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Local community

Local community

Oxford University would like to reassure its neighbours in the local community that our plans to open for the next academic year put the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and all those we share this city with as our highest priority.

We are working closely with our colleagues in the local authorities and public health bodies, as well as Oxford Brookes University, on a range of measures that will allow us to open safely and in accordance with government guidelines. We are also engaging with community partners, residents’ groups and business organisations to keep everyone living and working in Oxford fully informed as our preparations for the new academic year continue.

Latest updates

The University has launched its COVID-19 response hub, providing detailed information on our plans for the 2020–21 academic year for people studying, researching, working and living in Oxford.

Buildings and facilities

An enhanced cleaning regime will be introduced across the University estate and college buildings. This will see regular cleaning of contact points such as door handles, banisters and bathrooms. Additional facilities will be in place for everyone working at and visiting our sites to maintain good hygiene such as through regular hand washing with soap and water or hand sanitiser.

Areas open to the public will be adapted to ensure social distancing and appropriate ventilation are maintained in accordance with government and scientific advice. Face coverings will be required in indoor shared spaces.

Our students and the community

We are committed to offering the majority of our students a room in college or University accommodation. The University intends to roll out the grouping of students in ‘households’ in college accommodation where they share high-contact facilities such as bathrooms or kitchens. Students in college accommodation needing to self-isolate will be supported by their college welfare officers.

Students living in private accommodation who are required to self-isolate will do so at that accommodation, but we will make welfare support available for them where appropriate. In addition to this, international students travelling to the UK will be supported by the University in the event that they have to self-isolate upon arrival.

Students will be asked to sign a ‘charter’ when they arrive in Oxford, setting out responsibilities and expectations so that they can protect themselves, each other and the community. Further details will follow over the course of the summer.

University test and tracing service

The University is creating an in-house coronavirus test and tracing service to quickly track and isolate any cases of COVID-19 amongst any of our staff and students, and prevent further transmission to the wider community. This service is organised in collaboration with the NHS and Public Health England, which have already established a drive-thru testing site for NHS staff and other key workers with coronavirus symptoms at Thornhill Park and Ride.

Members of the public can request a free NHS test (at a test site or via a home test kit) by applying online at the NHS coronavirus testing website.

The University’s test and trace sites (one in the city centre and one in Headington) will help reduce the burden on the local NHS test and trace service and allow us to support Public Health England with tracing contacts and deploy immediate sanitisation regimes in the event of a positive result.


Further details on our health and safety and wellbeing measures can be found on the keeping our community safe and well page.

If you are a resident of Oxford and have a query about the impact of our plans on the community, please contact us at local.community@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Local information and resources

Key information and guidance on the local response to COVID-19 from the council authorities and NHS in Oxfordshire can be found via the following links:

Digital and learning resources available to all

As part of our response to the introduction of lockdown and social distancing measures, the University has made a wide range of online learning resources and other content available for the public to access for free:

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