Things are different this year, and we understand that this may be challenging at times. However, we are committed to ensuring your time at Oxford is as rewarding and fulfilling as possible, within the constraints of the pandemic.
These pages provide the latest information about COVID-19 for all students, from education and student life to travel, visas and accommodation. They will be updated on a regular basis, so please check back often.
The information on this page is for current Oxford students.
If you are thinking of applying for study at Oxford, please go to the applicants section of this site.
Arrangements for Hilary and Trinity terms (updated 01 March)
Teaching, learning and assessments (updated 26 January)
Teaching and learning
On Monday 22 February, the UK Government confirmed that:
- Students will be allowed to return from 8 March to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities, or complete assessments
- It will review the options for timing of the return of all other students by the end of the Easter holidays.
The implications of this guidance for Oxford students are outlined below. This may vary for part-time students and those on distance learning courses.
In Hilary term, we expect teaching to take place online for the rest of the term for most students, other than those who have been given specific permission to resume in-person teaching.
In Trinity term, teaching will generally take place within normal term dates, whether it be online or in-person. When in-person teaching restarts will depend on your course and level of study:
Because 8 March falls at the end of Hilary term, teaching will continue to take place online for the rest of the term for most students (unless you are on a course where in-person teaching has already restarted).
In-person ‘Catch-up teaching’ will resume for a small number of students from Monday 12 April (Week -1 Trinity term).
For some other courses, particularly those with a practical element and those which are practice-based, in-person teaching will start from Monday 26 April (Week 1 Trinity term).
If you are on a non-practical course, we will not be able to confirm when your in-person teaching can resume until the Government announcement around Easter, but we will inform you as soon as we can.
- Taught postgraduates
Some taught postgraduate courses with a practical element, and those which are practice-based, will resume in-person teaching from Monday 8 March.
Your department will confirm the specific arrangements for your course in the near future.
Postgraduate research students
Postgraduate research students (including final year students on integrated Masters courses) are not affected by the Government announcement. You can continue to conduct your research on-site where it is necessary, and you have been permitted to do so.
There will be no in-person exams in Hilary term (with the exception of one medical exam needed to meet professional body requirements). Your department will inform you of any changes to exam arrangements as appropriate.
Most exams will take place online in Trinity term, and as announced previously, most will use Inspera. Go to the Trinity term exams page for more information.
A single webpage outlining the format of all exams will be published in the near future.
An 'academic support package' has been developed to support students impacted by COVID-19. Go to the teaching and learning page for more information.
While for most students, access to the Bodleian libraries is primarily online, the libraries are working to maximise the range of resources and support available to everyone through these means. Please do use its Live Chat for any queries you have.
For those students who are in Oxford the Bodleian is also providing access to library study spaces, and expanding opening hours and spaces as the term progresses. Please check regularly for updates on reading room availability and opening hours, use Space Finder to book your space (and please do use your space if you book it). Please support your fellow students, library staff and academic staff by wearing a face covering at all times unless you have a medical exemption, and by leaving a two-metre space between you and other library users and staff.
Returning to Oxford (updated 26 February)
Residency requirements will not be in place for Trinity term, so you do not have to be in Oxford. However, we encourage you to return for in-person teaching where possible.
You should review the ‘teaching and learning’ section above for guidance about in-person start dates. Your department will confirm specific arrangements for your course in the near future.
Students on non-practical courses
Please remember that if you are on a non-practical or practice-based course, the Government will not issue guidance on your return for in-person teaching until 5 April at the earliest.
We realise it will be disappointing for you not to get more clarity at this stage. However, we are committed to reviewing these arrangements as soon as possible after we get more guidance from the Government, and we remain hopeful that a wider student return will be possible in Trinity term.
Other students who may be able to return
In line with Government guidance, you may also be able to return if:
- You need to collect any medical equipment or items required for online learning
- You need to return for health and safety (including mental health and wellbeing) reasons
Colleges will consider requests to return on this basis at any time, in line with Government guidance.
In addition to those who are able to come back to Oxford for in-person teaching, Government guidance states that you may be permitted to return if you do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities or study space.
These needs are likely to be particularly acute for students nearing completion of their degrees, with important submissions and final assessments in the next term. Therefore, consideration will be given for you to return in order to access facilities needed for education or revision if you are:
- A taught postgraduate student in your final year, including those on one-year taught Masters programmes (in which case you may be able to return from 8 March)
- A final year undergraduate student, including third-year students on four-year integrated masters courses (in which case you may be able to return from 12 April).
If you believe that any of the criteria above apply to you, you should contact your college (or your department if you don’t have a college).
Please do not make plans to travel to Oxford until you have confirmed with your college when you are able to return.
You should return in time to take two Lateral Flow Device tests before your in-person teaching begins. You will be able to access these tests through your college (or your department if you don’t have a college). See the testing section below for information.
If you have in-person teaching scheduled, but are not able to return, you should discuss with your department what alternative arrangements can be put in place for you, including whether an alternative catch up plan can be offered at a later date.
International students will be supported to return in time to take part in in-person teaching where necessary. However, if you do not have a large amount of in-person teaching scheduled for Trinity term, you may wish to take advantage of the residency exemption, particularly if you are in a ‘red list’ country (see below).
If you decide to return, you need to follow national and international travel guidance and must self-isolate for ten days on arrival in the UK. If you plan to self-isolate in college accommodation, you must agree this with your college in advance to ensure they are able to support you.
You will need to take a COVID-19 ‘PCR’ test before you travel and provide proof of a negative result upon entry to the UK. You will also need to book two PCR tests to take during your self-isolation period; and it may be possible to reduce your isolation time by making use of the ‘test to release’ to scheme. The University and colleges will not routinely meet the costs of tests for students returning from outside the UK.
If you have in-person practical teaching scheduled for Trinity term but are not able to return, you should discuss with your department what alternative arrangements can be put in place for you, including whether an alternative catch up plan can be offered at a later date.
You should also be aware that countries can quickly move onto the Government’s ‘red list’ (see below), which could significantly increase the cost and complexity of travelling.
Students in ‘red list’ countries
If you are in a country that is on the UK Government’s ‘red list’, we advise you to take advantage of the residency exemption, unless you have substantial in-person teaching commitments.
If there is catch-up in-person teaching planned for your course, but you are unable to return to Oxford, your Department will support you with alternative arrangements (including possible catch up teaching in a following year of study, though this cannot be guaranteed).
The University and colleges will not routinely meet the costs of COVID-19 PCR tests taken or booked before travelling back to the UK, or quarantine costs for students returning from red list countries (currently £1,750).
You will not be eligible to seek support from hardship funds upfront to enable you to return. However, in some instances where the costs of testing or quarantine are a contributory factor in student hardship, it may be possible for some support to be provided from the University’s COVID-19 Hardship Fund.
If you are in a ‘red list’ country, you must speak to your college and department before taking a decision to return.
Postgraduate research students
If you are not currently in Oxford, you will be supported to return if you feel it would benefit your work (for example, through access to library facilities). However, if you are in a ‘red list’ country, you should speak to your supervisor about delaying your return and conducting preparatory work from home for the time being (see ‘red list’ section above).
If you are on a part-time or distance learning course, arrangements for your return to Oxford will vary. Your department will provide further details as soon as possible.
Student life (updated 26 February)
While the national lockdown is being progressively eased, there will continue to be significant restrictions on what we can and cannot do for some time.
This means that student life in Trinity term will not be the same as it has been in other years.
However, we will support students who are already in Oxford, or who are permitted to return. Welfare support and all other student services will be operational – either in-person or in remote form.
We will shortly be providing advice about support available during the Easter vacation.
Sports will re-start in line with the easing of Government restrictions, with some outdoor sport expected to return from the end of March, and indoor sport from the middle of April. Further information about this will follow in due course. Active Anywhere will remain available free of charge to provide support online fitness and relaxation activities.
Student clubs and societies continue to be active online, and have run in-person events when restrictions allow. This hybrid approach is expected to carry on.
Please remember that ‘household’ arrangements will still be in place in colleges. Go to the colleges and accommodation page for more information.
Health and testing (updated 26 February)
It is important that we continue to take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, to protect the health of the whole Oxford community.
You will be expected to continue following all aspects of the Student Responsibility Agreement when you are in Oxford.
You must also follow all Government and University health guidance. In particular you should:
- Keep your distance
- Wash your hands
- Wear a face covering (unless you’re exempt)
- Got symptoms? Get a test
- - Contacted by Test and Trace? Stay at home.
You must continue to follow these measures even if you have already had COVID-19 or have been vaccinated.
You will be expected to take two Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests when you return to Oxford – on the first day you arrive and one three days later.
You will be offered the tests whether you are a resident student, or a part-time student arriving to take part in a residential course.
You should only resume in-person teaching after you have taken two tests and reported negative results; and should factor this into your travel plans.
We also expect to be able to offer regular asymptomatic testing to all students as well as staff working on-site from Trinity term. Details about this will follow in the near future.
Who should take the tests
All students are expected to take the tests when they return to Oxford. This includes postgraduate research and part-time students.
You should take them even if you have recently received a negative COVID-19 test result.
You should not take the tests if:
• You have symptoms of COVID-19: You should instead book a PCR test via the Early Alert Service and follow the advice you are given when you receive your result (if you develop symptoms between LFD tests, you must stop taking the LFDs and have a PCR test instead).
• You have had a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days: LFDs are less effective in this period.
Why you should take the tests
Lateral Flow Device tests are an important tool in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.
They help detect if you have COVID-19 before you develop symptoms. This:
• Reduces the risk that you will infect others
• Ensures that those who need to self-isolate do so sooner
• Reduces the number of people who will need to self-isolate
Large numbers of students taking the tests will ultimately reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the community, and help protect vulnerable people.
While LFDs do not detect every case of COVID-19, if you follow the training carefully and take two tests when you return to Oxford, this will significantly increase the chances that cases are detected – and in particular, cases that are likely to be transmitted to others.
Because the tests do not pick up every case, you may still be infectious even if you receive a negative result, so it is essential that you continue to follow all COVID precautions.
About the tests
Your college will tell you how to obtain your lateral flow devices. They are the same tests that were used in the Christmas Travel Tests.
All students will take the tests themselves, and online training will be available to support you.
Even if you have already completed the training, we encourage you to review the materials again to refresh your knowledge.
The tests are delivered by colleges and are overseen by the Testing for COVID-19: Early Alert Service.
Your result will be visible within 30 minutes.
After you take the tests
If you test positive in any of your LFD tests, you must self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test through the Early Alert Service and continue self-isolating until you know the result.
It is crucial that you immediately record the results of each test as soon as they are visible. You must do this via the result reporting section of the Early Alert Service or via the quick link which you will receive via text and email when you are issued your LFDs. This will help the University and the NHS to understand how the virus spreads, helping to protect the community.
You should take your first test as soon as possible after you arrive in Oxford.
You should limit your social contact and interaction with others until you receive the result, which will be within 30 minutes.
If you live in college accommodation and test positive, your college will arrange for you to self-isolate away from your household, to limit the spread of the virus.
If the first test is negative, you should continue to be cautious until you have taken your second test.
This means limiting social interactions (but not self-isolating). You should not take part in in-person teaching, but can visit the physical libraries when they are open (extensive online services and resources are available).
If your second test is negative, you can take part in in-person teaching, and activities that are available to you under current lockdown rules.
You must continue to adhere to all health guidance and the Student Responsibility Agreement.
We expect to be able to offer students LFD tests on a regular basis after they return, as well as staff working on-site. As such, you are likely to be offered additional tests when you are back in Oxford. Details will follow in the near future.
If a close contact or household member tests positive
If a member of your household or a close contact tests positive in an LFD test, they will need to take a confirmatory PCR test.
You should self-isolate as soon as you become aware that your close contact has received a positive LFD result.
You should continue to self-isolate until that person has received the result of their PCR test (but continue to take your LFD tests as planned).
If your close contact’s PCR test result is negative, you can stop self-isolating at that point. If It is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days.
Please note that this guidance will not apply if you live in college accommodation and the individual with who has tested positive has been asked to self-isolate away from your household and you have not been in contact with them.
Testing before travelling back to Oxford
If you live in an area in the UK with a community testing programme in place that provides LFD tests, you are encouraged to take one of these tests in your local area, where it fits with locally defined priorities, before you travel back to Oxford - even if you do not have symptoms.
If you test positive you must self-isolate at home and not travel back until you have completed your self-isolation.
If your test at home is negative, you can return to Oxford. You should still take the LFDs when you arrive. This is because LFDs only detect infections at a certain point in time.
Easter vacation (added 1 March)
Government guidance currently states that you should not leave your term-time accommodation, unless you can demonstrate that you have an exemption from the national restrictions on leaving home. As the guidance current currently stands, this means that if you are already in Oxford, you will need to remain here for Easter Vacation unless you have an exemption.
It is possible that the guidance may change around 29 March, as part of the next stage of the Government's easing of restrictions. If this is the case, we will inform you as soon as we can.
If you live in college or University graduate accommodation, go to the colleges and accommodation page for information about accommodation charges.
We will shortly be providing advice about support available during the Easter vacation.
College and University hardship support continues to be available should you need it.
Travelling from Oxford (Added Friday 26 February)
Travelling from Oxford to other parts of the UK
The Government currently advises students to minimise travel. Its guidance states that you should not leave your term-time accommodation, unless you can demonstrate that you have an exemption from the national restrictions on leaving home. As the guidance currently stands, at the end of term, and during the Easter Vacation, you should not leave your Oxford accommodation to return home or travel unless you have an exemption.
Travelling from the UK to other countries
- Personal travel
You can only travel internationally where you have a legally permitted reason to do so. If you are thinking of travelling overseas you should make sure that you have a legal reason for travelling, and that you comply with all relevant UK and international travel advice. Please note that it is currently illegal to travel internationally for leisure or tourism purposes.
- Travelling for educational purposes
UK Government restrictions allow students to travel, by exception, for educational purposes. (such as for field trips, or for research). If you plan to travel internationally for educational purposes, you will require the advance approval of your Head of Department or Faculty Board Chair. They will balance the need for the travel against the risks involved, to ensure that only essential travel takes place, and only in exceptional circumstances. Requests will only be considered once a risk assessment has been approved by your supervisor and the University Safety Office. Please talk to your tutor or supervisor at the earliest opportunity and they will be able to provide advice and support.
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