Colleges issue conflicting advice for returning students

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Colleges have begun to offer further advice to non-practical students on returning to Oxford under current exemptions. Some colleges have been relatively lenient in allowing students to return, whereas others have requested that students “wait for us to get in touch about returning as we are currently being inundated with requests to return”.

In an email sent to students on the 12th April, University College announced that there was a new online form for students to use to apply to return to residence on or after the 17th April. This form requires students to tick a box that confirms that the student is applying to return under current exemptions.

“I am requesting to return to college accommodation on or after Saturday 17 April on the basis that I do not have access to appropriate study spaces or facilities in my vacation accommodation, AND/OR that I require additional support, including for my mental health.”

The form also requires students to acknowledge that all teaching, whether the student is resident in Oxford or elsewhere, will take place online, and that any exams will ordinarily take place in the student’s room.

The college also emphasised that they hoped that students would be able to be in residence in 9th and 10th week of Trinity, and were planning to provide accommodation for students who wished to stay.

“Looking further ahead, we hope that students may be able to be in residence during weeks 9 and 10 of Trinity Term, by when we expect that many restrictions will have been lifted. Some students may wish to return then even if they do not wish to return at an earlier date, and we are making plans on that basis.”

Meanwhile Teddy Hall has encouraged students who do not fall under a category of having prior permission to return, health issues or a particular need for study facilities to inform the Accommodation Manager if they plan to return for the beginning of Trinity term.

Balliol College has instead asked students to refrain from applying to return until they are contacted by the college. This is due to the large volume of requests from students to return and the delay in further updates to government advice.

“The government was supposed to publish the guidance on returning to University on the 8th April, giving us all time to put plans into place for non-practical students return. This guidance is now hopefully going to be published at the end of this week and we will then be in touch with students about returning to College.”

“We do understand how stressful this is, it is quite stressful for us too and we are as frustrated as you must be about the lack of information from the Government. I would ask though that you wait for us to get in touch about returning as we are currently being inundated with requests to return. We will tell you as soon as we are able.”

Image Credit: Jonas Muschalski