Coronavirus information

Coronavirus updates

St John's College is closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and wellbeing of our entire community, in and outside of Cambridge.

Stage 3 of the Government’s Roadmap out of Lockdown begins on Monday 17 May. 

Read the Government guidance

Senior Tutor's message - Exam Term

The Senior Tutor has sent out a message regarding exam term - read the message in the College Bulletin under Covid-19 updates.

New Covid-19 symptoms

A headache, sore throat and runny nose are now the most reported symptom on the King's College's coronavirus app.

The ZOE project which began at the start of the pandemic has been tracking people's symptoms throughout and experts believe the Covid-19 Delta variant presents differently and presents more like a cold with a headache, sore throat, runny nose, fever, and a cough being the main issues. A loss of smell is rare. If you are feeling unwell, please take a Covid-19 test.

Appeal for missing temperature scanner 

The forehead temperature scanner has gone missing from the public area of the Great Gate Lodge. If found, please can it be returned either to the Porters or to Karen Miles, Health and Wellbeing Nurse in the Health and Wellbeing Centre.  

The scanner is for the use of anyone who is feeling unwell and is also part of the College’s early Covid screening strategy. 

JCR to reopen

The JCR has opened for bookable slots from Tuesday 1 June until 27 June, 9am-2pm and 3pm-11pm.

It will be closed daily before 9am and between 2-3pm for cleaning, and the last booking will be at 10pm. All students must leave by 11pm.

The JCR has been added to the Public Rooms booking system as follows:

  • JCR - Games Room (table tennis, pool table, darts) – one-hour slots – six people capacity – one person to book
  • JCR - TV/Games console – one-hour slots – six people capacity – one person to book


Cleaning spray and paper towels will be supplied for students to use between Housekeeping cleaning sessions.

Please do follow the rules to ensure the JCR can remain open this term for all students to enjoy.

Visitor Policy – student guests reminder

Students may invite a maximum of five student guests into College at any one time, whether they plan to entertain their guests in their room or outside in the College grounds. This is in line with restrictions on socialising indoors and to limit disturbances during the exam period.

As per the updated Visitor Policy, all guests must be met at a Porters’ Lodge on arrival at the College.

As of June 19, students may invite two family members into College at any one time and overnight guests are also permitted in line with the usual rules in the Student Handbook. 

Two guests per College member are now permitted in Chapel too, more detail below.

Chapel guests update   

Students may now bring one or two guests to Chapel services. These should be guests as currently envisaged in the Visitor Policy, i.e. student friends from elsewhere in Cambridge, and not family or friends from further afield. Please contact the Chapel Clerk, Stephen Stokes, to reserve places. You do not need to book in if you are coming on your own, except for Sunday Evensong (see Eventbrite link below).

Bookable Exam Rooms

Students have the option of sitting online exams in their own rooms. This option offers flexibility to the student and is in line with the guidance issued by the University. However, if preferred, the following rooms are available to book for students to use instead: the Palmerston Room, Dirac Room, and Castlereagh Room. Book via Moodle.

While signage will ask for silence and consideration for other students, the College cannot guarantee absolute silence in any of these rooms. The rooms will not be invigilated, and not all desks will have access to sockets for power/Ethernet cables. Seats in these rooms will be booked out to students for the whole day, 8am to 6pm, and cleaned at the end of each day. The rooms will be kept stocked with paper hand towels and sanitiser.

When booking a seat for an exam in one of these rooms please specify which paper you are taking.

Bookable Study Rooms

Supplementing seats already provided in the Working Library and elsewhere, seats in the following rooms are available for students preparing for exams to use as study spaces: the Lightfoot Room, Teaching Room 1, and Teaching Room 2. Book via the following Moodle

While signage will ask for silence and consideration for other students, the College cannot guarantee absolute silence in any of these rooms. Not all desks will have access to sockets for power/Ethernet cables. Seats in these rooms will be booked out to students for the whole day, 8am to 6pm, and cleaned at the end of each day. The rooms will be kept stocked with paper hand towels and sanitiser.

Spare Study Spaces

If you haven’t been able to book a particular study session in the Library but want to attend, do give the team a call after the session has started on 01223 337715 to see if there are any spare desks available. Cancellations happen regularly so desk space often becomes available at the last minute. You can also drop-in at the start of each session and see if there is any space left, and if there is, you can be booked straight in.

A big thank you to all the students who remember to cancel sessions, it means other students have a chance to use the slots instead.

Full details and booking instructions

Fitness Centre – open and ready for bookings

Inducted Fitness Centre users are now welcome to use the Fitness Centre again – please book your one hour slot: Fitness Centre Booking

Those wishing to use the Fitness Centre, but have not yet been inducted need to:

  1. Watch the induction video, Fitness Centre Induction, it’s only 16 minutes and highlights the new Covid procedures
  2. Read and agree to the Fitness Centre Commitment Statement
  3. Once you’ve done both the steps above, go onto the Fitness Centre Moodle page and tick the box on the right to say you’ve completed induction
  4. Wait around two working days for Student Services to grant you access to the Fitness Centre booking page

Once this is complete, to gain access to the Fitness Centre you need to pick up an entry card from the Cripps Porters’ Lodge at the time you booked your Fitness Centre slot. 

Free Weights Area update

The Free Weights Area in the Fitness Centre has reopened. Some changes have been made to keep everyone safe, and certain rules must be strictly adhered to:

Full details and booking instructions

Register with a GP to book a Covid vaccination

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is being rolled out to younger people every week, with new age groups being added all the time. The important thing to note is that you must be registered with a GP to receive an invitation for a vaccine in the UK, so if you are not registered at a doctor’s practice, make sure you get yourself registered.

You will also need to ensure you continue to take part in asymptomatic testing.

Information about booking a Covid vaccination and the testing programme

Reminder that we need to know where you are

Students who plan to return to, or leave, Cambridge must notify Student Services in advance – whether you live in onsite College accommodation, off-site College accommodation or private accommodation, we still need to know if you are in Cambridge. This information is used for track and trace purposes, as well as to inform the University weekly of the numbers in Cambridge which helps them to consider services such as the asymptomatic testing programme.

From 17 May, the following guidance applies:


HE guidance: All university students who have not yet returned to campus and in-person teaching will be able to do so from 17 May.

Indoor teaching is permitted in most subjects. If the supervisor puts forward a preference for remote teaching, or if the supervisee is out of Cambridge or makes a compelling case for remote teaching based on medical or other need, the supervision will take place remotely.

Outdoor supervisions are still allowed. Face coverings will be worn wherever appropriate in face-to-face indoor meetings in line with the University and Colleges’ joint statements on face coverings.

Arrangements for teaching in College in the Easter Term 2021

Dining update

Dining indoors is now permitted in groups of six or two households. Food must be ordered from and delivered to diners at tables or taken away.

Formal Hall will resume at 7.45pm six days a week with two metre social distancing, and with a table of ‘household’ seating and one table of single seating. Fellows will dine in Hall on Wednesdays and Sundays. Fellows’ lunch and dining will resume in the Combination Room (dinner bookable with 16 spaces) to include dining for CRAs and long term CTOs. No guests will be permitted at this time.

Catering update

The Buttery will now be open from 6pm to the later time of 7.30pm. The BDR will continue on a takeaway basis with seating in the Old Music Room (OMR), and face coverings must be worn. Self-isolation support and 'click and collect' will continue. 

Bar update

From Monday 17 May, the Bar will be reopening indoors with extended opening hours, so visitors will be able to have alcoholic or soft drinks inside, or on the patio outside the Buttery, with table service. The new opening hours will be 10am-11pm Monday to Thursday, Friday 10am-midnight, Saturday 12pm until 11pm, and Sunday 12pm-10.30pm.


The visitor policy has been updated.

You may now have access to the College main site if:

  • you are a Member of the College community as defined in the full visitor policy
  • you have been identified as a member of a resident Fellow’s support bubble
  • you are a partner or family member of a Member of the College community
  • you are a guest visiting residential Fellows or students in their rooms (Note: to be met at the Porters’ Lodge as set out below)
  • you have an approved work/education related purpose for attending the site.

When on the College main site:

  • Partners, family members and guests of Members must be met by their host at the Porters’ Lodge prior to entry to College.  Fellows may alternatively notify the Porters’ Lodge of their visitors in advance.
  • All guests other than Fellows’ social bubble must leave the College site by 10pm.
  • Use of the BDR, College Bar and other indoor communal College facilities are restricted to College Members only.
  • All should observe social distancing and the face covering policy at all times.

Guests of students and Fellows in residence on the main College site, in Hostel and Furnished Let Accommodation

Members of the College community may now entertain guests in the rooms until 10pm in the evening. In line with government guidance the ‘rule of six’ and social distancing guidelines must be followed at all times in indoor spaces. Students should therefore take into account the size of their rooms in deciding how many guests it is safe to entertain.

Overnight visits

Students are not permitted to host guests overnight at present. This decision reflects the need to manage the impact on College of the extended exam period and will be kept under review. Read the updated visitor policy.

Outdoor face coverings policy change

There is no longer a requirement for face coverings to be worn anywhere outside on the College site. However, there is no change to the policy relating to wearing face coverings inside College buildings, and staff and students should continue to social distance according to current regulations.

Using the College grounds/outdoor gatherings

All current Members of the College community, as defined by the visitor policy, are permitted access to the College grounds. Following government guidance, from 17 May you may gather in groups of up to 30 outdoors. Face coverings no longer need to be worn outside. When using the College grounds please remember:

  • The Great Gate and the rear of College are locked
  • Access to College is via the Forecourt or Cripps Lodge
  • Observe social distancing at all times

The playing fields remain open to all Members of the College community.

Indoor gatherings 

Indoor gatherings will be limited to six people or two households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible). Two metre social distancing remains.  


Subject to current CofE guidance, socially distanced congregations are permitted, and choirs can operate at full capacity. The Chapel congregation will be limited to half capacity or socially distanced, whichever is the smaller.

All Fellows, staff and resident members of College are permitted to attend Chapel services seated in a socially distanced manner.  Due to limited space, no guests will be permitted but Fellows may bring one partner or family member. Parents of choristers may attend chapel services that are normally open to the wider public.

From Monday 17 May, the Chapel will be resuming a full schedule of choral services. Evensong will take place each night at 6.30pm (except Wednesdays), plus Sung Eucharist at 10.30am on Sundays.

As capacity is very limited please arrive in good time. For Sunday Evensongs (from May 23), you will need to book a space via Eventbrite; the link will be sent out in good time each week.

Working from home

Staff are very welcome to work on the College site, but government guidance remains to work from home where possible.

Sports facilities

The squash courts can now be booked for play following the rule of six or two households. 

Badminton between households is also permitted. To enquire about badminton please contact Accommodation & Bookings via 

Book a squash court

College meetings

In-person meetings for work, training or education purposes should only take place where they cannot be delayed or reasonably be conducted remotely, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed Covid-secure guidance. Social distancing should be maintained wherever possible.

It is also permissible to run larger business events. People can attend in a group of up to six people or two households/bubbles at indoor events, or in a group of up to 30 people at outdoor events. They must not mix with people from outside these groups (unless an exemption applies).

Larger groups are permissible for education and training purposes i.e. if it is reasonably necessary for work purposes that everyone in the group attends together. However, in those circumstances, people are still encouraged to attend either alone or in groups as small as possible, and must avoid mixing and switching between groups.

Library study space

A limited number of desks are available to pre-book for individual study in the Library during weekdays (Mon-Fri, 9.30-12pm; 1.30-4.30pm; 8.30-11.30pm) and at weekends (Sat-Sun, 9.30-12.30pm; 2.00-5pm; 8.30-11.30pm). Only those with a pre-booked session may enter the Library building and face coverings must be worn at all times unless you are exempt. Full details.

Students are reminded to cancel their bookings if they no longer require the space. This will enable other students to book a space. You can cancel your bookings on Moodle. Alternatively, you can email or phone the Library at 337715. Please note after the session has started, you will not be able to cancel the bookings on Moodle. Instead please contact the Library for cancellation. 

The Library continues to offer zero-contact and remote services for those studying both on and off site. ‘Virtual Library’ Study Sections on Zoom will continue to run every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon (2-4.30pm). Zoom meeting link

Wellbeing tea returns

The tradition of free tea, coffee and biscuits for students during exam term is back! From May 25 until 24 June, the free refreshments will be served to St John’s students in the College Bar or on the patio area near the Buttery. So have a revision break and have a cup of tea before you hit the books again afterwards.

End-of-year celebrations and arrangements

Plans for students to have the opportunity to mark the end of the academic year in style will be announced this week. Undergraduates students should also keep an eye out for some good news about room licences as the College plans ahead for the end-of-term.

Palmerston Room study space – reminder

The Palmerston Room will not be available to book as study space between 9am and 2pm on Thursday, May 20 and Friday, May 21.

Supervision Rooms – All Saints Passage

Students using the supervision rooms in All Saints Passage must not move the chairs from one room to another as the rooms already hold the maximum number of chairs for the space.

Asymptomatic screening and quarantine

We need as many of you as possible to take part in the asymptomatic screening programme to keep numbers low, so please aim to take part every week. If you are returning to St John’s, please take a Covid-19 test upon your arrival as well as taking one before travelling here.

Please be aware that the pool testing programme has changed in a few ways since December. Important things to remember are:

  • Envelopes no longer have name labels - they are generic and scanning the QR code links the test kit to the people taking swab samples
  • Testing kits are available in all porters’ lodges
  • A nominated person in each pool can collect a kit (it doesn’t have to be the original pool leader)
  • When doing swab samples, everyone in the pool needs to scan the QR code and enter their details otherwise they won’t get results back

Find full details, along with a simple guide to testing, in the Asymptomatic testing section below.

Public Health England has reported an increase in the number of students testing positive upon return to Cambridge and has advised that those coming back to the city should avoid using public transport wherever possible, particularly after international travel. If you are returning to Cambridge from abroad, you are required to comply with the latest Government quarantine arrangements.

QR code for Track and Trace

We also have a new QR code track and trace system to be used when you arrive back so we have an accurate number of students in residence. When you collect your key to return to your room, please scan the QR code in the Porters’ Lodge. If you already have your key, please scan the QR code below when you return. This system will only be effective if all students participate so do please use it when you arrive back in College.

QR track and trace

Student Services office reopens

Student Services has reopened their office to drop-in visitors. The office, based in F Staircase, Chapel Court, is now open every week day from 10am-12pm and again from 2pm-4pm with Covid-19 safety measures in place.

Drop-in Zoom sessions will continue to be held on Wednesdays from 4.30pm-5.30pm for anyone who is not in Cambridge. Students Services staff continue to be available to support students via email and telephone during normal office hours.

Zoom link
Meeting ID: 889 9581 6565
Passcode: 370897

Supervision rooms – changes to booking protocol

All existing bookings for the supervision rooms in All Saints Passage and the annex rooms in the Fisher Building will be cancelled from Monday 10 May and the system will be revised so that study spaces can only be booked a week in advance.

The change has been introduced to facilitate the spaces being used by a greater number of students. If you have a specific reason that you need to book a regular space, please email Public Rooms.

Book a study space

Quarantining students – UK Border Control

There are a number of students currently in quarantine at St John’s and more are expected to arrive over the coming weeks. Border Control staff have been making spot checks at the Colleges in Cambridge to ensure that the rules are adhered to, so do make sure you comply with all of latest Government quarantine arrangements.

Chapel Tower

Access to the Chapel Tower is now permitted for people in the same College household, up to a maximum of six people.

Study rooms

The Palmerston Room has opened as a drop in study room with 24 socially distanced spaces available (one table and chair per student). It will be open from 9am – 6pm and there is no need to book - just scan the QR Code on the Palmerston Room doors when you arrive for test and trace purposes. The room will be cleaned twice per day.  As with all shared College study spaces, face coverings are required. 

The Annex Rooms in the Fisher Building are available from 9am to 6pm each day. Booking is via the Public Rooms booking system. They will be closed for cleaning from 2pm to 3pm and will also be cleaned before 9am each morning. Students will be responsible for conducting cleaning at other times during the day.

Message from the Master: Easter Term

The Master, Heather Hancock, has issued a message to students regarding arrangements in Easter Term. The message explains the return process, testing, rent arrangements, quarantine, and next term's plans. Read the full message.

Fitness Centre update

The Fitness Centre has now reopened and is open daily from 6am until 10pm. All sessions must be booked in advance, and can be booked last minute if there is availability.

If you are not able to attend your booked session, please ensure you cancel it so that other people can use the facilities as capacity is limited to four people at a time. Only those who have previously been authorised to use the Fitness Centre will be permitted to book a slot, and unfortunately inductions for new users are not currently available. The Free Weights room will remain closed for the time being. Book a space in the Fitness Centre

Housekeeping update

The Bedmaking/Gyp team has returned to College to resume their once per fortnight visits to clean student rooms inside the College. They are also cleaning communal areas such as student kitchens and bathrooms, both inside and outside the accommodation. The evening and weekend team will ensure that all the ‘high touch’ areas are cleaned such as Porters’ Lodges, toilets, and supervisors’ rooms.

All previous safety precautions will apply, such as wearing face coverings, social distancing, and the use of hand sanitiser.  

During the exam period, students will be given notices to fix on their doors. Housekeeping staff will continue to clean communal bathroom and kitchens but they will check all room doors in the property/staircase before they begin. If notices are displayed, staff will not vacuum.

Punting returns

The Punt Society has implemented Covid-secure rules to allow the return of punt hire on the River Cam.

Punt hire is only available to St John's students who are currently resident in Cambridge, Fellows and members of staff. Occupancy is restricted to members of up to two households and not more than six people in a single punt. Full details on The Punt Society page

Chapel – study space and private prayer

The study space facility has proved popular, so we are extending it until 17 May.

The normal hours are still 9.30am-5pm, but there may be a few days where the hours will be curtailed for choir rehearsals and recordings. The Chaplain will put these variations up on the student Facebook page, and there will be signs in Chapel too. The Chapel is also open daily for private prayer from 9.30am-5pm.

Exams and assessment

The examination and assessment timetable is under review. It is likely that the timetable will extend to 2 July, but we will seek to ensure that final year undergraduates and postgraduate students on taught courses have their exams scheduled as early as possible to enable them to graduate.


Work is underway to establish whether some form of modified in-person graduation ceremony is possible this summer. This will depend on government restrictions, and on whether an in-person event can be carried out safely.

Out-of-hours mental health support

Mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health and wellbeing remains a priority for the University and Collegiate Cambridge. Students at St John's are encouraged to contact the Health and Wellbeing Centre to access support available. If your mental or emotional state quickly gets worse outside of standard working hours, or if you're worried about someone you know, out-of-hours help is available. 

Multi-Faith Prayer Room 

The Multi-Faith Prayer Room - D8 Cripps is available for use. This room can be booked for single use at any time of the day or night on the online booking system. Please collect a key for access from the Cripps Porters Lodge. Cleaning products will be left in the room for you to use, as necessary.

Covid-19 helpdesk

The College’s Covid-19 helpdesk deals with all policy and guidance questions relating to the College’s response to Covid-19. It is staffed between 8am and 5pm seven days a week. Do get in touch if you have any questions.

Lent Term updates

View the weekly College Bulletins for the latest updates at St John’s.

Covid-19 Student Guidelines

The Covid-19 Student Guidelines should be referred to regularly by undergraduates and postgraduates for the latest rules and guidance for life at St John’s College during the pandemic.

They are intended to be used in parallel with The Student Handbook which is an important and comprehensive source of information for our student community. The rules in the Student Handbook may sometimes depart from the Covid-19 Student Guidelines in various ways throughout the year, sometimes for short periods of time and sometimes at short notice.

Anyone who is in any doubt about the rules and principles that govern College life during the 2020/21 academic year should contact their Tutor, Student Services, the College Nurse or the Porters.

Self-isolation and quarantine

You must self isolate for 10 days if you develop a new continuous cough and or a fever (greater than 37.8C). and you must complete our online form. We will then provide specific advice for your individual circumstance. Please also consult the Government advice.

If you have symptoms you should immediately: 

  • Do not visit the Health & Wellbeing Centre in person, contact the College Nurse via the reporting form below.

Complete all of the applicable sections of the relevant reporting form below with as much information as possible. 

Please note, information may be shared if it is felt appropriate but it will be handled sensitively and proportionately. We are collecting this data to track the coronavirus risk to the College members and we will keep the data for 12 months or until it is no longer needed.

International students

In common with other Colleges, St John’s is closely following the guidelines relating to Covid-19 set out by the University of Cambridge.

View the St John’s College arrangements for quarantine in College accommodation

View the latest University-wide advice, including the new Stay Safe Cambridge Uni campaign section. 

Quarantine & self-isolation

From Monday 15 February, everyone who enters England from outside the Common Travel Area must:

•       quarantine for 10 days

•       take a COVID-19 test on day two and day eight of quarantining

•       follow the national lockdown rules

Border Control staff have been making spot checks at the Colleges in Cambridge to ensure that the rules are adhered to, so do make sure you comply with all of latest Government quarantine arrangements.

Full information

The College is committed to ensuring all quarantining/self-isolating students are provided for, and will look to ensure all students have an individual isolation supporter to collect food/groceries on their behalf.

The College will provide meals and access to basic groceries from a ‘shop’ style set up in College which will be available via click and collect. This will also provide basic toiletries/washing powder etc. Students would be charged as per normal for these facilities via Upay.

Key information for students supporting those in self isolation/quarantine

Student guide on ordering food and provisions whilst in self-isolation

Symptom/contact reporting form

The College Covid-19 Symptom/Contact Reporting Form below is for students, Fellows and staff to notify the Lead Clinical Nurse, the Senior Tutor, and the duty Porters that you have: 

  • returned from a coronavirus affected area and would like to notify the College
  • symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough)
  • been in contact with someone who has coronavirus symptoms or is suspected to have coronavirus
  • You are in a high-risk group and have decided to self-isolate on medical grounds


Covid-19 Symptom/Contact Reporting Form - Students and Residential Fellows

Covid-19 Symptom/Contact Reporting Form - Non-Residential Fellows and Academic Affiliates

Covid-19 Symptom/Contact Reporting Form - Staff

Test and Trace

St John’s College has a dedicated Test and Trace system in place to ensure that households and the contacts of those who test positive for Covid-19 or are symptomatic swiftly receive the appropriate advice and support.

Anyone using the College Bar or Hall will be asked to scan our QR code on entry which will take them to our Test and Trace form so we can act quickly if a case is identified and stop the spread of Covid-19.

NHS advice for those sharing a household with someone who has Covid-19 symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19 is simple: self-isolate and follow the guidance. If you are a contact of someone who has contracted Covid-19, you only need to self-isolate if you have been informed by NHS Test & Trace to do so.  A ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 anytime from two days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms. However, because the College community is one in which infection can travel swiftly we have implemented our own contact tracing within the College which complements the NHS system but will allow St John’s to act very quickly if a case is identified.

Read our full Test and Trace guidance (download)

Asymptomatic testing

All undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge are being offered a weekly test for infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, even if they show no symptoms.

This testing programme is the best chance the University has of keeping Cambridge as open as possible – it is vitally important that as many of you as possible take part.

Asymptomatic testing for St John's students

Students in College accommodation at St John’s are being tested on Tuesdays and should receive the results by the following morning. Students in private accommodation will be screened every Monday and should receive the results the following morning.

The test will be self-administered, using a swab to take a sample from the nose and throat. Because a limited number of tests are available, samples from several students will be tested together in pools by household. 

The composition of testing pools remains the same as last term. However, as some members of your testing pool may be absent, please decide amongst those of you who are here who will be the testing pool lead and take responsibility for collecting and returning the tests. If you cannot remember who is in your testing pool then please contact us so that we can confirm. As household testing kits are unlabelled they will not be placed in pigeon holes, but will be available to collect at any time from either the Great Gate, Cripps or Forecourt Porters’ Lodges.

This time the testing kits will be unassigned (brown envelopes with blue stickers) and require the scanning of a QR code to register the pool as part of the sample collection process. All students contributing swabs must scan the QR code or enter the website URL on the test kit envelope at the time of swabbing, not just the pool lead. The University are only providing 5 swabs per testing kit, so if there are more than 5 members in your household, please request extra swabs when collecting your envelope from the Great Gate.

For those in private accommodation, completed tests will need to be returned to one of the drop-boxes used for the collection of individual confirmatory tests by 1:30pm on Mondays. For those in College accommodation, completed tests need to be deposited in the red boxes which will be placed in Cripps, Forecourt and the Great Gate lodges by 12pm on Tuesdays.

For those who screen positive

The system for individual confirmatory tests has changed.

If you contribute a swab to a positive pooled screening test, you will continue to receive a text message notifying you of the result the following morning.

You will no longer be sent an appointment at the University testing pod. Instead you will carry out the individual confirmatory test in your own room.

The College has been supplied with individual test kits (supplied in white envelopes). NOTE: These are not interchangeable with pooled screening test kits (supplied in brown envelopes).

Receiving and returning the Test Kit

The porters will deliver the follow on confirmatory test kits to your room or hostel. Once you have completed the test, it is your responsibility to drop it off at the drop-box in the Forecourt car park on the same day by 1.30pm. This is Mondays for those living in private accommodation or Tuesdays for those in College accommodation. However, it may be more convenient for those living in private accommodation to use one of the other drop-boxes sited around Cambridge.

Taking the Test

Follow the protocol, which explains exactly how to take your swab. The process is slightly different from pooled screening, so please be sure to read this information carefully.

Use the camera app on your mobile phone to scan the QR code on the test kit envelope (or type in the website URL immediately below it). This will allow the programme to assign you the right test kit – otherwise, they won’t know who has taken the swab!

After double-bagging the sample, follow the instructions above to ensure the sample is collected Samples will be collected from the College and taken to the test facility only once a day, so it’s important not to be late.

Instead of a telephone call or MyChart message from Cambridge University Hospitals, you will receive the result of your individual confirmatory test the following morning by text message (similar to the pooled screening tests). St John’s will also be informed of the result.

If you do not receive your result, please therefore check with the College Covid Helpdesk in the first instance. The helpdesk can be contacted via email: The helpdesk can be contacted via email:

This might occur, for example, if there was a “typo” in the mobile phone number you supplied to the programme when you consented to take part.  Please also let the Covid Helpdesk know if you have any questions. Alternatively, you can email the Asymptomatic Covid-19 Screening Programme directly at

Finally, please note that these changes are only relevant for students contributing swabs to positive pooled screening tests – the pooled screening tests themselves will continue unchanged. Likewise, if you have symptoms of possible Covid-19, you should still book a test at the University testing pod using the link on the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni website.

For those wishing to participate in the testing programme you must, if you haven’t already, complete the consent form provided by the University.

You should have already received this and further information directly and more detail is available on the University's website.

What if I am self-isolating?

Students who are self-isolating for any reason (for example, because a member of their household or close contact has tested positive, or because they recently returned from international travel) but have not themselves tested positive will now be able to continue to be screened on a weekly basis whilst they self-isolate, on their usual swab day. However, they should take an individual test, not participate in pooled sample collection. Find full details on the University Lent Term 2021 Covid-19 testing arrangements page under 'Test to check'.

Anyone who has any questions specific to the testing process at St John’s should email:

A comprehensive Q&A guide to the University's testing programme 

Lent guide to student testing

University guidance

The University of Cambridge and Colleges are cooperating closely with Public Health England’s Health Protection Team in Cambridge. The collegiate University has well developed protocols to prepare for and, if necessary, deal with communicable diseases. St John’s, like all Colleges, has made the necessary preparations to protect our community.

Read the latest guidance and statements from the University of Cambridge

Read the latest Government guidance 

Government guidance for self isolation when arriving in the UK

Read the University's webpage for all students about teaching and learning, admissions, finance and travel

Face coverings

Face coverings policy

Face coverings should be worn inside all College buildings even when social distancing of at least 2 metres can be observed. This applies to all members of St John’s College unless you have an exemption. This requirement is in line with University policy.  It is no longer necessary to wear face coverings when outside.

There are circumstances where face coverings do not need to be worn and more details are in the FAQs below. However, if you are in doubt – wear a face covering until you have confirmed that one isn’t required.

Every member of St John’s has been/will be provided with two free washable cotton face coverings and we encourage the use of this kind of mask or disposable surgical masks rather than knitted materials/scarves/bandanas which may not be as effective. 

Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing or other measures to mitigate Covid-19, such as being tested when displaying symptoms, self-isolating when unwell or advised to, enhanced cleaning regimes, and regular hand-washing. These primary mitigation measures should always be followed in addition to wearing a face covering when required.

Wearing face coverings can reduce transmission of coronavirus from an infected person to others. The wearing of face coverings is to be considered a social responsibility for those members of the College who can wear them, with the aim of providing increased reassurance to all members, including those most vulnerable to serious illness.

College policy on face coverings is kept under regular review by the College’s Covid Silver group in line with the public health advice, our experience within College, and approaches across the University.

Face coverings policy FAQs

Visitor policy

During the Covid-19 pandemic the College remains closed to members of the public, College and University alumni and all those who do not have specific business here.  

The policy focuses on members of the College community and on visitors. ‘Members of the College community’ in this policy means: current Fellows; current staff including College Teaching Associates; current students, including those resident in College hostels or furnished lets; and widows and widowers of former Fellows. 

Anyone not falling within this definition, such as alumni, former Fellows, former staff, the family and friends of Fellows, residents or staff, is considered a visitor for the purpose of this policy.  Any visitor with specific business in the College are asked to check in on arrival at the Porters’ Lodge.

The College will do everything that is reasonable and proportionate to keep people safe.  We require members of the College community and any permitted visitors to comply with government policy to reduce the transmission of Covid-19.  

Read the full policy

Food and drink

Takeaway from the Buttery and Bar, and Order Ahead / Click and collect service

The Buttery is open daily for lunch from 11.30am to 1.30pm, and for dinner from 6pm to 7pm, currently for takeaway meals only. Entry to the BDR is from K staircase 2nd Court and the exit is via the BDR Patio.

Fellows, students and staff can now take their takeaway lunch and dinner meals in to the Hall to eat. The space is available for dining only (not as a study space). There will be 2.5m spacing between diners, a member of catering staff supervising, and cleaning will take place between each user.  You will need to scan a test and trace QR code to go into the Hall. The staff inside the Hall will direct you where to sit; please follow their instructions. These areas will be cleaned before anyone else can sit in that seat/ area.

There are two sanitising stations outside the Buttery Dining Room as you make your way in, and it is recommended that all members of the College use them before entering the Buttery Dining Room. There are also sanitiser stations set up in the College Bar and Hall. 

Face coverings must be worn at all times whilst in the BDR and Bar when collecting food and drinks, and until you are seated in the Hall.

Order Ahead / Click and collect

The College Bar continues to operate as a grocery shop and opens from 10am-6pm daily. It is possible to use the Order Ahead system via Upay to buy groceries or you can pop in during opening hours. It is also possible to use Order Ahead service for a cold lunch and dinner and collect from the College Bar during these times. See the Buttery page for full details and learn how to open a Upay account to use this service if you do not already have one.

The College Bar

The Bar serves alcoholic and soft drinks on the patio area outside the Buttery from 4pm to 8.30pm Monday to Friday, and from 12pm to 8.30pm Saturday and Sunday. From 17 May, the Bar will also be reopening indoors with extended hours - check here for updates.

A coffee and cake deal is available for £2.95. Pizza is available until 8pm every day for £4.50, and the popular pizza and a pint for £6.25 is available from 4pm onwards each day.

The grocery Order Ahead / Click and collect service is still available from the Bar via Upay (see above).

Health and wellbeing

Health & Wellbeing Centre

The Health Centre Team are pleased to be providing ongoing support to students who are both in Cambridge or away-via email, telephone or video consultations

Remote appointments are bookable via Moodle.

Ruth Dean, College Nurse, can be contacted via

Karen Miles, Health & Wellbeing Nurse can be contacted via

Health& can be used to reach either Nurse. 

Please note that a response will be given in order of priority so please state the nature of your enquiry and mark your email has high priority if you require an urgent response. Further information regarding Health & Wellbeing is available on this site using the above drop down options. 

Mental health crisis support services

Counselling support

Our College Counsellor, Susie Renshaw, is not accepting any more referrals this academic year. Please speak to the Health Centre Team if you would like to find out more about your options for counselling support over the vacation. You can also self-refer directly to the University Counselling Service which remains open throughout the year. 

Pastoral support

In-person worship in Chapel has resumed for the 8.30am Sunday Communion for resident members of College. It is also being livestreamed on the SJC Chaplain Facebook group page for those who can’t attend. 

Entry to the Chapel is via the Chapel Court doors, please exit via First Court doors. Hand sanitiser is available on entry. Regular and ongoing cleaning will continue in the Chapel.

The Sunday 10.30am Eucharist and Sunday 6.30pm Evensong with Sermon will be held virtually and may be listened to via Facebook. The Monday 6.30pm Evensong, sung by St John's Voices, will be held in-person in the Chapel. The Tuesday-Saturday 6.30pm Evensong services, sung by the College Choir, will be webcast and made available each evening via this link.  

For the purposes of the College’s Covid-19 guidelines, current members of the College are considered to be current Fellows; current staff including College Teaching Associates; current students, including those resident in College hostels or furnished lets; and widows and widowers of former Fellows. Anyone not falling within this definition, such as alumni, former Fellows, former staff, the family and friends of Fellows, residents or staff, is considered a visitor for the purposes of the current guidelines. The rules around who can access Chapel services are regularly reviewed.  

Find out about Virtual Chapel worship

The Rev'd Andrew Hammond, can be contacted at and on 07917 535940. Canon Mark Oakley, the Dean of Chapel, can be contacted on

Out of hours mental health support

JCR Mental Health postcard - front

JCR Mental Health postcard - reverse

Online teaching & learning

The following resources have been gathered to help academics navigate the challenges of the 2020/21 academic year, and to assist those who are working with digital collaborative tools such as Zoom and Teams.

Online teaching and learning resources