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 Lent Term 2021. 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)

The current status of the pandemic, the increased transmissibility of the virus and the national lockdown have meant that we have had to make a number of changes to College operations in Lent Term 2021.

Exams and assessment

What will happen about student exams and assessments?

The University has 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 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?

Fellows are expected to follow the Government and the University’s exhortation to work from home where at all possible. Fellows who do not live in College should only come into College to visit their College set for an essential work reason. We are asking this because we want to keep to the necessary minimum the flow of people through and around College, and particularly through the Forecourt and Cripps Porters’ Lodges. In the same vein, if a Fellow has an essential work reason to make a trip into College, please try to minimise the demands on other College services - particularly the BDR – to reduce the risk of transmission.

Can I bring guests into College? 

A comprehensive new visitor policy for St John’s has now been published which covers the rules for Fellows, students, and staff.

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?

Face coverings should be worn in all indoor parts of the College, including the Buttery, the Library, and the Chapel. This applies to all members of St John’s College unless you have an exemption.They do not need to be worn outside.

Face coverings provide protection for other people even where it is possible to maintain appropriate social distancing. 

Guidance on how to wear a face covering

View the Face Coverings Policy

Are sports facilities open?

The Fitness Centre has reopened and will be 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

The playing fields and astro pitch can be used for exercise. The playing fields are also now open for a range of sports, including rugby, football, hockey, netball, tennis, cricket, volleyball, lacrosse and frisbee. No booking is required, but to use the courts contact the Head Groundsman for the updated code. All sports are required to follow the risk assessments provided to the Head Groundsman.If in any doubt, please consult the National Association guidance for the relevant sport.  Please note, the only matches permitted under Government guidelines are officially sanctioned League or CUPPERs games.

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

For specific national sports, consult the National Sport Association or England Hockey, etc.

Can I go punting?

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

The BDR is open daily for takeaway meals only: lunch is from 11.30am to 1.30pm, and dinner is from 6pm to 7.30pm. Entry to the BDR is from K staircase 2nd Court and the exit is via the BDR Patio.

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.

Fellows, students and staff may take their takeaway lunch and dinner meals in to the Hall to eat. There will be 2.5m spacing between diners, a member of catering staff supervising, and cleaning will take place between each user.

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

The College Bar

The Bar has now reopened indoors with extended opening hours, so visitors will be able to have alcoholic or soft drinks inside, or on the patio outside the Buttery. It will have 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 grocery Order Ahead / Click and collect service is still available from the Bar via Upay (see above).

Entrance to the College Bar is via K staircase 2nd Court and exit is vis the door leading into 2nd Court. It continues to operate as a grocery shop. 

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.


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.


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


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.  

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

Further 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 for a minimum of 10 days 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 also self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days if you have received a positive test result, regardless of symptoms, or 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.

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