An initial message about the impact of the new national lockdown on students and staff. 

Dear all,

We start the new year with news of another national lockdown. Following last night’s announcement by the Government, initial guidance has been issued to universities. We are expecting further and more detailed advice from the Department for Education shortly. I hope to provide more clarity on how the Lent term will unfold in a message tomorrow [6 January ETA: this message can now be read online].

The key message for undergraduate and postgraduate students on taught courses is that they should not return to Cambridge unless they fall within one of the categories specified in earlier communications. Students who are not in one of those categories should remain where they are, and start their term online. Students who are currently in Cambridge should remain in Cambridge.

Postgraduate research students who are able to work from their out-of-term address must do so until further notice. Postgraduate research students who are unable to work from their out-of-term address can return – provided they have been tested and are working in a building with an updated COVID-secure plan.

International students who are able to change their return travel plans should do so. Students who travel to Cambridge will have to stay here for the duration of the national lockdown.

I understand this is a distressing time, and in particular acknowledge that the change of circumstances adds to the pressure on our staff. We are reflecting on the implications of last night’s announcement, and will be in touch


Professor Stephen J Toope