A message to staff and students from the Vice-Chancellor about the University's policy on students returning for Easter Term.

Dear all, 

I hope you have enjoyed the Easter break.  

Returning students 

Despite our hope that the UK government might indicate how the easing of restrictions on 12 April would apply to universities, no further details have been made available about the return of students for in-person learning and teaching. Like all of you, I am disappointed by this uncertainty.  

It now appears unlikely that guidance concerning in-person teaching at universities will change before Monday 17 May, at the earliest. In light of this, the University’s policy on returning students remains unchanged: 

  • For students who have been given permission to return for in-person teaching for practical or practice-based subjects, as well as for research students, this permission continues. 
  • For students who have previously been given permission to return by their College for reasons of health, or access to study spaces and facilities, this permission continues. 
  • Other students who have not previously been given permission, but who wish to return for Easter Term, are encouraged to apply to their College for permission to return if they need to do so for reasons of health (including mental health) or to access study space and facilities. 

While we continue to believe that for many students studying at Cambridge will be the best and preferred option, we recognise that others (for example, international students and those with increased susceptibility to infectious diseases) may wish to remain elsewhere. We will continue to support them and ensure they can complete their studies remotely if they so choose.  

Student testing 

Where community facilities are available to them, returning students are advised to get tested for COVID-19 before they travel to Cambridge. They should then also get tested as soon as possible after they have returned, in advance of the start of Full Easter term.  

In practice, returning students are strongly encouraged to plan their travel so that they can participate in the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme on the normal swab day for their College, up to and including the week beginning Monday 19 April. 

Further information about the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme and ‘Return to Cambridge’ tests is available on the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni website. Please note that specific testing arrangements apply for international students returning to the UK. 

Research students and staff 

Current government advice remains that staff, including Research students, should continue working from home where that is possible. Decisions on returning to the workplace will be made by individual institutions or Colleges to meet particular needs, in line with COVID-secure guidance. 

Further advice 

The government has promised to issue additional advice “at the end of the Easter holidays”, and we will continue to update you as soon as more information is available.  

With best wishes, 



Professor Stephen J Toope