge to Somerville this term. If you are a student quarantining, we will provide meals for you while you are in self-isolation and tell you how these will be delivered to your accommodation.

  • How will laundry work?

    College laundry rooms will be open, but limited to one student in each laundry at a time. The machines will need to be cash operated this term; they will all be changed at Christmas to ensure that cards can be used instead.

    Face coverings which need to be washed more regularly should be able to be cleaned using hot water and detergent in sinks.

  • How will my room and corridor be cleaned?

    Communal bathrooms and kitchens will be cleaned three times a day. Unless you have an en-suite bathroom, housekeeping staff will not be able to enter your rooms this term. Cleaning them will be your responsibility, and we will provide each household bubble with a vacuum cleaner and any necessary cleaning materials. If you have an en-suite bathroom, this will be cleaned once per fortnight, but you will still be responsible for cleaning the bedroom. Bins should be left outside your room when full so that they can be emptied in the morning.

  • What will happen if travel to my home country is prohibited at the end of term?

    You will be able to stay in College over the vacation if you are not permitted to return home.

  • Will Terrace be open?

    Students in College will have access to three indoor social spaces in Hilary Term: the JCR in Vaughan, the terrace ante-room and the terrace bar (with no alcohol or any other drinks); and two external spaces, the marquee and the terrace. These will be open from 0900 until 2200 with one household at a time allowed to use them according to a booking system, and cleaning responsibilities on leaving.

    The chapel will also be open from 0900 until 2200 for individual piano or organ practice and for individual quiet contemplation.

  • Will the JCR and MCR be open?

    Students in College will have access to three indoor social spaces in Hilary Term: the JCR in Vaughan, the terrace ante-room and the terrace bar (with no alcohol or any other drinks); and two external spaces, the marquee and the terrace. These will be open from 0900 until 2200 with one household at a time allowed to use them according to a booking system, and cleaning responsibilities on leaving.

    The chapel will also be open from 0900 until 2200 for individual piano or organ practice and for individual quiet contemplation.

  • Why are there punishments for breaching the rules?

    The safety of our students, our staff, and the local community, is our highest priority this term and something we will all have to work towards together. Unfortunately, we will have to take robust action against anyone who does not share this aim and endangers themselves and others by breaching the rules. We have faith in Somerville students that this will not be required very often, or even at all.

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