Plans for Lent Term, Easter vacation and Easter Term 2021
On 22 February the Prime Minister set out the ‘roadmap’ for exiting the current lockdown in England and the Department for Education has issued new guidance for universities.
Lent Term 2021
There is no major change to the University’s provision for this term or the vacation. Teaching will remain online for the majority of courses (with a few exceptions – see below), and those courses, such as clinical medicine, that are already teaching in-person will continue to do so. As per current rules, research students are permitted to access specialist facilities if necessary for their work.
Exceptional reasons for return:
The Government has allowed a small number of practical or practice-based courses to resume in-person teaching from 8 March. Students on these courses will hear directly from their Faculty or Department if and when teaching or the use of specialist facilities will resume. You should liaise with your College about when you can return to College accommodation. Students who have returned to Cambridge should not take part in in-person teaching until they have had a negative test (see more on testing below).
As is currently the case, students can apply to their College to be allowed to return to Cambridge at any point for health/safety reasons or because of inadequate access to facilities/study space. In addition, students can now be given permission to return if they need to access educational facilities, such as the limited in-person library services (click and collect).
Travel will be permitted on one occasion from their term-time accommodation at University to (and from) one other household for the purposes of a vacation during the Easter break. The window for travel is from 8 March to 29 April. This relates to both domestic and international travel. Please note:
In order to minimise transmission of COVID-19, the government still strongly advises against travel.
Students are advised not to travel abroad because travel restrictions could change whilst they are overseas and they may not be able to return. If this did happen, such students should contact their College to seek permission for remote study for the Easter Term.
Students who do plan to travel to another country will need to complete a travel declaration form about their reason to travel and show this at the port of departure. They should check any requirements for travelling to their destination, noting that international travel is likely to require a negative COVID-19 test. Please note the University's testing programme cannot be used for this purpose. There is a UK-accredited list of private providers for general testing but country-specific testing requirements for travel should be checked before booking. Please also consider this information on travel to the UK.
When you are given permission by your college to return to Cambridge, you are encouraged to get a test through the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme as soon as possible when you are back. If this is not possible (for example, because you are not eligible for the screening programme), or there will be an unavoidable delay between your return and next swab day, you can access a ‘Return to Cambridge’ test. You must follow your College’s guidance on the rules you need to observe.
Students should note that there is no immediate change to library provision, although the possibility of controlled access to study spaces is being reviewed. There is a gradual reopening process for the University Library, Faculty and Departmental libraries and College libraries, with the goal of physical library access returning to Michaelmas Term 2020 levels by the start of Easter Term. For Lent Term library services remain mainly online and remote, though a small number of libraries are open as study spaces with limited capacity.
Easter vacation 2021
Under current guidance, all students, both UK and international, who are currently in Cambridge or plan to travel to Cambridge for one of the permitted reasons specified above should remain here over the Easter vacation unless they need to travel for legally permitted reasons such as illness or mental health. It is possible that this guidance may change around 29 March and if so, students will be informed as soon as possible.
Easter Term 2021
We hope to welcome back as many students as possible in Easter Term 2021, but this depends on what is allowed by the UK Government, which is currently intending to review the general return of undergraduate and postgraduate students on taught courses ‘at the end of the Easter holidays’. We are seeking urgent clarification from the Department for Education as to the actual date of this review. The Government will give a week’s notice to students before they are allowed to return.
At the moment, we are planning for all students to be back in Cambridge next term, save for those who have an underlying health condition or who cannot travel to Cambridge. We realise that due to the short notice for return and the need to quarantine for 10 days, it will be difficult for international students to return to Cambridge. All students who face such difficulties in returning should contact their College to discuss remote study for Easter Term.
The examination and assessment timetable is being constructed now. The timetable is likely to extend to 2 July, but we will ensure that final-year undergraduates and postgraduate students on taught courses will have their exams scheduled as early as possible to enable them to graduate.
Work is being undertaken to see if some form of modified in-person graduation ceremonies could be possible this summer, depending on what Government restrictions will allow and what is logistically feasible.