Update 15 April 2021: Easter Term

Current government guidance is that in-person teaching will not change before 17 May at the earliest, and that this date will be subject to review. The University's policy on the return of students remains unchanged, as set out in the Vice-Chancellor's 9 April message to staff and students

Teaching will remain online for the majority of courses. Those courses resuming in-person teaching are listed on the student guidance page. Research students are permitted to access specialist facilities if necessary for their work.


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Students studying remotely 

Most undergraduate students and students undertaking taught postgraduate courses must study remotely until government regulations allow for return to Cambridge. For exceptions, information for postgraduate research students and further details, see this message from the Vice-Chancellor

College, departmental and Faculty support remains available to students studying remotely. Information on accessing library services, including remote and zero-contact facilities, is available on the library webpages. The Disability Resource CentreUniversity Counselling Service and Careers Service are all available online and for remote appointments. This section, on help and support gives more information on support available from the University and your college.


Living in Cambridge

The University and the Colleges are making every effort to ensure the health and wellbeing of students during this period. For students who are in residence during the period of national lockdown, Colleges will continue to offer accommodation, food and a wide range of college services. 

It is essential that you follow the information on these StaySafeCambridgeUni webpages and government advice.

Please also read and align yourself with the Collegiate University’s COVID Community Statement. This brief statement of purpose emphasises our individual and collective responsibility in minimising risks, and maximising support, for students, staff and visitors.

All resident members of Colleges are expected to abide by these key principles:

  • Minimise the risks of virus transmission in all aspects of your life 
  • Limit contact with other people outside of your household 
  • Observe social distancing practices when you go out, keeping at least 2m apart wherever possible and taking other precautions, such as wearing a face covering, if this is not possible 
  • Sanitise or wash your hands regularly 
  • Do not leave home if you, or anyone you live with, has symptoms. 


How COVID-19 is transmitted and how to reduce risks

Since December 2020, a new, highly transmissible version of SARS-Cov-2 has spread throughout  South-East and Eastern England since the end of last term. This makes it even more important to follow measures to reduce transmission.

COVID-19 is transmitted in three ways:

  • Direct person-to-person contact - if an infectious person breathes droplets on you or you pick them up through physical contact with an infectious person.
  • Contact with a contaminated surface - if you touch a surface contaminated with the virus and then touch your nose, eyes or mouth, you may be infected.
  • Aerosol transmission - fine droplets of liquid containing virus are breathed out, form an aerosol and are carried through the air. You may become infected if you breathe these in.

If you are further away from someone there’s less risk of catching the virus from droplets or aerosol transmission. However, distance isn’t the only thing that matters.

  • Duration - the longer you are close to an infectious person, the higher the risk.
  • Fresh air - the risk is lower if you are outdoors, or in a well ventilated area.
  • Direction - the risk is lower if you are not face-on with the infectious person.

The risk of transmission is small at 2m and where possible, you should maintain 2m distance.

If it is not possible to keep 2m distance, reduce the risk to yourself and others at 1m by taking suitable precautions:

  • Sit / stand side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them
  • Meet people outdoors
  • Keep interactions brief
  • Wear a face covering when indoors, on  public transport, in shops or crowded indoor environments
  • Increase ventilation
  • Avoid loud talking or singing with others

To minimise the risk of transmission via surface contact, you should:

  • Regularly wash your hands using soap and water or use hand sanitiser
  • Avoid touching surfaces and do not touch your face
  • Dispose of waste safely, including items such as paper face masks or gloves

In all cases, you must not go to work or attend other public spaces if you are symptomatic, or a member of your household is symptomatic.


Households in the University of Cambridge context

If you live in College accommodation that includes a shared bathroom/shower and/or toilet and/or kitchen area, then all the occupants that share these facilities constitute a ‘household’. Close and consistent adoption of this practice has helped protect students already in Cambridge in the months since lockdown was applied, and we need your help to maintain this to minimise the risk to yourself and others.  The size and nature of each household will inevitably vary depending upon the type of accommodation available and offered in different Colleges.

Take joint responsibility for keeping your room and shared facilities clean: By taking care of cleaning your own room and by cleaning shared facilities each time you use them you reduce the frequency of visits from housekeeping staff, keeping everyone safer.

Communal entrances to accommodation: Be aware of high-contact surfaces including door handles and stair bannisters in communal entrances. Wash your hands before leaving your household and immediately after returning.

As part of a ‘social bubble’

Government guidance on meeting people from outside your household allows, in theory, for a person living in a single person household to connect up with a second household (a ‘social bubble’) – enabling closer contact between individuals without social distancing. 

For students living in single person households during the current period of limited return to Cambridge (Lent Term), the formation of a support bubble should, under most circumstances, be feasible. Any bubble must be registered with the college, and all students involved must give their consent to the bubble formation. Students must contact their colleges if they wish to form a support bubble. Please note that, in the event that any member of either household becomes symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, the whole bubble would need to isolate.


Face coverings

Updated advice (7 Jan 2021)

The University and Colleges now expect all members of the Cambridge community to wear face coverings at ALL times in ALL indoor work or study settings, even if social distancing of at least 2 m can be maintained. The only exceptions are work in single-occupancy rooms with closed doors, when actively eating or drinking, or when the individual concerned has a medical exemption. Staff should carry face coverings with them at all times and wear them when asked to do so by College or University authorities.

Full University and Colleges joint statement on face coverings >


Meeting others socially

From 29th March 2021

  • you can meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (a household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)
  • you can take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen. 
  • You must not meet indoors with anybody outside your household or have formed a support bubble with (if you are eligible), unless another legal exemption applies. For more information, please make sure you read the guidance on the Government website

You should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.

Sports and exercise

From the 29th March 2021, you can exercise outdoors in a group of 6 or a larger group of any size from up to 2 households (including their support bubbles, if eligible).

You can also take part in formally organised outdoor sports or licensed physical activity with any number of people. This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take the required precautions, including the completion of a risk assessment. You should avoid contact in training and, for some sports, avoid contact in all activities. Read the guidance on what avoiding contact means for your sport.

Outdoor sport and leisure facilities may open. Indoor gyms and other sports facilities, including changing rooms, will remain closed.

The University of Cambridge Sports Centre, though closed in line with national restrictions,  is organsing a virtual 'Couch to 5k' group throughout the Lent Term

Clubs and Societies

For more information on how each club or society will be operating during the pandemic, we advise you to refer to individual websites. These can be found through the University of Cambridge Registered Clubs and Societies page.


Pastoral and wellbeing matters

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has brought personal hardship to many if not most of us in different ways. The University and Colleges are committed to offering as much help as possible and are working closely together to do this.

If you require support or help your immediate source is your College. Your Tutor or Senior Tutor would normally be your point of first contact, but College NursesPortersDeans or Chaplains and the Tutorial Office staff in general also typically form part of Colleges’ support teams.

Welfare Officers and other executive members of your JCR or MCR are also able to offer support.

See the Help and support page for information on the University’s support services, including the University Counselling Service and Disability Resource Centre, which are maintaining an online service. Do make use of them if you need to, with your Tutor’s help if needed. Online support and information can be accessed through the University’s wellbeing website. Check your College website for information on College-based support.

Please let your Tutor or someone else in the support team at your College know if you are feeling lonely, anxious, or isolated, particularly if you are currently living in non-shared accommodation.