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Covid-19 FAQs for Fellows

Coronavirus FAQs for Fellows

University information on Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Please refer to the University webpages for up to date information and UK Government links relating to health, travel, visa and immigration matters, and staff working arrangements. They also contain important University statements on arrangements for teaching and learning, assessment, and research in Easter Term 2020. These webpages also include a growing set of helpful FAQs.

These pages represent the central definitive resource for University information on Covid-19 – please check it frequently.

College information on Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Exams and assessment

What will happen about student exams and assessments?

The University has now released detailed guidance for exams and assessment, teaching and learning, admissions and finance. Individual faculties and departments will also issue specific guidance. 


How is the College coordinating the response to Covid-19?

Overall strategy for our response to the pandemic is determined by a Covid Gold group, consisting of the College Council and Chaired by the Vice-Master.  Implementation of that strategy is led by a Covid Silver group, chaired by the Domestic Bursar, which features a representative from all College departments and meets weekly. The Silver group's primary task is to discuss and plan the College's operational response to maintain the health and safety of students, staff, Fellows and visitors.

This structure has taken over from the initial Covid Committee which met daily on weekdays at the start of the lockdown period. It was chaired by Prof Ernest Laue, and included the Vice-Master, President, Lead Clinical Nurse, Senior Porter, Domestic Bursar, Head of Communications, Head of HR, Prof Miska (Tutor), and Prof Jiggins (Council).



I am a residential Fellow, can I continue to occupy my room?

Residential Fellows can remain in residence, there is no scenario where residential Fellows would be asked to vacate their rooms

I am a non-residential Fellow, can I continue to use my room?

Yes, but please follow social distancing, hand washing guidance, and all other College rules.

Can I invite guests into College and into my room?

Visits to College for recreational purposes are now also permitted for Fellows, staff, and resident students, including those living in College hostels or furnished lets. College members may bring members of their own household into College and their room, and Fellows can now host guests in the Fellows’ garden.

Gatherings of more than six people who are not part of the same household are not permitted, and all visitors must comply with government and College rules to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19.

Visits to other households in College are not permitted.

Can I bring my children into College?

We recognise that some Fellows may need to bring children into their sets for childcare reasons: in these cases please avoid common areas including the Buttery and, again, ensure that all parties observe social distancing and hand washing guidance.

Cleaning in College accommodation

See below for cleaning information and risk assessments

Cleaning information for residents in College

What you need to know about cleaning

Cleaning basins and taps - task card

COSHH risk assessment - kitchen sanitiser

COSHH risk assessment - washroom cleaner and descaler

Safety data sheet - washroom cleaner

Safety data sheet - kitchen sanitiser


College provision and wellbeing

Should I wear a face covering in College?

Face coverings should be worn in all parts of the College, whether inside College buildings or moving around the College site, and this includes the Buttery, the Library, the Chapel, in corridors, stairwells, and courts. This applies to all members of St John’s College and to visitors to the College unless you have an exemption.

Face coverings provide protection for other people where it is not possible to maintain appropriate social distancing. Two washable face coverings are available for all students, and each mask comes in a resealable plastic bag and includes fitting and washing instructions. You may wish to supplement this supply with your own face coverings.

Guidance on how to wear a face covering

View the Face Coverings Policy


For those in residence what facilities will be available?

The College’s provision has been reduced to core functions, and will depend on staff availability. We do anticipate that staff absence will impact catering, housekeeping, portering and nursing. Cover will be available for Tutors’ absence.

We have closed the gym, squash courts and bar on public health grounds. The College is also closed to tourists, and the JCR and SBR are closed. The Library is open - see the Library FAQs.

The College Chapel is open for private prayer and reflection from 10am-5pm every day for members of College and their guests. Entry and exit is via the Chapel Court doors. Seating has been designated to allow for social distancing, and hand sanitiser is available on entry. Regular and ongoing cleaning will continue in the Chapel.

Regarding access to College, some gates will close at certain times.

The Great Gate entrance to the College is closed as are all gates at the rear of College. Entrance to the College is therefore via the Forecourt entrance in Bridge St or via Cripps Lodge. The gate by Cripps into Magdalene College is also locked.

Is the Buttery open? 

The Buttery is now offering an Order Ahead service, where members of the College can place a cold food order in advance and collect items the next day from the College Bar. To order ahead, everyone will need to set up a Upay account where they can select their items in advance and book time slots for collection.

The Buttery is now also open for takeaway breakfast, lunch and dinner. College members will need to book a slot via Upay the day before to collect their lunch and dinner at certain times.

See the Buttery Updates page for full information and to learn how to open a Upay account.

Face coverings must be worn in the BDR and Bar when collecting food. 

What about feasts?

We have cancelled the Port Latin Feast, Benefactors' Dinner and it seems likely that other similar events will be cancelled.

Can I go punting?

Punt hire is available Punts will be cleaned from 10am each day ready for hiring, and availability is limited so bookings are restricted to current students, staff and Fellows. Please see the Porters' homepage for bookings, and read the punting hire guidelines. This will also be availble on the St John's Punt Society webpage.

If I am a residential Fellow and fall ill what help will the College be able to provide?

Residential Fellows should self isolate for 10 days if you develop a new continuous cough and or a fever (greater than 37.8C). They will have to self-isolate in their rooms and should inform the College immediately using our online form. We will check on those we know are self-isolating and arrange for food to be brought to your room. We are concerned about the loneliness individuals may feel and will provide advice/support wherever we can.

Further NHS guidance on self-isolation

I have developed symptoms of Covid-19. Can I get a test and, if so, how?

In partnership with Addenbrooke's Hospital, from Wednesday 3 June, all University and College members, as well as members of your household (anyone with whom you share a bathroom, toilet or kitchen) will be able to obtain a PCR (swab) should they have symptoms of possible SARS-CoV-2 infection (Covid-19). 

The test involves a simple nose and throat swab and should take less than three minutes.

If you develop a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, or other flu-like symptoms such as sore throat or muscle aches, you should:

  • Call Addenbrooke’s Hospital Occupational Health on 01223 216767 (08:30 to 16:30 Mon-Fri), stating that you wish to be tested as part of the University of Cambridge’s testing programme
  • Inform your Line Manager immediately
  • Stay at home and self-isolate until you receive further instructions from the Addenbrooke's Hospital Occupational Health or Infectious Diseases teams, in accordance with Public Health England (PHE) guidance.

    You will be offered a test at one of two locations:
  • S2 Testing Pods, Addenbrooke's Hospital – 8.30am-5pm Mon-Thurs and 8.30am-1pm Fri. Accessible by car, or bike while wearing a mask. If you are already on the Biomedical Campus, you can access the pods on foot while wearing a mask.
  • The Pod outside the Dyson Building, Department of Engineering, Fen Causeway entrance – 8.30am-2.45pm Mon-Thurs. Accessible by car, or bike/foot while wearing a mask.

Directions to both sites

If you develop symptoms outside these hours, or cannot access either of these two locations, you can arrange a test at an alternative location using the NHS website.

After you have been tested, please continue to self-isolate until you receive your result. This will be available within 48 hours of the test.

If your test result is positive, you will be called on the same day as the test by the Infectious Diseases team from Addenbrooke's Hospital. If your test result is negative, you will receive an email or text message from Addenbrooke's Hospital Occupational Health within 48 hrs of the test. Please continue to self-isolate until you receive your test result.

The PCR test that will be used was developed in collaboration with the PHE laboratory at Addenbrooke's Hospital, and all results are integrated with the hospital system and reported to PHE.

This type of test checks whether you have Covid-19 at the time the swab is taken. There is another type of test (for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies) that checks whether you have previously been exposed to the virus. We do not offer that type of test, which is not yet widely available.

What should I do if I am self-isolating?

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

Please consult the Public Health England Advice.

Information about ending self isolation

My students are worried, what should I tell them?

Please direct students to the FAQ pages on the College Coronavirus webpage. These will link to up to date government advice and will be updated regularly.

How can I help?

  •  A Cambridge-wide information gathering exercise is being established to identify researchers willing to be involved with the local or national Covid response should the need arise. This could involve assisting in testing or research. A website has been established to capture this information: Please complete it if you are willing to offer help locally or nationally.
  • Anyone who is able to help others is being encouraged to consider donating items or money to the Trussell Trust.
  • In Cambridge, food or financial donations can be made to Jimmy’s,  a charity that has been helping the homeless in the city for more than 20 years. 
  • The Red Hen Project is a small Cambridge based charity that works to support vulnerable families in the city. The charity has been providing food parcels to families in need during the lockdown.
  • You can also support Addenbrooke's and its staff during the coronavirus crisis. Your donation to Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust will aid the wellbeing of staff and help to provide vital equipment needed to support the Intensive Care Unit.
  • Women’s Aid, a national charity, is concerned about the impact of coronavirus lockdown measures have on women and children and is encouraging donations as pressure on their services increase.
  • Supermarkets also have collection points for different charities and food banks.