A student working alone in a library.
A student working alone in a library.

Current students  

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. 

If you are an offer holder, please refer to our FAQs for undergraduate offer holders or graduate offer holders (2020/21 entry).

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Latest updates 

Arrangements for students after 17 May (updated 10 May)

The UK Government confirmed today that it will move to Step 3 of its roadmap for easing national restrictions. The University and colleges are now urgently review the guidance as a priority, and will provide further information as soon as possible. This is likely to be towards the end of this week. Until that point, you should continue to follow the guidance published below on this page. We appreciate your continued patience while we await the updated guidance.  

COVID-19  testing before travelling to Oxford (added 16 April)

If you are returning to Oxford for Trinity term, you should get tested for COVID-19 before you travel. Please refer to the ‘health and testing section below for more information. 

In addition, you are expected to get tested for COVID-19 when you arrive in Oxford (or at the start of term if you didn’t leave during the vacation). Your college will provide you with two Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests to take yourself.  After these initial tests, you should then get tested twice a week every week via the new symptom-free testing centres.

Go to the ‘health and testing’ section below for more information

Stay COVID-safe. Keep protecting the community  (added 12 April)

If you return to Oxford, you must continue following all University and Government health advice – even if you have already had the vaccine. The outlook is more optimistic this term, and restrictions are gradually easing - but the pandemic is not yet over. We need to continue working together to prevent case numbers rising, and protect the entire community.  We encourage you to enjoy Oxford responsibly – particularly making use of outside spaces as the summer months approach.  Go to the keeping you safe and well page for more information.

Arrangements for Trinity term (updated 20 April) 

Teaching, learning and assessments (updated 16 April)

Taught students

Teaching in Trinity term will generally take place within normal term dates, whether it be online or in-person.

In line with Government guidance, where permission has been given for in-person teaching (for example practical and practice-based courses), it will normally start on Monday 26 April (Week 1 Trinity term). Some taught postgraduate courses may have started earlier than this date – as well as some undergraduate courses with ‘catch-up teaching’ planned.

For students on non-practical courses, in-person University teaching is not expected to resume until 17 May at the earliest (alongside Step 3 of the Government’s Roadmap for easing national restrictions).

Your department will have written to you if you have in-person teaching scheduled for the start of term. Further detail about any in-person teaching later in term for those on non-practical courses will follow in due course.

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.

Assessments

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 small number of exams will take place in-person. These are listed on the Oxford Students website. In line with Government guidance, students with in-person exams will be permitted to return to Oxford (with online invigilation in place for those who are not able to return). Refer to the ‘returning to Oxford’ section below for more information.

An 'assessment support package' has been developed to support students impacted by COVID-19. Go to the teaching and learning page for more information.

Libraries

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 16 April)

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.

Returning for in-person teaching

If you are a taught student on a practical or practice-based course, your department will already have informed you if you can return to Oxford to take part in in-person teaching in Trinity term (refer to ‘teaching, learning and assessment’ section above for further details).

Other students who may be able to return

The Government has now updated its guidance on other students who can return to universities. This means you may also be able to return if you meet one of the following updated criteria:

  • If it is necessary to support the continuation of your studies (including preparing for in-person assessments later in term)
  • If you do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities or study space at home
  • For health or safety (including mental health and wellbeing) reasons.

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).

In light of the changes to Government guidance, you can contact your college (or your department if you don’t have a college) to request return even if you have previously applied and were not previously given permission. 

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 any 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.

Please note that there is no difference in guidance on returning to university between those students who live in England, and those based in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

International students

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 or assessment which requires you to be in Oxford, 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 quarantine for ten days on arrival in the UK. If you plan to quarantine 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 test fewer than three days before you travel to the UK. This can be either a PCR test or a lateral flow device (LFD) test. Whichever test you choose, it must be from a reputable supplier. You will need to have documentation of a negative result before you are allowed to travel, and will also need to provide proof upon entry to the UK. Go to the UK Government website for more information about tests before you travel. You will also need to book two PCR tests to take during your quarantine period through Government-approved providers (not the University Testing Service); and It may be possible to reduce your quarantine 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 Assistance 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).

Part-time students

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 5 May)

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.

Love Oxford: events this summer

Love Oxford is a joint initiative from the University and Oxford SU to help students to make the most of Trinity term. There are a range of events and opportunities whether you're in Oxford or studying remotely. The Love Oxford events hub is now live on Oxford SU's website. To promote an event you’re involved in, just complete this form

University sport

The Iffley Road Sports Centre gym and swimming pool re-opened from 12 April for individuals and members of the same household.

Iffley Road partially re-opened for outdoor sport for students who are in Oxford from 29 March - primarily for the use of organised sports clubs. Any sports clubs taking part in outdoor sports will require Sports Federation approval, in line with relevant governing body guidelines.

There may be an opportunity for individual students to make casual use bookings of the centre’s outdoor facilities. Please refer to the University Sport website for the latest updates.

University Parks remain open for students to use the designated public play areas.

College sport

Please refer to your college for more information about the use of outside college grounds. College team captains should contact the Senior Member for sport within their college to agree the return plan for their sport as guidance develops.

For non-organised sport, you must comply with the Rule of Six when outdoors, and must not mix with other households when indoors.

Details of outdoor fixtures and competitive matches will be confirmed as soon as possible.

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 19 April)

Stay COVID safe as we move towards summer

The outlook is more optimistic this term, and restrictions are gradually easing. However, the pandemic is not yet over.

We need to continue working together to prevent case numbers rising; and protect the entire community.

Enjoy Oxford responsibly

We understand that you will want to enjoy the city if you are back in Oxford.

We encourage you to enjoy Oxford responsibly – particularly making use of outside spaces as the summer months approach. 

This will help protect more vulnerable members of the community – including those who support you in the University and colleges.

You will be expected to continue following all aspects of the Student Responsibility Agreement when you are in Oxford.

The Government has introduced a new £800 fine for those who attend house parties in student accommodation at this time.

It is crucial that you keep up to date with and follow all Government and University health guidance at all times. In particular you should:

  • Keep your distance - 2 metres
  • Wash your hands
  • Wear a face covering (unless you’re exempt)
  • Get tested - both regularly, and if you have symptoms
  • 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.

Testing arrangements

We are asking all students to get tested:

  • before you travel back to Oxford
  • ahead of the start of term when you arrive
  • twice a week, every week while you are in Oxford
Testing before travelling back to Oxford

You should get tested for COVID-19 before you travel to Oxford.

If you are an international student, please refer to the ‘returning to Oxford’ section above for information about testing requirements before arriving in the UK.

If you are in the UK, can find out how to obtain a lateral flow device (LFD) test via the Government website. If you test positive, you must self-isolate at home and take a confirmatory PCR test. If the PCR test is positive, you must continue to self-isolate and not travel back until you have completed your self-isolation. If either the LFD or confirmatory PCR test at home is negative, you can return to Oxford.

Testing at the start of term 

You are expected to get tested for COVID-19 when you return to Oxford. Your college will provide you with two LFD tests to take yourself when you come back after the Easter vacation– as was the case at the start of Hilary term.  If you did not leave Oxford during the vacation, you should get tested twice a week via the symptom-free testing centres. More information about these tests can be found below.

Regular symptom-free testing 

After these initial tests, you are strongly encouraged to get tested twice a week, every week via the new symptom-free testing centres. There will be three centres in easy-to-access sites around Oxford. They are open from 12 April, and  following strict safety measures.  Staff working on-site will can also use them.  You can book online (even if you’re not yet in Oxford), and you should aim to get tested on the same days each week, e.g. Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday. Go to the symptom-free testing webpage to book, and for more information.  

It is possible to order LFD tests via a number of other routes – details of which can be found on the Government website. However, we encourage students who are in Oxford to use the assisted testing centres wherever possible. 

Government guidance on testing is subject to change. However, you should continue to follow this advice until further notice.

For information about regular symptom-free testing, go to the  symptom-free testing webpage.

Further information about testing at the start of term

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.
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

All 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.

Test 1

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).

Test 2

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.

Additional tests

After these initial tests, you are strongly encouraged to get tested twice a week, every week via the new symptom-free testing centres. Go to the symptom-free testing webpage to book, and for more information.   

It is possible to order LFD tests via a number of other routes – details of which can be found on the Government website. However, we encourage students who are in Oxford to use the assisted testing centres wherever possible. 

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.

Travelling from Oxford (Updated 20 April)

Travelling within the UK

  • Personal travel within the UK
    The Government currently advises students to minimise travel. Go to the UK Government website for more information. 
  • Travelling for educational purposes within the UK
    UK Government guidance now allows courses that have in-person teaching permitted to resume day visit activity within the UK, including fieldtrips held within one day. UK-based fieldtrips that require overnight stays can be planned to take place after Step 3 of the Government’s Roadmap for easing national restrictions is activated, which will be 17 May at the earliest. However, trips with overnight stays before 17 May that are already booked, and provide self-contained accommodation, may go ahead as planned. A suitable and sufficient COVID-19 UK risk assessment must be in place for UK travel, approved via usual departmental/faulty procedures. Please talk to your tutor or supervisor at the earliest opportunity and they will be able to provide advice and support.

Travelling from the UK to other countries

  • Personal travel to other countries
    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. You must complete the UK Government travel declaration form before you leave the UK, to confirm that you are legally allowed to travel.
  • Travelling for educational purposes to other countries
    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 COVID-19 overseas risk assessment has been approved by your supervisor and reviewed by the University  Safety Office. Once your travel is approved you will be issued with a declaration of reason for travel abroad by your department or faculty. You must also complete the UK Government travel declaration form before you leave the UK, to confirm that you are legally allowed to travel. Please talk to your tutor or supervisor at the earliest opportunity and they will be able to provide advice and support.

For wider information for students, please refer to the following pages: 

If you still can’t find what you are looking for, please review the FAQs for current students.

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