Colleges update finalists on coming back to Oxford

Image Description: The roof of the Radcliffe Camera on a sunny day with purple flowers in the foreground. 

Somerville has announced that final year students can apply to return to Oxford from April 5th. All other students will be able to return to college on April 25th in time for the beginning of term. Students returning on the 25th will be expected to take two lateral flow tests before in-person teaching begins.

In an email to all students sent out on February 28th, Somerville Principal Jan Royall detailed the college’s response to the easing of lockdown:

“You will know that consideration will be given to the return of final year students, including third-year students on four-year integrated masters courses, from 12th April, and we would be willing to extend that to requests to return from 5th April. Any finalist wishing to return from either of those dates should apply for vac res and the usual vac res accommodation charges will apply. A new vac res form will be available in the near future.”

Royall stated that the Conference of Colleges discussed the updated guidance given by the University and “agreed a common line”. However, Royall went on to say that there “is room for some discretion in the implementation of the University guidance.”

Royall went on to describe the conditions that students can expect upon their return to Oxford:

“I should stress that there will be no in-person teaching until at least 26th April and some tutorials might continue to be on-line during Trinity Term. Students in College during the vacation should not expect any input from tutors – not only do they deserve some down-time, vacations are a time when they can focus on their research. The library will be open for bookable socially distanced study and, if there is demand, we will open other spaces for study during the day and the evenings.”

Somerville students will also have access to a lunchtime take-away service, but this may be extended to include meals in hall.

Students will be expected to take Lateral Flow tests after arriving and then again three days later.

“You should collect a testing kit from the Lodge. From the beginning of term we hope that all students and staff will have access to two LFD tests every week and we will strongly encourage you to take the tests. This will be an important means of keeping our community safe, however, as the tests do not pick up every case we will all have to continue to follow COVID precautions.”

“The lockdown is debilitating in so many ways. We are all desperate to see friends and family, I know that many of you are longing to come back to College. Whenever you come back it won’t be the normal Somerville life that we crave, but it will be good once again to be part of the vibrant academic community, to see friends – albeit in a socially distanced way – to do some sports, perhaps make some music, and to enjoy summer in Oxford.”

Other colleges, including Balliol, have confirmed that all finalist students will be able to return by 0th week Trinity. St Peter’s reiterated that finalist students might wish to return from 12th April.


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