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 throughout the year, sometimes for short periods of time and sometimes at short notice.

Visit the Coronavirus Information page for details on current guidance at St John's


A College Covid ‘Silver’ Group and a ‘Gold’ Group manage the College’s response to Covid-19.

The Gold Group, made up of members of the College Council and chaired by the Master, is responsible for the College’s strategic decision making. The Silver Group manages the day-to-day Covid-19 operational decisions and is chaired by the Domestic Bursar.

Conduct during the pandemic

The University of Cambridge and the individual Colleges have worked together during the Covid-19 pandemic to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the entire community. The Covid-19 virus brings significant risks in terms of public health and mitigating these risks is the responsibility of us all. The University has issued a Covid-19 Student Community Statement which represents a commitment by all members of the collegiate University community to behave in a way that minimises the risk of spreading the virus.

Think carefully about reducing all opportunities for infection and read the University Coronavirus guidance for further information on how you can manage your time in Cambridge as safely as possible.

While living in College you are sharing a space with others who are in vulnerable categories including Fellows who are over 70, and fellow students and staff with underlying health issues. We expect you to behave appropriately. In some areas of College and when sharing a space, such as the Buttery, face coverings are required until seated. Please have your College card on you at all times as you may be asked to produce it to confirm that you are a member of St John's. Do respect these requirements and look out for changes in the guidelines which occur from time to time.

Wearing a face covering 

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 should be worn by students in lectures and supervisions.

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.

Read the full Face Coverings Policy

Guidance on how to wear a face covering

Travel and quarantine

The Government has introduced a traffic light system for international travel to and from England. You should not travel to countries or territories on the red list.

Read the latest Government travel guidance for England

Travelling to England from outside the UK

All travellers arriving into the UK will need to get a LFD or PCR test by ‘day two’ after arrival. If the result is positive, they should continue to isolate and follow rules on isolation following a positive test. Unvaccinated arrivals aged over 18 will follow the existing, more onerous, testing and isolation regime.

All arrivals from Red list countries Red list arrivals will enter hotel quarantine. 

People planning to travel to England should follow the guidance on entering the UK.

Full information

If you are travelling to England, please follow the guidelines provided for quarantining students.

Visitors and gatherings/events

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 invite visitors onto the main College site, in line with the usual College visitor policy.

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

Using the College grounds/outdoor gatherings

All current Members of the College community and their guests, as defined by the visitor policy, are permitted access to the College grounds.

The playing fields remain open to all Members of the College community.

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.

Please note that 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.

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 test result, you should follow the advice set out in the previous section.

Read our full Test and Trace guidance (download)

Academic Arrangements


The University and Colleges remain open, and continue to engage in research, learning and education.

Students will be advised about academic arrangements by the College, Supervisors and Directors of Studies.

Please look out for messages from your Director of Studies, your Tutor, your supervisors, the Academic Administrator for your subject and your faculty or department on these matters. During term-time, please read the Friday College Bulletin which is sent to you by email, and keep an eye on the website too.

Updates from the University


Returning to accommodation

If you are a student returning to St John’s College accommodation here are some things of which you should be aware:

  • The College has conducted a risk assessment of its site and accommodation.
  • The College has put in place proportionate measures to mitigate against the current risks.
  • Targeted and increased cleaning of all communal areas in College is being conducted and cleaning materials are available for those who live off-site.
  • Hand cleaning facilities are widely available.


In common with all other Colleges, to mitigate the risk arising from Covid-19, students are grouped in ‘student households’ for accommodation purposes. Students living within a household share dedicated kitchen, toilet and washing facilities. 

Should a member of the household contract the virus or have any symptoms and need to self-isolate then the household, unless exempt, will be required to self-isolate in line with government guidance and College advice (full details of the self-isolation procedure and support are set out in the Health and Welfare section below).

College gates

The Great Gate is open from 7:30 am – 10:00pm Monday - Friday and 9:00am – 10:00pm at weekends.


Bridge St entrance is on card access 24/7
Wicket gate, St John’s St, is open from 7:30am – 7:00pm Monday – Friday. Closed at weekends.

Cripps entrance is open 24/7.

Queen’s Road:

Wicket gate/Main Gate – reserved for building work access.
Automatic gate – on card access 24/7.

Other Gates:

Trinity Piece Gate – on card access 24/7.

Merton Hall gate – on card access 24/7.

The gate by Cripps into Magdalene College is locked.

Mail collection

Parcel/mail collection is available from the Great Gate Porters’ Lodge from 7.30am-6pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-6pm Saturday and Sunday.

Student accommodation in lockdowns

In the case of a national lockdown, the University and the Colleges are, as ever, guided by the advice of PHE and the country's legislation. Within these limits, Colleges are committed to provide accommodation to all students, on a case‐by‐case basis, who do not have any other home to go to, for example care‐leavers, estranged students, and UK or international students who cannot travel to their own home town/country due to local travel restrictions.

Safety and Security

Porters are on duty 24/7 to support all students and to ensure the College site and outside hostels are safe and secure. The Forecourt Porters’ Lodge and Cripps Lodge are open 24/7. Please report any security or safety concerns you have by phoning 01223 338671 or emailing


Cleaning in College

The Bedmaking/Gyp team clean student rooms inside the College once per fortnight. They also clean communal areas such as student kitchens and bathrooms, both inside and outside the accommodation. 

Please note that you will be asked to take responsibility for the cleanliness of the room allocated to you, to remove all rubbish, recycling, landfill and food waste to the bin collection areas in College around the Courts, or the central bin area in Cripps, and to maintain high levels of hygiene in any bathroom or kitchen facilities that you share with your household. All outside properties have their own Council rubbish bins and you should continue to put them to the kerbside for emptying as usual.

Cleaning routines

Please refer to the Waste Management Policy for further information (subject to change).

Cleaning Guidance

Guidance on the cleaning of kitchens, bathrooms and toilets


A new online Maintenance request system, TabsFM, is now live.

Phone calls are accepted if it is an *emergency (see below), but students must still raise a maintenance request using the online portal. 

Make a maintenance request

The portal link can also be found under Maintenance Request Form on the student homepage under Frequently Used Links.

All Maintenance operatives will wear face coverings in occupied rooms and buildings. All Maintenance contractors will wear identification badges to prove they have been fully Covid-19 inducted and wear PPE when appropriate.

*Emergencies only: For gas, water leaks and overflows, structural movements, live electrics or any other emergencies call the Maintenance Department on 01223 338705 on weekdays or the Porters on weekends 01223 338671.


Facilities & Co-Curricular


All music rooms can be booked through the College Music Administrator or via the online booking system. Slots will normally be for one hour. A 30 minute ‘ventilation’ gaps has been put in between each bookable slot.

Room capacities are as follows:

Fisher Building Music Rooms: MR1 (3 people); MR2 (2 people); MR3 (1 person) and MR4 (4 people). Only one singer and one accompanist is permitted in each room at any one time.

New Music Room: Bookings only available through the College Music Administrator Sophie Kirk, Capacity will be adjusted to enable 1m social distancing.

Cripps Band Room: 1 person only (no natural ventilation)

We ask that all students use hand sanitiser before entering a music practice room. There will be wipes available in each room to wipe the keyboard and music stands before and after each use. Please leave the windows open after your session to allow adequate ventilation before the next use.

Study space

During term-time, All Saints Passage study rooms are open to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Spaces must be booked via the Public Rooms booking system. They will be open from 9am-7pm.  Entrance is through the gates into Corfield Court and on the right.

Art Room

Students are permitted to use the on-site art room. 

Student Services

Student Services is back to normal opening hours of 08:30-18:00 weekdays except Wednesday when the Student Services Team work from home. On Wednesdays they are available to speak via MS Teams or over the phone.


The JCR 

Don’t forget to follow the JCR on social media and join the St John’s College Students group on Facebook during the summer 2021 vacation.


Fitness Centre 

The Fitness Centre is open daily from 6am until 10pm. All one-hour sessions must be booked in advance, and can be booked last minute if there is availability.

Only those who have previously been authorised to use the Fitness Centre will be permitted to book a slot. Those wishing to use the Fitness Centre, but have not yet been inducted need to:

  1. Watch the induction video, Fitness Centre Induction, it’s only 16 minutes and highlights the new Covid procedures
  2. Read and agree to the Fitness Centre Commitment Statement
  3. Once you’ve done both the steps above, go onto the Fitness Centre Moodle page and tick the box on the right to say you’ve completed induction
  4. Wait around two working days for Student Services to grant you access to the Fitness Centre booking page

To gain access to the Fitness Centre you need to pick up an entry card from the Cripps Porters’ Lodge at the time you booked your Fitness Centre slot. 

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

Free Weights Area update

The Free Weights Area in the Fitness Centre is open. Some changes have been made to keep everyone safe, and certain rules must be strictly adhered to:

Full details and booking instructions

The Boathouse

The Boathouse is open for members of the LMBC.

Playing fields and astro pitch

The playing fields and astro pitch are now open.

The playing fields can be used 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.

Use of the astro and hard courts, Spring/Summer 2021

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 or astro pitch 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

Squash and badminton

Book a squash court

To enquire about badminton, please contact Accommodation & Bookings via 


Punt hire is available to St John's alumni, students, Fellows and members of staff. 

Find full details on The Punt Society page


Until further notice, the Library is offering a combination of in-person, zero-contact and remote services.

Please visit the Library homepage for full details of our current services, which include pre-bookable study spaces in the Library, 'Virtual Library' study sessions on Zoom, and 'Click & Collect' for borrowing items.

Freshers' information

For those new to the Library and its resources, a virtual tour and a range of PDF guides are available on the Working Library webpages


During term, 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.

Students may now bring guests to Chapel services. These should be guests as currently envisaged in the Visitor Policy. Please contact the Chapel Clerk, Stephen Stokes, to reserve places. You do not need to book in if you are coming on your own, except for Sunday Evensong.

Hand sanitiser is available on entry. Regular and ongoing cleaning will continue in the Chapel.

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.

Catering & Bar


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.

  • 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 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.

Health and Welfare


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 is in the process of recruiting a new College Counsellor.

Handwashing and sanitising

Additional hand sanitiser stations have been installed across the College. Please follow these steps regarding hand washing or the use of hand sanitiser when hand washing cannot be performed.

Taking your temperature

Thermometers are available in the Porters’ Lodges. Please read the guidance on using the thermometers to take your temperature effectively.


You must self-isolate and take an LFD or PCR test 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 5 days if you have received a positive test result, regardless of symptoms.

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.

College Covid-19 symptom/contact reporting form

Key information for isolation or quarantine due to Covid-19

Student guide on ordering food and provisions whilst in self-isolation

Testing for Covid-19

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 has not yet returned to Cambridge should self-isolate at home and not return to College until the full 10 days of quarantine has been completed.

Weekly asymptomatic testing programme for students

During term time, all undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge are offered a weekly test for infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19, even if they show no symptoms. 

This proactive scheme, which is being hailed as best practice across the UK’s Higher Education sector, is currently the most effective way to protect yourselves and the wider St John’s community from infection. For it to work, it relies on a high participation rate to have the most impact. Everyone who is eligible is strongly encouraged to take part.

Further information on the asymptomatic screening programme. 

Care for students in self-isolation

The College is committed to ensuring all quarantining and self- or house-isolating students are provided for. Whilst quarantining or isolating it is not permitted to use the College facilities or public areas.

For those in quarantine, Tutors will check in with new students by email and offer a Zoom or Skype meeting soon after you begin your quarantine to introduce themselves and discuss any concerns you may have. You may contact them by email at any time after your arrival to ask questions or request a follow-up meeting. If your Tutor is on holiday when you arrive we will put you in touch with another Tutor to provide support while you are in quarantine. You may also contact the Health and Wellbeing Centre health& .

The College will offer meals which will be available via click and collect, to be collected by your supporter. Students would be charged as per normal for these facilities via Upay. You can arrange for food to be delivered to one of the Porters Lodges, but it must be collected for you.

Key information for students supporting those in self-isolation/quarantine

Student guide on ordering food and provisions whilst in self-isolation

Back to main Coronavirus Information page