This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest guidance and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).

We want to make Somerville a COVID-Secure environment for all our staff and students. This will require a collective effort from all of us. As a college, we are doing everything in our power to guarantee that everyone is able to enjoy a safe, happy and productive environment – but that will only work if everyone does their utmost to support these guidelines.

This page contains the latest guidance designed to enable us to live and work safely together. For those with access to email, college also sends out coronavirus updates – this page will echo the updates contained in those emails.

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

Please direct any Covid queries or questions to

Key links

  1. College policies
  2. Book a test from the University’s Early Alert Service
  3. Latest student FAQs from Oxford University
  4. Student wellbeing
  5. Latest University ON TESTING & SELF-ISOLATING
  6. How to Use the Library during the pandemic
  7. ICT Help and Advice
  8. Requesting IT equipment for online tutoring form

Frequently Asked Questions

I am staying in Oxford this summer. What should I be doing during the current spike in cases?

We have also encouraged students who are staying in Oxford to make use of the PCR asymptomatic testing that is being made available to the community, as well as the regular LFD testing. (If they have symptoms then they should use the normal EAS pods.) Students are also being encouraged to consider attending one of the drop-in vaccination centres (which also offer 2nd doses if your first dose was at least 8 weeks ago), as well as to remain vigilant with social distancing and avoiding travel in or out of Oxford without good reason.

Are visitors allowed in college?

Unfortunately, due to the very high case rates in Oxford, we have decided not to allow visitors into the college for the time being.

How is college guidance changing on July 19th?

Although national restrictions are being eased on July 19th, policies on social distancing, face coverings and working from home will continue to apply in Somerville and the wider university until further notice due to the significant rates of new cases in Oxford. 

I am a member of staff and my children have been told to self-isolate. What are my options?

We recognise that the situation with school openings and attendance may change throughout Michaelmas Term. If your child is not able to attend school because it is closed or because teaching hours are reduced, for example, then you should speak to your line manager in the first instance. Where possible, we will try to allow you to work from home, consider staggered start and finish times, or other reasonable options. If you are unable to work, you may be able to take annual leave or unpaid leave.


Self Isolating in College

Read this first: How do I self-isolate in College?

Please stay inside your room as much as possible. Don’t receive any visitors in your room, even if they’re from your household. Unfortunately, this extends to going outside for excercise or fresh air as the college site is too small for this to occur safely. You should only leave your room if you absolutely need to, such as to visit the bathroom/toilet (wear a face covering in the corridor, stairs etc.) or if there’s a fire alarm.

While you are self-isolating, we will deliver three meals a day directly to your door at a subsidised rate. Your meals will arrive in sanitised packaging which you will be able to dispose of in your bins as per usual. If your bins need to be emptied, simply leave them outside your room.

We will also deliver your post, although we regret that we cannot safely deliver packages. If you need any other supplies or luxuries, you can arrange contactless deliveries with your friends, your peer supporter or the JCR/MCR. Ask people bringing you items to knock and leave them outside your room rather than coming in – but please do not ask anyone to do your washing-up or laundry for you, as your crockery and clothes could be contaminated.

To prevent the risk of the virus spreading within your household, try to keep socialising to an absolute minimum and practise social distancing when interacting with others, e.g. wear a face covering when answering your door and avoid face-to-face conversation at less than 2 metres. You should also avoid using the communal kitchen if you have one (you can use the sink in your room for bottled water and we will provide all other essentials). When using a shared bathroom, keep your own toiletries and towel separately in your room and clean the toilet and any surfaces you’ve touched with warm water/detergent.

How will you make sure I'm alright?

It’s really important to us to know that you’re OK while self-isolating. We will get in touch each day to see how you’re doing. We also recommend that you set up a regular check-in with a trusted friend or family member.

As well as events run by your common room, we will be running online events throughout term to help you stay entertained and connected to the college community. The library also has a stock of fiction and DVDs, which you might wish to make use of during your period of self-isolation via the click and deliver service.

If you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed with anything, do please contact our Welfare Team. You might also find it useful to have a chat with our Peer Supporters. And, of course, if you feel the need for more formal help, please ask the Welfare Team to refer you to the College counsellor or the University Counselling Service.

Finally, if you have any medical concerns – Covid-related or not – you can arrange a phone appointment with our nurse by calling 01865 270865 or emailing If you need urgent help, you should contact 111 or 999.

What should I do if I develop symptoms?

According to the NHS, 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 any or all of these, arrange for a test without delay, either through the University’s Early Alert Service or through the NHS. You should also email our Single Point of Contact Andrew Parker ( and our Covid helpdesk,, to let us know that you have booked a test so that we can continue to make sure you are alright. If you do test positive for Covid-19, you will need to comply with all current guidance with regards to self-isolating.

What if I realise I haven't got something I need?

You should speak to the JCR or MCR rep in the first instance, or contact the Welfare Office and Junior Deans. We also think it’s a great idea to have some luxuries and spare supplies stashed in your room as a Covid contingency kit in case you do need to self-isolate.

How will I get meals while self-isolating?

We will provide three meals a day cooked by an external kitchen for you while you are quarantined, delivered to your door. We will also provide bottled water with your food. Please don’t use communal kitchens, as this increases the risk of the virus spreading within your household.

Will I still be able to see the college nurse?

Yes – our nurse, Glenys, will be able to give you a phone appointment. You can contact her on 01865 270865 during her office hours (10-3, Mon-Fri) or

How will I do laundry?

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do laundry while self-isolating and you should not ask a friend to wash clothes for you.

Will I be able to get books during my self-isolation?

If you’d like reading material from the college library during your period of self-isolation, please see these instructions to find out how to use our ordering service. You won’t be able to collect your item(s) in person, so someone will deliver them to your doorstep. The service operates during weekdays only and it may take 24-48 hours for your book to arrive. Please ensure you wash your hands or sanitise before and after touching the book.

University Guidance and Policies

The latest guidance, information and policies from the central University for staff and students

Oxford University Covid 19 Page