Coronavirus: Academic Staff FAQs

Last updated: 17/12/20

  • “How do I access the Government’s ‘Test to Release’ scheme?

    The University cannot provide tests to allow you to leave self-isolation early after international travel under the Government’s ‘Test to Release’ scheme. You will need to contact and make arrangements with a private provider directly. You should follow the directions on the .gov website ( which also includes a list of eligible private providers. Please note that we understand that demand for these services is high, and you may want to contact a provider ahead of time and book early if you wish to take advantage of this scheme.

  • What are the Christmas travel arrangements for students?

    The latest summary of all guidance for students relating their Christmas travel arrangements can be found in the Student Covid FAQs here:

  • How can I find out more about the return arrangements in Hilary Term?

    Detailed information on the return of students in Hilary Term is given here:

  • Can staff take Lateral Flow Device tests?

    Unfortunately, it is not possible to offer LFDs to staff at this stage.

  • What safety measures are in place around the college?

    It's vitally important this term to follow the latest guidance on preventing the spread of the virus, including social distancing and wearing face coverings as set out in the University policy on face coverings. All students and staff will need to wear a face covering in all communal areas, including when entering and exiting accommodation buildings, entering and exiting the dining hall, and in the hall while not eating. You will not have to wear a mask while eating and drinking. You will need to source your own maks for now, but we are looking to provide you with two reusable masks before the start of term. We have also placed hand sanitiser stations around the college.

  • How will teaching take place now?

    Your lectures will take place online. Science departments are planning to run laboratory sessions with social distancing measures in place and they will contact you about those. Many tutorials will take place face-to-face indoors with social distancing measures in place and face coverings used. If a member of your family is vulnerable, or you have another reason that you would wish not to teach face-to-face, tutorials can take place online and you should speak to Steve Rayner if this has not already been arranged.

  • Will I have to wear a face covering?

    Yes, from the 7 September we will all have to wear face coverings while in University and College buildings, as detailed in the University’s Face Coverings Policy. You are expected to provide your own face covering, and we are also looking to source a starter-pack of two reusable face coverings for everyone.

  • Are there any exceptions where face coverings are not required?

    There are limited specific exceptions laid out in university policy where face coverings can be removed. These include when alone in single occupancy offices, or when seated at a desk in a shared office (provided in all cases 2m social distancing is consistently maintained). This is because where face-to-face interaction, such as speaking with others, and movement around the space are minimised, then the risk of transmission is reduced. In addition, in these settings you are less likely to be in contact with people that you do not normally meet.

  • 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 at home, you must not come into work. Tell your line manager as soon as possible, and arrange for a test, either through the University’s Early Alert Service, or through the NHS website or NHS 111.

    If you have symptoms at work, tell your line manager and go home immediately. If you normally use public transport, speak to your manager about alternative ways of getting home.  Arrange a test through the University’s Early Alert Service, or through the NHS website or NHS 111.

    While you’re waiting for test results, you must self-isolate at home. If you test positive for Covid-19, you must comply with all current requirements.

  • I don’t have my own printer. How can I get documents printed out in college?

    Arrangements for printers are being finalised, and will be available soon.

  • Can I invite a guest to dine at College or stay in a guest room?

    Unfortunately, we are not allowing guests to visit Somerville during the pandemic. This is both to comply with government guidance and ensure we are not increasing the risk of infection. Social distancing requirements have also considerably restricted the number of diners we can accommodate at any one time in the hall. In order to make sure we can seat everyone who may wish to dine, priority has to be given to members of College.

    Exceptions have only been made for a very small number of academic staff who live on site in single person households to have a single visitor, and anyone to whom that applies has been contacted.

    We will continue to review the guest policy throughout Michaelmas Term as we assess the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic and our own arrangements.

  • What happens if there is a local lockdown or a second wave of the virus and another national lockdown?

    It is difficult to be specific about these situations, as the responses will depend on the Government guidance in place at the time. The collegiate University has been carefully planning how to respond in various situations, and such plans are updated regularly. In the meantime, we can all help to play our part by regularly washing our hands for at least 20 seconds; using hand sanitiser as necessary; maintaining social distancing; wearing a face covering; and following the guidance in place at the time.

  • Can I still eat in hall this term?

    The dining hall has now re-opened and you will be able book in for meals. You will not be able to dine this term without having booked by 12pm the day before. To see a step by step guide to using the new system, visit meal booking.