Coronavirus information

Coronavirus updates

St John's College is closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Our top priority will always be the health, safety, and wellbeing of our entire community, in and outside of Cambridge.

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, 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 2021/22 academic year should contact their Tutor, Student Services, the College Nurse or the Porters.

Self-isolation and quarantine

You must self isolate 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 College members and we will keep the data for 12 months or until it is no longer needed.

Quarantine & self-isolation

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. 

Please comply with the 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 offer meals which will be available via click and collect. 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 Forms below are for students, Fellows, academic affiliates and staff to notify the College Nurse, the Senior Tutor, and the duty Porters that you have: 

  • symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough); or
  • been in contact with someone who has coronavirus symptoms or is suspected to have coronavirus


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 continues to work with the University to manage Covid-19 infection rates, which may involve some contact tracing.

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.

From 30 November 2021 all individuals who have been identified as a close contact of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, irrespective of vaccination status and age, will be contacted directly and required to self-isolate immediately and asked to book a PCR text. They will be informed by the local health protection team or NHS Test and Trace if they fall into this category and provided details about self-isolation. This supersedes the 16 August 2021 information below, but only in the instance of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant.

Please note that, as of 16 August 2021, the following individuals are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case:

· Those aged 18 or under

· Those who have been: (a) double vaccinated; and (b) had their second COVID-19 vaccination at least two weeks prior to coming into close contact with the positive case

These individuals are advised to take a PCR test to detect any asymptomatic presence of the virus and to identify any variants of concern. They will become legally required to self-isolate if they themselves test positive for COVID-19.

If you do not meet the exemption criteria then you must self-isolate as outlined above.

If you go on to develop symptoms of COVID-19 or you receive a positive PCR test result, you should follow the advice set out in the previous section.


Asymptomatic Covid-19 Screening Programme

University asymptomatic testing programme resumed w/c 27th September. St John’s College testing day is Tuesday. 

Lateral flow testing kits

Free lateral flow testing kits are available from pharmacists in Cambridge and they can also be ordered online and sent to your address within one to two days. 

Use this link to order rapid lateral flow tests online

In the event of a positive result, you will be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

Confirmatory tests

In the event of a positive lateral flow test result, you and your household should isolate immediately. Inform the Porters who will be able to distribute a confirmatory PCR test. These confirmatory tests are available Monday to Thursday inclusive throughout the summer vacation. If you obtain a positive test result between Friday and Sunday, when confirmatory PCR tests are not available from the College, you should obtain a confirmatory PCR test from the NHS.

Returning the test kit

Once you have completed the test, it is your responsibility to drop your double-bagged sample in the drop-box in the Forecourt car park by 1.30pm on the same day. You must wear a face covering when dropping off your sample. Please note, these drop-boxes are NOT the same as the collection points for pooled screening tests. It may be more convenient for those living in private accommodation to use one of the other drop-boxes sited around Cambridge. Please note, there aren’t any collections over the weekend.

You should receive your test result the following day. The College will also be informed of your test result, and provide all the support that you need. If you do not receive your result, please check with the College Covid Helpdesk in the first instance:

Finally, the University continues to offer testing at the University or Addenbrooke’s Hospital pods for any student or staff member with symptoms of possible Covid-19 over the summer vacation.

Anyone who has any questions specific to the testing process at St John’s should email: Further information can also be found in A comprehensive Q&A guide to the University's testing programme.


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

As of 30 November 2021, it is the law to wear face coverings on public transport and in retail settings as well as in healthcare settings and airports. The government expects and recommends that face coverings are also worn in enclosed and crowded spaces, including where people may come into contact with people they don’t normally meet.

For latest government guidance click here

Please wear a face covering in internal public spaces in the College when you are moving around.

Face coverings must still be worn whilst queuing and moving around in the Buttery/Bar, Hall and other dining spaces. Catering staff may choose to continue to wear face coverings in these spaces. Rules pertaining to Fellows' dining spaces can be found on the Fellows' homepage.

Face coverings should be worn in areas where social distancing and ventilation precautions cannot be implemented, primarily in indoor public spaces.

In meetings, where the risk is low, good practice will be for the Chair to check that all are comfortable to remove face coverings before the meeting starts.

Face coverings do not need to be worn in outdoor spaces.

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

The visitor policy permits St John’s alumni and their guests to enter the College, along with other members of the University and those visiting for specific education or research purposes.

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

  • you are a Member of the College community as defined in the full visitor policy
  • 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 
  • you have a work/education related purpose for attending the site.

Members of the College may now invite visitors onto the main College site, in line with the usual College visitor policy, but noting that junior members are limited to three visitors.

Guests of Members may use the Buttery, College Bar and other indoor communal College facilities.

The College remains closed to the general public and to tourists. This is because of the restricted access around the College site, due to the Community Hub works.

The Chapel are welcoming the public to certain services.

Please note, Kitchen Bridge will be closed from 2 August as part of the Community Hub works.

Read the updated visitor policy

Food and drink


From 2 October, the BDR and Bar will be open all day.

The opening times are as follows:

  • 8am – 11pm from Monday to Thursday

  • 8am – midnight on Friday

  • 10:30am – 11pm on Saturday

  • 10:30am – 10.30pm on Sunday

    The cold offer (sandwiches, crisps, yoghurts, drinks etc.) will be available from 8am to 20:00 (Mon-Fri)
    Coffee, cake and paninis will be available from the Bar during the day. Pizzas will be available from the evening

    Alcohol will be served from 5pm.

  • Formal meal times will be as follows:
    Monday to Friday and on Sunday: 11.30 – 13.45
    Saturday brunch: 11:30 to 13:45

    Evening Meal
    Monday to Sunday: 18.00 – 20.00

Staff have opted to wear face masks while working. Customers are requested to wear face masks in the BDR and Bar while queuing or moving around the facility unless exempt.

A 'Click and collect' service is available via UPay.

Compostable takeaway containers are available at a charge. 

Students, staff and Fellows are permitted to sit in the BDR for informal meetings, individual and joint working etc. outside the formal meal times. These uses of tables will not be permitted during the formal meal times so that priority can be given to those eating food.

The Patio outside the old Buttery is currently unavailable due to the Community Hub building works.

Formal Hall

Formal Hall will resume from Sunday 3rd October from Tuesday to Friday and on Sundays. Dining will be at 7.30 pm and 7.45 pm on a Sunday. Students and Fellows will be asked to book by 2.00 pm on the day before dining and by 2.00 pm on a Thursday for Sunday.

Fellows' dining

From Monday 19 July the following changes to arrangements for lunching and dining apply:

• Plating of meals will continue for the time being.

• Drinks are available in the Green Room before dinner, and those dining are asked to assemble there (as pre-Covid). Service of coffee/tea after lunch and dinner continues in the Combination Room.

• A limited number of daily newspapers and a couple of weeklies (The Economist and The Spectator) are also available in the Green Room.

Lunch is currently available from 12.30pm to 1.30pm every day except Sunday, and dinner every evening at 7.30pm (7.45pm on Sundays). The booking deadline for dinner will continue as 2pm the day before for dining from Monday to Thursday, and Thursday 2.00 pm for Friday to Sunday.

Health and wellbeing

Health & Wellbeing Centre

The Health and Wellbeing Centre will be open from Monday to Friday between 9.00 a.m. and 4.30 p.m.

Appointments can be booked via Moodle. At the appointment time, students will be contacted by phone or Zoom by the Health Centre to understand the problem.

If further help or a face to face meeting is found to be required, a time to visit the Health Centre will be arranged. The student will be asked to undertake a LFT test before attending. All students are also encouraged to take part in the asymptomatic testing programme if they believe a visit to the Health and Wellbeing Centre may be necessary.

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.

Mental health crisis support services

Counselling support

The College Counsellor will be available from 9.15 am to 3.00 pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Appointments may be arranged by email.

Pastoral support


The Chapel will be open for both private prayer/College visitors and for formal services and rehearsals. The details are as follows:

Monday to Saturday:

8.30 am – Morning Prayer

9.30am – 5.00 pm – Chapel open for visitors/solo prayer

5.15 pm – Choir rehearsal (not Saturday) 

6.30 pm – Evensong (not Saturday)

7.30 pm – Chapel closed


8.30 am – College Communion
9.30 am – 4.30 pm Chapel opened for visitors/solo prayer
10.30 am – Sung Eucharist
4.45 pm – Choir rehearsal
6.00 pm – Organ Recital
6.30 pm – Evensong
7.30 pm – Chapel closed

Occasional Compline Services will take place at c.9pm in the evening. Dates will be announced nearer the time.

The Rev'd Andrew Hammond, can be contacted at and on 07917 535940. Canon Mark Oakley, the Dean of Chapel, can be contacted on Visit the Chapel & Choirs page for the latest information.

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.

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.