Flowers in Linton Quad

Christmas Vacation and Hilary term 2021

This page provides information for current students about the end of Michaelmas term 2020, the Christmas vacation, and the start of Hilary term 2021.

Page last updated on 24 November 2020

The end of Michaelmas term 2020

When should I plan to leave Oxford?

Undergraduates are expected, under the College Regulations, to be in residence in Oxford until at least Saturday of week 8. However, if you are going home for the vacation, you are strongly advised to do so during the Government’s ‘student travel window’ of 3rd to 9th December. College has no objection to you leaving Oxford on the Thursday or Friday of week 8, as long as you can meet all your academic commitments on those days (including attending your Master’s Collection online, if you have one this term).

Other students should aim to travel during the 'student travel window' where possible and appropriate in relation to your academic and other commitments.

Will I be allocated a specific timeslot to leave Oxford?

No. You should make arrangements to leave at a time that suits you and anyone involved with getting you home. 

Student accommodation contracts for Y1 students and those living in Perrodo, Staircase 2 and Staircase 4 end at 10am on Saturday 5th December. In order to help with spreading out departures from on-site accommodation, these have been extended to 6pm on Sunday 6th December (without additional charge). You will be charged rent for any nights from 6th December onwards.

Do I need to empty my room entirely? 

Normally Y1 students and those living in Perrodo, Staircase 2 and Staircase 4 are expected to leave their rooms empty each vacation (except for anything left in the lockable box where one is provided). Exceptionally, this vacation, students are permitted to leave other belongings in their rooms because the rooms will not be used for admissions candidates or conference guests before the start of next term. However you must leave your room very tidy, with all surfaces and the floor area entirely clear, so that full cleaning of the room can be done in your absence. 

The exception to this is those Y1 students with rooms in Chavasse; these rooms must be entirely cleared to allow for redecoration over the vacation period.

What do I need to tell College about my planned departure? 

Please confirm the date of your planned departure (or indicate that you need to stay in College throughout the vacation) using this formWe need to have a clear sense of who is leaving when (and who is not leaving) in order to ensure appropriate staffing levels in College. Please could you respond as soon as you are able to, and not later than 12noon on Friday 27 November.

What should I do to ensure I can go home safely?

The national lockdown is expected to end on Wednesday 2nd December. You should continue to take care to maintain social distancing and to wear your face covering in the final days of term, when you might be tempted to let your discipline slip, in order to ensure you don’t catch coronavirus just before you return home. 

What should I do if I develop covid-19 symptoms before I am due to travel home?

You should not travel home if you have covid-19 symptoms. You should follow the existing guidance about self-isolating and booking a test via the Early Alert Service. You may need to stay at College for longer than you expected if this happens. College will provide welfare support and food delivery.

When should I plan to leave Oxford?

Undergraduates are normally expected, under the College Regulations, to be in residence in Oxford until at least Saturday of week 8. However, if you are going home for the vacation, you are strongly advised to do so during the Government’s ‘student travel window’ of 3rd to 9th December. College has no objection to you leaving Oxford on the Thursday or Friday of week 8, as long as you can meet all your academic commitments on those days (including attending your Master’s Collection online, if you have one this term).

Other students should aim to travel during the 'student travel window' where possible and appropriate in relation to your academic and other commitments. For postgraduate research students, many of whom regard Oxford as their current main residence, the College understands the guidance on the travel window not to be applicable.  

What should I do to ensure I can go home safely?

The national lockdown is expected to end on Wednesday 2nd December. You should continue to take care to maintain social distancing and to wear your face covering in the final days of term, when you might be tempted to let your discipline slip, in order to ensure you don’t catch coronavirus just before you return home. 

What should I do if I develop covid-19 symptoms before I am due to travel home?

You should not travel home if you have covid-19 symptoms. You should follow the existing guidance about self-isolating and booking a test via the Early Alert Service. You may need to stay in Oxford for longer than you expected if this happens.

Can I get a coronavirus test before I go home? 

Plans are currently being developed to enable students to access testing before they go home, using lateral flow device (LFD) tests. This are being called Christmas Travel Test. If you opt in to the testing scheme, you will need to take two tests, approximately three days apart, with the second test being close to your planned departure date. We are currently working on being ready to offer testing from Sunday 29th November onwards; information available from the University so far can be found here. College will provide information about the practical arrangements as soon as possible.

What about tests required if I am travelling abroad?

The Christmas Travel Test is not designed for international travel and cannot be used for this purpose. Entry requirements vary from country to country, but a PCR test is usually needed, so you should contact your airline, travel agent or embassy about testing requirements. If you need to have proof of a negative test for international travel you will need to take a test through a private provider, which you will need to pay for. College is not able to reimburse or contribute to such testing costs.

You need to pay careful attention to whether a 'fit to fly' certificate is required, and the time limit in which the test can be taken in relation to your travel date. Private providers offering private testing include: 

www.citydoc.org.uk/citydoc-oxford/
www.mayfieldclinic.co.uk/fees
www.herohealth.net/locations/mayfield-clinic-oxford-summertown
www.bupa.co.uk/health/health-assessments/our-centres/oxford
doctap.co.uk/services/coronavirus-test/

During the Christmas Vacation

Facilities and services during the vacation period

Further information about provision of facilities and services will be provided as soon as possible. 

Access to the College Library during the vacation period

The Library will be open for those students who are resident in College to use for private study, or to borrow books, every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. 

Welfare provision during the vacation period

The College provides a reduced level of Welfare support during vacations. Members of the Welfare Team and the College Registrar will be in regular contact with those staying over the vacation, where students wish that. The College Nurse is not available during the vacation but the College Doctors will remain open for most of the vacation period.

Depending on national regulations about events and gatherings, we will aim to facilitate some in-person or online social activities for those remaining in College for the whole vacation. 

The University has published a useful summary sheet of information about Welfare and wellbeing support here

What will happen to the Household model in the vacation?

At the current time, approximately 30 students (on the main site and in the annexes) have indicated that they will be in residence throughout the vacation. We recognise that this may be a lonely period for students unable to travel home. Those who would like to be linked up with other students in this period should contact the College Registrar, catherine.whalley@spc.ox.ac.uk.

How will I be supported if I develop covid-19 symptoms during the vacation?

You should follow the existing guidance about self-isolating and booking a test via the Early Alert Service. There is expected to be a period of approximately two weeks over Christmas and New Year where the Early Alert Service will be closed and in that period you would need to access a covid test via the NHS. 

You may need to stay at College for longer than you expected if you develop covid symptoms in the two weeks before your planned departure date. College will provide welfare support and food delivery. Please ensure you have some food supplies in your room in case you need to self-isolate. 

Will the cost of accommodation be reduced for those who are unable to go home? 

The College is not able to offer accommodation at a reduced rate. However any student for whom the cost of accommodation will place them in financial difficulty is urged to contact the Student Finance Officer, katie.pullen-rowland@spc.ox.ac.uk, at the earliest opportunity.

Access to the College site 

For those not resident in College accommodation, College will be closed in the period 19 December 2020 to 3 January 2021 inclusive. The JCR, MCR, Library and other facilities will not be open to non-resident members of College during this period. 

Access to the College Library during the vacation period

The Library will be open for non-resident students to use for private study, or to borrow books, except during the period 19 December 2020 to 3 January 2021 inclusive.

Welfare provision during the vacation period

The College provides a reduced level of Welfare support during vacations. The College Nurse is not available during the vacation period but the College Doctors will remain open for most of the vacation period. 

Depending on national regulations about events and gatherings, we will aim to facilitate some in-person or online social activities for those remaining in Oxford for the whole vacation. 

The University has published a useful summary sheet of information about Welfare and wellbeing support here

The start of Hilary term 2021

When should I plan to be back in Oxford?

Undergraduates are expected, under the College Regulations, to be in residence in Oxford from 5pm on Wednesday of week 0 (Wednesday 13th January 2021). Some students (medical students, for example) have different expectations which will have been communicated separately. Postgraduate taught students should be in Oxford by the end of week 0 (unless otherwise indicated by your faculty or department). 

Any undergraduates who plan to arrive after Wednesday 13th January 2021 should contact the College Registrar, catherine.whalley@spc.ox.ac.uk, to seek permission for a late return to College.

Do I have to be resident in Oxford during Hilary term 2021? 

The University and the College encourage all students to live and study in Oxford throughout the 2020-21 academic year. The University’s residency requirements continue to be in place in Hilary term. 

However, the University and College recognise the need to consider individual student circumstances in a sensitive and supportive manner. 

If you were already granted dispensation from the residency requirements for Michaelmas term 2020 before 1 November 2020, you will have the opportunity to extend this dispensation for Hilary term. Undergraduates who wish to do this should contact the College Registrar, catherine.whalley@spc.ox.ac.uk, about this. Postgraduate students who wish to do this should contact their department/faculty and the College Registrar to take this forward. 

If you would like to apply for a new residency dispensation for Hilary term 2021 (including if you were granted a dispensation for MT20 after 1 November 2020) then such applications will be considered on an individual basis. Further information is available on the residence requirements page on the Oxford Students website and the College Registrar should be contacted if you are considering applying for such a dispensation. 

Will we be allocated specific timeslots to arrive in Oxford?

We are not currently expecting to allocate timeslots for arrival. Student accommodation contracts for Y1 students and those living in Perrodo, Staircase 2 and Staircase 4 start from 12noon on Sunday 10th January, and we expect that most student arrivals will be distributed across the days between 10th January and 13th January. You will be charged rent for any nights before 10th January. 

What do I need to tell College about my planned arrival? 

Please confirm the date of your planned arrival using this formWe need to have a clear sense of who is arriving when in order to ensure appropriate staffing levels in College. Please could you respond as soon as you are able to, and not later than 12noon on Friday 27 November.

What should I do if I will need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK in January? 

If you will be arriving or returning from abroad and will need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, then you should inform indicate this on the online form. The list of countries from which one does not need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival can be found here. It is your responsibility to check the list regularly over the vacation period and to inform the College if you need to self-isolate on your return. 

What should I do if I develop covid-19 symptoms before I am due to travel back to College?

You must not travel back to College if you have covid-19 symptoms. You should self-isolate wherever you are and get a test if possible. You may need to return late to College, once you have completed any required self-isolation and are symptom-free.