COVID-19 Student Responsibility Agreement
- As a collegiate University, Oxford is committed to fostering an inclusive culture which promotes equality, values diversity and maintains a working, learning and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all its students and staff are respected.
- The purpose of the Agreement is to secure everyone's agreement to protect ourselves and each other within the University, the colleges and the wider Oxford community. It is an affirmation of shared values – community, consideration for others, respect and tolerance, and inclusion. It supplements students’ existing responsibilities under University and college policies.
- Adapting to life in the University and city of Oxford under COVID-19 safety measures is new to everyone. Students and staff will need to develop new habits and make adjustments to their daily life to enable academic and social activity to take place as safely as possible. In learning to do so, we need to treat each other with patience and understanding.
- The University and colleges have committed to putting measures in place to minimise health risks to students, staff and the wider Oxford community. Each student also has a responsibility for both their own health and that of others, especially those with vulnerabilities. Maintaining social distance at all times in community spaces, avoiding large gatherings and being mindful of the needs of those alongside whom we live, work and travel will help reduce the risks for everyone.
- In order to protect our community’s health and support our collective wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic, each student is expected to make the following eight commitments about their behaviour by signing this Agreement.
i. I will abide by all national public health regulations brought in to stop the spread of COVID-19. I will also follow the University and/or colleges’ specific guidance on health measures, together with local public health guidance as relevant for the circumstances I am in.
ii. I will request a test via the University’s Testing for Covid-19: Early Alert Service (EAS) immediately if I experience COVID-like symptoms, and I will notify my College and Department nominated contact accordingly. I will follow all instructions from the EAS, including in relation to self-isolation.
iii. I understand that COVID-19 is a public health issue and will cooperate fully with University, colleges and public health authorities, including participating fully in any contact tracing as requested.
iv. I will practise effective hygiene methods to limit contact transmission, including regular thorough handwashing with soap, the use of hand sanitisers as requested, the wiping down of surfaces and the correct wearing and disposal/washing of face coverings.
v. If I live in college/University accommodation, I will follow college/University guidelines on how I may interact with and share communal spaces with members of my household. If I live in a private household I will follow the relevant Government/Public Health England guidance. I will also follow guidance regarding how or whether I may enter others’ households and any limits on the number of people allowed to visit a household.
vi. I will show respect and consideration for the collegiate University and wider Oxford community. I will adhere to social distancing requirements and maximum group size rules, I will follow all rules and signage about expected behaviour for the space I am in when interacting with anyone outside my household, whether in college, University premises, on public transport or elsewhere in the city.
vii. I will adhere to the University’s policy and Government rules on wearing face coverings, which will include the requirement for face coverings to be worn for in-person teaching indoors and in any shared indoor spaces.
viii. I understand that I am responsible for ensuring that my guests adhere to these same standards of behaviour in University, college or other spaces.
Student Responsibility Agreement FAQs
What do I need to do?
The collegiate University’s approach is aligned with England’s public health guidance which is to support safe social contact, maintain social distance, adopt good hand and respiratory hygiene measures, and self-isolate and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19. You should follow this guidance at all times, together with any additional health measures (such the wearing of face coverings in shared indoor spaces) adopted by the University and any specific local guidance from your College and your Department or the local authorities and NHS.
What is the purpose of the Agreement?
The purpose of the Agreement is not to prescribe an additional code of discipline; it is to support community safety and well-being. It is an affirmation of shared values – community, consideration for others, patience and tolerance, and inclusion. It supplements your existing responsibilities under University and college policies (represented by University and college student contracts).
What if I might not be able to adhere to all the guidance?
As we adjust to living and working together under public health guidance, it is likely that as individuals we may make mistakes – accidentally standing closer than we should or forgetting the one-way route through a building, for example. It is important to be patient with each other, especially early on. It is also important that we all endeavour assiduously to respect the guidance in order to protect each other, accepting individual responsibility for our collective personal safety.
If you are concerned that because of disability or other reasons you are not able to follow all the health measures put in place, speak to a welfare adviser in your College or Department for advice on how best to manage your situation.
What should I do if I’m worried that someone’s behaviour is unsafe?
Should you believe that someone’s conduct is persistently and unreasonably creating serious risk, in the first instance speak with the relevant welfare contact if this is within your College environment, or the Departmental Administrator (or other person as notified) if this is within your Department. They can identify what appropriate next steps can be taken, for example a discussion with the individual about their behaviour and if necessary referral for action to be taken under the relevant disciplinary framework.
However please also bear in mind that every circumstance will be different and any response must be appropriate and proportionate. For instance, if you are worried about someone not wearing a face covering in shared indoor space or not following distancing requirements, they may have justification for this, such as a health condition. It is important you remain mindful of possible valid reasons for not wearing a mask, and not challenge an individual about this, no matter how tactfully.
What happens if I don’t sign the agreement, or follow the behaviours set out within it?
The Student Responsibility Agreement sets out the behaviours that we expect students to follow, to keep our entire community safe and well. We hope that all students will agree to sign it to affirm their commitment to these aims. Those who don’t will still be expected to follow the behaviours outlined within it.
Students who act in a way which is likely to put members of the community at risk may be liable for college or University disciplinary measures. We have a number of options available, from fines to suspension, and in the most serious cases, expulsion. Students may be more likely to face these penalties - and they may be more serious - if they have not signed the Student Responsibility Agreement.
Where students have broken the law they will be liable to police enforcement. This includes fines ranging from £200 for failing to wear a face covering, up to £10,000 for very serious offences.