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

Why has the College asked as many students as possible to go home?

To the College the most important thing is that when the situation becomes truly difficult, students are at the place where they feel most at home. No student will be forced to leave the College. We believe students will generally be better off going home where possible because they can support their own families and be better looked after if they fall ill. Already foreign governments are closing their borders to all but their own nationals, and students are strongly advised to make their plans accordingly.



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?

Non-residential Fellows may come into College if it is essential. For example if you need to consult books in College, but please follow social distancing and hand washing guidance. 

Can I invite guests to my room?

We are asking Fellows not to bring guests into College. We are taking all possible measures to reduce sources of infection especially for vulnerable members of our community and therefore request that you respect this rule. The only exception is if a Fellow needs to bring their children with them for childcare purposes.

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

For those still 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 are closing the gym, squash courts and bar on public health grounds. The College is also now closed to tourists, and the Chapel, Library, JCR and SBR are closed.

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

The Great Gate entrance to the College is now closed, and Cripps Porters’ Lodge will close each day at 4.30pm. Your College card will still give you access to Cripps as usual.

The gate by Cripps into Magdalene College is locked.

Will lunch and dinner be provided?

The Buttery Dining Room is open once a day from 12.30pm to 2pm serving a hot meal for students, staff and Fellows. A limited cold meal and sandwich offer will also be available. The service will be take away only for all, aside from key staff who have nowhere else to eat. People who are not members of St John's are currently not permitted to be taken into the BDR as guests.

There will be no dinner service. Sandwiches etc. will be available at lunchtime to take away for dinner, and they will also be delivered to the Porters’ Lodges for those working a late shift and for distribution to self-isolators where needed.

We strongly encourage non-residential Fellows to eat at home.

What about feasts?

We have cancelled the Port Latin Feast, Benefactors' Dinner and it seems likely that all other events during Easter Term will similarly be cancelled.

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

Residential Fellows should self isolate for seven 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 available here. Further NHS guidance on self-isolation is available here. 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.

What should I do if I am self-isolating?

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

Please consult the Public Health England Advice which is available here

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.