Guidance for resident students from 4th July 2020 onwards


This guidance is for all students currently resident in Cambridge. It will be updated as government advice changes. It sits alongside and complements advice from your Department or place of research, and you should also follow general updates on the University’s coronavirus webpages. College websites also carry the latest information on the provision of College services.

Cambridge currently has a low incidence of COVID-19 but the prospect of a new and rapid spike in cases remains a very real threat, particularly as people begin to return to work from away, so it is essential you read and follow Government Public Health England (PHE) advice on social distancing: Staying alert and safe (social distancing).

Please 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:

  • Stay alert to minimising the risks of virus transmission in all aspects of your life
  • Work from home whenever you can
  • Limit contact with other people outside of your household.
  • Observe social distance when you go out
  • Wash your hands regularly, and don’t leave home if you, or anyone you live with, has symptoms (see below)

Jump to:

  1. Households in Cambridge
  2. Social distancing guidance in the College context
  3. Your commitment to minimizing transmission of COVID-19 in Cambridge
  4. College spaces and services
  5. Pastoral and wellbeing matters

Annex A: How COVID-19 is transmitted and how to reduce risks


1. Households in Cambridge

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, and we need your help to maintain this to minimise the risk to yourself and others.

Please keep up to date with the evolving PHE guidance on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus and on social distancing.

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.


2. Social distancing guidance in the College context

Please make every effort to minimise the likelihood of bringing infection back to your household by staying up to date with PHE guidance: Staying alert and safe (social distancing) and by following these guidelines:

Stay alert to social distancing guidance when you are away from your household

Keep up to date with specific guidance for staying safe outside of your home. In general, follow all relevant signage in your Colleges or work place and maintain 2 metre social distance from people outside of your household wherever possible. Note that you must wear a face covering on public transport and when attending medical facilities. Annex A provides advice on how to reduce risk where 2 metre distancing is not possible.

Practice frequent handwashing and good respiratory hygiene

Sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it hygienically, cover your mouth if coughing and wash your hands again. Use hand sanitizers where these are provided.

Exercise and recreation


Spend time outside, as frequently as you wish, for exercise. This can be done alone or with members of your existing household. You may also meet outside with up to 6 people from different households, but retaining 2 metre social distancing. Where all members of the group are from just 2 households then the maximum number may be greater than 6. Training and sports in groups of up to 6 is now permitted, more where all members of the group are from just 2 households. However, you must maintain 2 metre distance, minimise equipment sharing and exercise strict hand hygiene.

Indoor public or communal venues outside of the College (public restaurants, places of worship etc.)

You can meet in groups of up to 2 households but you must observe social distancing at the venue. Do not interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending the venue with.

Visitors to Colleges’ non-residential areas

Check with your College’s Porters’ Lodge for the latest local visitor guidance which may vary between Colleges. Where permitted, visitors to the main College site must be met outside the Porters Lodge and are required to register their presence in the Lodge. Please keep visitors to the minimum necessary.

In general, outdoors in the College gardens, you may gather in a group of up to 6 people from different households, but retaining 2 metre social distancing. In indoor communal areas, for example dining areas, local social distancing instructions must be observed. Work-related in-person meetings with visitors in non-communal areas should take place only where absolutely necessary and be in line with the College’s risk assessments for the venue. Always check with your host on local rules before visiting another College.

Visits to or from households in College accommodation areas

Again, it is important that you check with your College’s Porters’ Lodge for the latest local visitor guidance which may vary between Colleges.

Household visits with social distancing

Your household can host a visit from one other household at any one time provided social distancing is maintained (refer to Annex A for further risk mitigation steps). Any visitors to households in College accommodation on the main College site must be registered in your name at the Porters Lodge and must be collected from there by you. If you live in an off-site College hostel or in private accommodation then you are responsible for retaining a list of your visitors in the preceding 21 days for Test and Trace purposes. Work as a household to minimise the number of visitors to your accommodation areas. It is important to avoid having visitors from multiple households visit your own household at the same time; consider using group-chats to coordinate visits – especially for larger households.

As part of a ‘social bubble’

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. In the interests of safety and equity to all members of a shared College household, people living in College accommodation will not normally, in most circumstances, be allowed to operate social bubbles in this way. To do so might be unfair or lead to undue pressure on other members of a shared household since a social bubble is permitted to contain only 2 households in total. Further, all members of both households in the social bubble must isolate for 14 days if any member of either household becomes symptomatic.

Staying with friends or relations away from Cambridge

Only do this when absolutely necessary. Only stay overnight away from your Cambridge household with members of one other household (social distancing must be maintained) and keep a list of people you stayed with in the preceding 21 days for Test and Trace purposes.  Undergraduates should discuss any planned Term time absence from Cambridge with their Tutor in advance.


3. Your commitment to minimizing transmission of COVID-19 in Cambridge

Take immediate action if you develop symptoms of COVID-19

Ensure you are familiar with PHE advice on when to self-isolate or household isolate. If your symptoms include one or more of: fever, prolonged cough or change in sense of smell/taste, then you and all other members of your household need to quarantine (household isolation) in accordance with NHS guidance. Your College will also have specific information about household isolation on its website. If your symptoms only include other 'flu-like symptoms such as sore throat or muscle aches, then other members of your household do not need to quarantine unless you subsequently test positive. Testing should be accessed quickly through the University, but NHS testing is also available (out of hours or at weekends). The University will also offer a test even if you have only ‘flu like signs. It is essential that you email or call the Porters’ Lodge straight away in this situation, so they can inform the College Nurse and or your Tutor. Do not go to the Porters’ Lodge in person. You should report in this way whether or not you live in College or private accommodation. If your test is positive your entire household group will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.  Further advice will be given on receipt of positive and negative testing results. The College, along with any nominated self-isolation supporters you already named, will support you during this time. Refer to your College website for FAQs on this and related matters.

Comply with instructions from NHS Test and Trace

If you are told by NHS Test and Trace that you have been in contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus infection then you must self-isolate for 14 days (refer to NHS guidance on how to do this). If you do not have symptoms then any other people you live with in your household do not need to isolate as a household but you must segregate from them as much as possible. If you do have symptoms then you and any other members of your household must self-isolate, while you obtain a test with the University or NHS (see 3.1). A negative result means you will have to continue your 14 days of self-isolation (you may still develop COVID after a negative test) but others you live with can stop isolating. A positive result means your household must isolate for 14 days from the start of symptoms within the household. If someone you meet outside of your household tells you they have COVID symptoms you are not required to isolate unless you or someone in your household develops symptoms or you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.


4. College spaces and services

The latest detailed information on the current arrangements for key services (Porters’ Lodge, catering, housekeeping etc), and the availability of communal, study and social spaces, is available on your College website.


5. Pastoral and wellbeing matters

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has brought personal hardship to many if not most of us in different ways. However, the University and Colleges are committed to offering as much help as possible, and are working closely together to this end. The University’s core support services, the University Counselling Service (UCS) and Disability Resource Centre (DRC), are maintaining an on line service. Do make use of them if you need to, with your Tutor’s help if needed. A vast array of online support and information can be accessed through the University’s wellbeing website. Finally, check your College website for information on College-based support.

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


Annex A

How COVID-19 is transmitted and how to reduce risks

COVID-19 is transmitted in three ways:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  • Limit the number of people or households that you come into contact with, e.g. avoid peak travel
  • Sit / stand side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them
  • Meet people outdoors, rather than indoors
  • Keep interactions brief
  • Wear a face covering 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.