Keeping you safe and well | University of Oxford
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Walking in a park.

Keeping you safe and well

The health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. We are now working on detailed plans for measures we will put in place to minimise the risks to staff and students. These will include:

A University testing service

By September the University will have a dedicated testing service in place. Managed in collaboration with the UK’s national health service, the NHS, it will ensure students and staff can have easy access to a Covid-19 test if they think they have symptoms.  There will be two testing sites – one in central Oxford and one in Headington, with an online booking service available. Results will be available within 24 hours, and the University will support Public Health England with contact tracing. 

Protective measures in our facilities 

Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all staff and students is paramount, which is why we will bring in a range of measures to protect you when you are in University and College buildings. This will include:

  • Enhanced cleaning regimes, and additional facilities for increased hand washing
  • Spaces adapted to ensure social distancing and appropriate ventilation, with clear signage and markings
  • Additional measures such as Perspex screens and barriers in areas where social distancing is more difficult such as in laboratories
  • University libraries will also have enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures in place, with a ‘seat-finder’ app to find spaces in reading rooms
  • Face coverings will be required during in-person teaching and in indoor shared spaces with exceptions being made for those students and staff with health conditions which mean they can’t wear them

Support for health and wellbeing

We recognise that these are unsettling times and will support the wellbeing of all students – regardless of their personal circumstances, or any disadvantage or disruption they may have faced as a result of Covid-19.

It is important that you know what you can expect from the University but also what is expected of you, and what you can expect from others.  You will therefore be asked to sign a ‘charter’ when you arrive in Oxford, setting out responsibilities and expectations so that we can protect ourselves, each other and the community.  It will be communicated to you before the start of the academic year.

The University’s measures are informed by an expert advisory group made of Oxford clinical academics, as well as government guidance. We will follow UK government advice and make detailed contingency plans in case additional measures are required. More detail can be found in the University’s statement on health and wellbeing.

Health and wellbeing FAQs

A selection of FAQs for all students and offer holders about health and wellbeing.

For more detailed information, please see the FAQs section of this site.

Will I be required to wear a face covering?

From the start of the new academic year, all students and staff will be required to wear face coverings during in-person teaching and in indoor shared spaces, with exceptions for both individuals and settings where they are not appropriate (for example on grounds of disability). A more detailed framework for the use of face coverings is now being developed, and guidance will be shared as soon as possible.

What will the University do if there is an increase in cases of coronavirus?

Should restrictions or alert levels increase, the University and colleges will put in place contingency plans in order to adapt rapidly as necessary – ensuring we are able to operate safely while maintaining excellent standards of education for students.

What should I do if I feel anxious about coronavirus?

It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during a crisis. There are some great resources out there to help support your mental health, whether you are in Oxford or away, and especially when self-isolating.  Student Minds has a list of advice and tips on their website and further links. The Counselling Service website has a range of supportive resources and information about managing mental health conditions.

If you have an existing mental health condition, then we know this may be a particularly challenging time. You can find public health advice for supporting your mental health on the PHE website. A 24/7 NHS mental health helpline has also recently been launched to take pressure off 111 for mental health advice in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

If you are a current student, you can still access Student Welfare and Support Services. Although our physical building is closed, all services are presently offering online telephone appointments. Current students can now also access free online support 24/7 through Big White Wall. Big White Wall is a free service giving you access to a global welfare community. To join, simply visit the official website and Register under "I'm from a university or college" with your Oxford e-mail address.

I consider myself to be vulnerable (for example, I have an underlying health condition). What support will be available to me?

The University will be implementing a range of measures to ensure that students can be safely taught in person, where government guidance and local health and safety circumstances allows. We will ensure that all learning can be conducted remotely if necessary – at least for the first term – for the health and safety of individual students. This includes students in high risk categories who are not able to return to the University. If you have any concerns, you should speak to your college or department in the first instance.

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