This section contains archival information that was archived on 13 January 2021.

Plans for students returning for Lent Term 2021

Lent term: Update 7 January 2021

The University and Colleges remain open, and will continue to engage in research, learning and education.

After considerable reflection, we have taken the difficult decision to move all teaching and learning for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students online for the entirety of the Lent term. Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students should remain where they are currently staying. Postgraduate research students who are able to work from their out-of-term address should do so. Postgraduate research students who consider Cambridge to be their primary place of residence should review the information at the following link.

For exceptions, and for more information, see the message issued by the Vice-Chancellor on 6 January 2021.


This page was last updated on 31 December 2020.

The Vice-Chancellor wrote to all students on 31 December outlining revised arrangements for their return in Lent Term, based on the latest government guidance. These arrangements are as follows:

The government expects the University and the colleges to remain open. It is now the government’s expectation, however, that the majority of undergraduate and taught postgraduate students should not return before 25 January. Until then, teaching will be delivered online. 

The date of 25 January will be subject to review by the government, and we will let you know if the current guidance changes.  

Exceptionally, an earlier return will be allowed for specific groups of students including: 

  • Medical, Veterinary and PGCE students returning for placements; 
  • Students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities; 
  • Students who need to be in Cambridge for specific reasons, including health-related reasons. We ask that students who are in this category contact their colleges directly after the holiday break. 

Students who are already in Cambridge should remain in Cambridge. Some college and University facilities and support will be available. 

Postgraduate research students who need to be in Cambridge for their research projects can return – though we strongly encourage this group of students not to do so before the week of 11 January, when asymptomatic testing will restart. 

International students who are able to change their return travel plans should consider doing so. If this is not possible, for reasons including the cost of rearranging travel, students should notify their colleges and return to Cambridge as planned. 


The government expects all students to be tested upon their return to university. As indicated above, individual tests will be available from 11 January for those who have to return early. The pooled asymptomatic testing programme for student households will resume on 18 January.  

Testing for students will be arranged by their colleges. Information about testing is available here

Students will receive further communications from their colleges over the next few days. The University will continue to update its COVID-19 pages