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. These webpages also include a 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)

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 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. 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, College Nurse, Senior Porter, Domestic Bursar, Head of Communications, Head of HR, Prof. Miska (Tutor), and Prof. Jiggins (Council).

Can I bring guests into College? 

Yes you can. A comprehensive new visitor policy for St John’s has now been published.

All of our policies are currently subject to change at any time and it is imperative that you familiarise yourself with this and other policies as the number of people onsite continues to grow ahead of the new term.

College provision and wellbeing

Should I wear a face covering in College?

It is the law to wear face coverings in most indoor public places and on public transport, include taxis. 

There are some exemptions. You do not need to wear a face covering in hospitality settings such as cafés, restaurants and pubs. This is because it is not practical to keep removing face coverings to eat or drink.

You do not need to wear a face covering in nightclubs or certain other night-time venues, including dance halls and discotheques. This is because it is not recommended that you wear a face covering while exercising or during strenuous physical activity, including dancing.

Settings which are exempt from wearing a face covering include:

  • Restaurants, cafés and canteens
  • Bars and shisha bars
  • Gyms & exercise facilities
  • Photography studios
  • Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques


In indoor settings where a face covering is not legally required, you should still continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not 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.

Guidance on how to wear a face covering

View the Face Coverings Policy

Are sports facilities open?

The Fitness Centre 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. 

Book a space in the Fitness Centre

The playing fields and astro pitch are open. No booking is required, but to use the courts contact the Head Groundsman for the updated code. 

It is imperative that any person who is showing any symptoms (a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, loss of, or change in, your sense of taste) does not come to the playing fields to exercise under any circumstances. If you feel ill in this way, please complete the College online form and follow the advice in the Key information for isolation or quarantine due to Covid-19

Can I go punting?

Punt hire is available to St John's students, Fellows and members of staff. See the Punt Society page for full details.

What about other facilities in College?

The Library

The Library is offering a combination of in-person, zero-contact and remote services - see the Library FAQs for full details.

The Buttery in the temporary structure 

During term time, 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
    Coffee, cake, paninis and pizzas will be available from the Bar during the day.

    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 are not 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.


Fellows' dining

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 2pm for Friday to Sunday.


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.


Latest information

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

Testing is a key part of the University’s strategy for keeping its staff, workplaces and the wider community safe. The University offers swab tests to College and University staff and students, as well as staff at Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press, who have possible symptoms of Covid-19. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you should arrange a test immediately. Tests should now be booked online via the web portal, not via the Addenbrooke’s Hospital Occupational Health phone line.

When booking, you can select to take a test at one of two locations:

  • S2 Testing Pods, Addenbrooke's Hospital – 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. These pods are only 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.
  • Dyson Building, Department of Engineering, Fen Causeway entrance – 8.30am to 2.45pm, Monday to Friday. Accessible by bike or foot while wearing a mask. Access by car is possible but very limited. 

Maps showing the locations of these testing pods can be found here.

If you develop symptoms after the closure of the Pod on Friday, or any time on Saturday or Sunday, or cannot access either of these two locations, you can arrange a test at an alternative location using the NHS website.

For enquiries about what to do if you or a member of your household has symptoms of Covid-19, please visit the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni website or contact the University’s dedicated Covid-19 helpdesk by phone 01223 339514 or email 

Wider Covid-19 symptomatic testing criteria

New criteria for the University Covid-19 symptomatic testing has been introduced to include milder but clinically relevant symptoms.

It includes: 

  • High temperature – a feeling of feverishness, or a measured temperature above 37.8° C
  • New cough – this means a new intermittent or persistent cough, or worsening of your usual cough (if you have one)
  • A loss or change in your sense of taste or smell, particularly in the absence of nasal congestion
  • A sore throat
  • Nasal discharge or congestion
  • Muscle aches
  • New hoarseness
  • New shortness of breath
  • A new wheeze
  • A positive Lateral Flow test

Anyone who meets the criteria listed above can go to one of the University’s Covid symptomatic testing stations. By testing quickly, we have the ability to react fast and appropriately.

Should you develop any of these symptoms, please self-isolate immediately, and notify the College using our Symptom Reporting Form. We would like students, Fellows and staff to let us know if you develop symptoms.

Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms and is not in Cambridge should self-isolate at home and not return to College until the full 10 days of quarantine has been completed.

Self isolation guidance 

When should I self-isolate, and what help can you provide?

You must self-isolate if you develop a new continuous cough, shortness of breath, a loss of taste or smell, and/or a fever greater than 37.8C.

You must self-isolate for a minimum of 5 days if you have received a positive test result, regardless of symptoms. You must isolate for a minimum of 10 days if you have been alerted by the track and trace service as having been in recent close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, or have been advised to isolate by a health care professional pending your test result.

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 and/or if they share a household with 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

If you are not legally required to self-isolate as a contact, you are strongly advised to take a rapid LFD test every day for 7 days or until 10 days since your last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 if this is earlier. These individuals 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.

You must complete our online form to report your symptoms/circumstances to the Health & Wellbeing Centre and the Porters. We will then provide specific advice for your individual circumstance. Please also consult the Government advice.

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

College Covid-19 symptom reporting form

Key information for isolation or quarantine due to Covid-19

Information about ending self isolation

My students are worried, what should I tell them?

Please direct students to the Covid-19 Student Guidelines for the latest rules and guidance for life at St John’s College during the pandemic. This should be used in parallel with the Student Handbook.

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.

    Back to main Coronavirus Information page