Purple flowers in front of the chapel doors

College life during Michaelmas term 2020

This page provides information about how College life in Michaelmas term 2020 is being affected by arrangements to keep students and staff safe in the context of Covid-19.

Page last updated 24 November 2020

Information about the end of term and the Vacation can be found here. 

If you think you might have covid-19, please read the guidance here. The same page also includes information about the number of cases within the College community and the number of households and individuals self-isolating. 

A summary of the key rules that students need to follow can be found here. Further information about various aspects of College life can be found below.

We all need to make adjustments to the way we live and work because of Covid-19. There are certain actions which are crucial for us all to adopt to make things as safe as possible for everyone in the community. In particular you are asked to: 

  • Keep your distance
  • Wash your hands
  • Wear a face covering
  • Got symptoms? Get a test
  • Contacted by track and trace? Stay at home

You can watch a video of students explaining this approach here 

You can find information about the University’s overall approach to teaching and learning in the context of Covid-19 here

Because some provision is online (lectures for example) all students should ensure they have appropriate IT equipment (laptop, webcam and headphones): the University’s advice on IT equipment can be found here.

The rest of the information in this section on Teaching and Learning relates only to Undergraduate and Visiting Students, because all teaching and supervision for Graduate Students is coordinated by departments and faculties.

College classes and tutorials are being provided either face-to-face or online, depending on the preferences and needs of individual tutors and students.

Some tutors are largely teaching online while others wish to teach face-to-face where possible. Your tutors will liaise directly with you about how your teaching will be conducted. This may change during the term according either to your needs or those of your tutor. You will need to keep in contact with your tutors – for example if you are required to self-isolate then you should contact your tutors to arrange for tutorials to take place online rather than face-to-face. 

Where tutorials and classes take place face-to-face, it is always expected that:

  • Social distancing, with 2m distancing, will be observed;
  • Tutors and students will wear a face covering, in line with the University face coverings policy;
  • Maximum room occupancy levels (which will be stated on the door to all teaching rooms) will be respected;
  • All participants will hand-sanitise on entry to the teaching space and will clean hard surfaces at the end of the session, using the cleaning materials provided.

In cases where students’ college teaching is delivered primarily online, Organising Tutors have been asked to ensure that they host individual, group or cohort in-person gatherings intermittently through term to ensure that students have chances to interact with their tutors and fellow students in person.

The Library is open on weekday mornings and lunchtimes (until 2pm) for browsing.

You can browse, borrow, and return books so long as you adhere to the social distancing protocols.

You can request books on the Library shelves via SOLO which means that those who do not wish to come into the Library will not need to do so. Further information about this system can be found on the Library page. But, obviously there will be a delay between placing a request and the time that staff are able to retrieve an item for you. If you feel happy to come into the Library, you would therefore do better to collect and borrow any books you want yourself in the usual way since that will mean there is no delay in obtaining what you want.

You must wear a face covering in the Library, unless you are exempt from doing so under the University face coverings policy, and you must sanitise your hands before entering the Library. Additional sanitising wipes will be provided for use on shared equipment such as the self-issue terminal and the photocopier. You are expected to sanitise such equipment before and after use.

Books returned from loan will be quarantined for 72 hours before being made available again to readers.

Further information from the College Librarian, including about accessing the University’s Bodleian Libraries, is available here

New students are encouraged to watch the Bodleian Libraries’ introductory video for new readers which can be found here.

From 2pm on weekdays, and all day at the weekends, the Library will be open for private study. There are 24 bookable seats. Slots must be booked in advance or (if available) on arrival, using the booking sheet at the Porters’ Lodge. There is designated seating, and you must sit at the spot you have signed up for.

The booking slots are:

Weekdays NA 2pm-5pm 5.15pm-8pm 8.15pm-midnight
Weekends 10am-1.30pm wpm-5pm 5.15pm-8pm 8.15pm-midnight

The Library will remain open overnight but there will not be booking slots for the night time period.

You can book up to 4 slots a week in advance, but can also turn up and sign up at the start of a slot, if space is still available. Do not occupy a seat unless you have booked it out on the sheet at the Porters’ Lodge. The booking mechanism will be reviewed in a few weeks – and may be revamped if demand suggests it isn’t needed, or that changes to it are required.

Other important notes:

  • You should wear a face covering and hand-sanitise on arrival.
  • The chairs should not be moved, and you need to wipe down hard surfaces when you arrive and when you leave.
  • Your belongings should not be left in Library.
  • If someone needs to access the books on shelves near where you are sitting, you’ll need to vacate your seat briefly and make space for them to get the books they need.

Until further notice, access to the College (including to the annexes) is limited to members of College only. The only visitors allowed on site are:

  • those students coming into College to be taught by a member of academic staff;
  • contractors invited onto site to do necessary work. 

Students from other Colleges coming in to be taught and contractors arriving on site are expected to sign in and out at the Porters’ Lodge. They will have their temperature checked before they are permitted to enter the College site. 

Students may not bring or invite any visitors onto the College site until further notice.

All College buildings, including the Porters’ Lodge, are subject to the University face coverings policy. All members of College are expected to wear a face covering in all indoor shared space, even when 2m or more from others, unless exempt from doing under the wording of the policy, and to hand-sanitise on entry to the site and frequently thereafter. On occasions, all members of College may have their temperature checked as they pass through the Lodge. 

Cleaning of high-touch areas (door handles, bannisters, key communal areas) will take place frequently.

The information in this section applies to students living in College accommodation (on the main site or in the annexes). 

Each student living in College accommodation is allocated to a ‘Household’. A Household is a group of people living in close proximity and sharing bathroom and/or kitchen facilities.

A Household is a way to control the risk of infection if someone contracts Covid-19. It means that you will only share close proximity with a limited number of people, and that measures can be put in place to alert you if someone in your Household tests positive for Covid-19. Further information is provided in the Health section below. You do not have to socially distance from people in your Household, but you will be expected to maintain a social distance of 2m from all individuals not in your Household.

Households vary in size. Often they will be between 4 and 11 students. For Undergraduate Freshers, Household size depends on the number of students sharing bathroom facilities in their buildings). Household size in the annexes depends on the number of students sharing a kitchen – the biggest household is in the Lau Building (St George’s Gate) as there is only one shared kitchen. 

Where Households have shared bathrooms or kitchens, these are clearly labelled indicating to which Household they are allocated. You must not use facilities allocated to any Household except your own. You must clean shared facilities yourself – using the cleaning materials provided – every time you use them. 

Special arrangements are in place in relation to the JCR Kitchen: this is available for use only by students on the main site who don’t have an allocated kitchen for their Household. Given that a large number of students from different Households will be sharing this facility, it is cleaned twice daily by the Scouts and each user must also hand sanitise before entry and thoroughly wipe down all areas used with the cleaning materials provided.

In all kitchens, including the JCR Kitchen, the Scouts do not wash up crockery or cooking implements; this remains your responsibility. You must wash up items used to prepare each meal immediately after use and not leave dirty items in the kitchen. Scouts may remove dirty items from kitchens if left unattended.

The College aims to provide a comprehensive catering service with the emphasis on enabling students to access cooked meals in a social – but distanced – setting. Catering staff are well briefed, wear face masks, and gloves when serving and there are hand sanitising facilities available on entry to the Hannington Hall. Payment remains cashless. 

The capacity of the Hall is limited to ensure appropriate social distancing, but mealtimes have been extended to compensate for this, and take-out is permitted if students bring their own plate or container. 

Weekdays:    breakfast 8:00–9:00; lunch 12:00–14:00; dinner 17:30–19.30
Weekends:     brunch 11:00–13:00; dinner 17.30–19.30

Clear signage shows you where to go and what to do in the Hall. Unless you are with a member of your own Household, you will need to remain socially distanced in the queue. Everyone needs to wear a face covering on the stairs and on their way through the servery. You should only remove your face covering once you are seated in the Hall with your food. Hall staff will help direct you to a seat to ensure appropriate distancing from other diners, and transparent screens will be used in some places as additional mitigations.

You can only sit directly next to or opposite someone from your own Household; otherwise, an appropriate social distance needs to be maintained. A one-way system through the Hall means that you will enter by one door and leave by another.

Formal Hall – which usually takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in term time – will not take place in the first few weeks of term; decisions about formal dinners later in term will be made in due course. 

We appreciate that social distancing requirements and Government limits concerning the number of people who can gather for social events affect the way you can interact with other students and that this will be frustrating at times. However it is essential that we all work together to reduce the risk of infection spreading within the College community.

Social activities within College are necessarily be affected by social distancing requirements. 

The JCR and MCR are both be open for student use during Michaelmas term, but students are expected to ensure that the maximum capacity of each venue is never exceeded and the University face covering policy applies in all inside spaces. There is a marquee on Linton Quad throughout Michaelmas Term to provide additional sheltered weatherproof space for events and for students to study and to hang out. There is, however, be a strict closing time for the marquee each evening to ensure that students with rooms nearby are not unduly disturbed.

Discussions are ongoing about the possibility of opening the Bar during Michaelmas term 2020. The Bar has not been open at the start of term, and plans to reopen it, with all necessary mitigations in place, will be dependent both on the sustained health of the community and on students complying with the social distancing requirements across the College site.

All University of Oxford students have been asked to sign the Covid-19 Student Responsibility Agreement to affirm their commitment to protecting the health of everyone in College, the University and the wider Oxford community.

The Agreement is an affirmation of shared values – community, consideration for others, patience, tolerance, and inclusion. It supplements your existing responsibilities under University and College politics (as set out in your contracts with the University and the College) and is designed to support community safety and well-being.

The few students who have not already done so are asked to sign a copy of the Agreement (Word doc, 701 KB)  and return it to College. An electronic signature is acceptable. You can return your signed Agreement by uploading it via the College’s Student Portal.

The College’s Welfare team is available to support students, both remotely and in-person.

The University’s Student Welfare and Support Services (SWSS) provides a range of specialist welfare services to all students at the University. This includes counselling (one-to-one and group sessions), support for disabled students, support for students who have experienced sexual violence, and mediation. Provision is currently available to all students online (by video, chat or email) and by telephone.