A message to staff and students from the Vice-Chancellor about students returning to Cambridge, staff returning to the workplace and Mental Health Awareness Week.

Dear all,

Student return to Cambridge

On Monday the government announced that all university students will be allowed to return to in-person teaching from Monday 17 May. Quite a number of you have returned already, but we are delighted to welcome many more of our students who are able to travel back to Cambridge.

I appreciate that this is late in the academic year as we prepare for examinations, but for students on courses where teaching would normally be taking place at this point in the academic year, in-person small-group University and College teaching can resume.

In-person examinations

In-person examinations will now go ahead for those subjects which have planned for this mode of assessment, with online examinations being available for those who are unable to return to Cambridge.

Student testing

For your safety, and for the safety of the wider Cambridge community, it is very important to continue to take part in our screening programme. I strongly encourage all students to do so, particularly as more of you find yourselves back in Cambridge. The more people participate in the programme, the lower the level of transmission, and the less time our students, as a whole, will need to self-isolate. Everything you need to know about arrangements for screening this term is available online, including information for students returning to Cambridge and international students returning to Cambridge.

Staff return to the workplace

The official advice, until at least 21 June, remains to work from home if you can. Our planning is based on that advice. As COVID restrictions begin to loosen, Faculties, Departments and other University institutions are being asked for their views on draft University guidance about moving safely towards a hybrid or blended way of working, where roles allow. The feedback will inform a phased return to the workplace from June onwards for those who are not already working on site.

Mental health awareness

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. To mark it, the University has a curated a programme of talks and activities that aim to promote good mental and physical health for all. The theme of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week is Nature and the Environment, and we are all being encouraged to get outdoors. Full details for the programme are available here.

And finally…

I am delighted to note that the University’s museums – including the Fitzwilliam, Kettle’s Yard and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – will reopen next week. Visits will need to be booked in advance, so be sure to check details before visiting.

With best wishes,


Prof Stephen J Toope