St John’s College arrangements for quarantine / self-isolation after travelling to College accommodation

From 18 January 2021 travel corridors to England are suspended by the UK Government. 

If you arrive in England from anywhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man (Common Travel Area, or CTA), you will need to self-isolate for 10 days.

You must have proof of a negative coronavirus test to travel to England from abroad, taken 3 days before travel.

Visit the Government website for full details. Please check this site frequently before you travel to the UK, as rules can change quickly with little advance notice. 

There is now a Test to Release option where individuals can choose to pay for a private coronavirus test which can be taken on day 5 of your self-isolation - if you receive a negative result you can end your isolation early. Note the test result for home testing kits take 48 hours to report. Private tests undertaken by Boots/ Lloyds and others are usually reported within 24 hours.

During self-isolation you are expected to stay in your accommodation and follow government guidance that places specific restrictions on your movements

Note that if you are travelling from an exempt location, but make a transit stop in, or if you visit a country or territory that is non-exempt in the 14 days before you arrive in England, you will need to undergo the 10-day self-isolation period upon arrival.

All travellers entering the UK from abroad are required to complete an online Public Health Passenger Locator form with your journey and contact details 48 hours before arrival in the UK. When you arrive at the UK border, you will need to show either a printed copy of the document attached to your confirmation email or the document attached to the confirmation email on your phone. 

If you are arriving from within the Common Travel Area and have been within the CTA for the last 14 days before entering the UK, you need not complete the Public Health passenger form or self-isolate.

If you are required to quarantine, when you arrive in England you should go straight to the place where you are staying. This need not be College accommodation if, for example, you are staying/self-isolating with relatives. If you are not coming straight to College and are required to self-isolate and you plan to complete this time elsewhere, you must inform Student Service ( of your arrival date and forward to your College a copy of your Public Health passenger location form.

In travelling to your place of post travel self-isolation, Government guidance is to use public transport only if there is no alternative. When using public transport in the UK, the law requires you to wear a face covering and stay 2 metres apart from other people. Be sure to pack a face covering or scarf to cover your nose and mouth before you travel. Everyone arriving from abroad (whether required to quarantine of not), should familiarise themselves with UK regulations for face coverings before their journey to the UK. The University and Colleges have issued a joint statement on face coverings which applies to their premises.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection you should not travel. The most important symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) are recent onset of the following:

  • A new continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

If you develop coronavirus symptoms while in transit to England, tell one of the crew on your plane, boat, train, or bus. They will let staff in the airport, port or station know, so they can tell you what to do when you arrive. If you have coronavirus symptoms you will not be allowed to travel by public transport and will need to demonstrate that you have suitable accommodation for self-isolation. If you do develop coronavirus symptoms when in transit, you should contact Forecourt Porters Lodge (  01223 338671) once you arrive in the UK

Many of you have questions about the impact of current UK requirements on your arrival in Cambridge. The policies set out below for post travel self-isolation in College accommodation have been developed following extensive consultation by University representatives with Public Health England, with other Colleges and within St John’s College, to ensure that we have the capacity to provide the support students may require.

What does post travel self-isolation for travellers returning to the UK entail?

You will find an extensive answer to this question at Coronavirus (Covid-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK . The key points, if you are required to quarantine, are as follows:

  • You should self-isolate for a full 10 days in one place, where you can have food and other necessities delivered
  • You cannot leave your accommodation to visit public areas
  • You cannot go shopping
  • It is important to avoid contact with other people as much as possible while in self-isolation in order to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus
  • You have the option of Test to Release  

Will the College provide accommodation for students required to quarantine?

If you have booked College accommodation for Easter term, you may book additional nights of College accommodation in order to complete any required self-isolation before the start of your course. You should notify Student Services ( to inform them of your date of arrival. At the moment, we are unable to offer College accommodation for self-isolation to students who will be living in private accommodation in Easter Term.

I am returning to Cambridge for Easter Term. What if I am unable to arrive in time to complete quarantine before my course begins?

The University and the Colleges expect the vast majority of students not to return to Cambridge for Easter Term, in line with Government guidelines and the lockdown legislation that came into force on 5 January 2021. Exceptions are: clinical Medical, clinical Veterinary and PGCE students; students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities; and students who need to be in Cambridge for specific reasons, including health or safety reasons.

The College and the University know that not all students on the courses mentioned above will be able to arrive early to quarantine or may face delays in making travel arrangements. It should be possible for you to complete quarantine during the first two weeks of term, whilst following classes or meeting with supervisors remotely, but you must notify the relevant individuals well in advance so that all necessary arrangements can be made. 

Undergraduates on the courses mentioned above who are unable to arrive in time to complete any required quarantine period before the start of term begins please notify Student Services ( Please put ‘quarantine question’ in the subject line of your email. Please also notify your Tutor, Director of Studies and Academic Administrator.

Postgraduates with questions about the start of Easter Term relating to quarantine should contact their Tutor, their principal Supervisor and the Postgraduate Administrator, Ms Angela Mansfield ( Please put ‘quarantine question’ in the subject line of your email.


Appendix A contains a list of items you may wish to bring with you to help you through your period of quarantine.

Will I be able to spend quarantine in the room I have booked for Easter Term?  

We will aim to book all early arrivals directly into the room you will occupy in Easter Term; where this is not possible we will arrange for you to complete quarantine in another College room. 

Students are permitted to complete quarantine in non-en suite accommodation, but they and the other students with whom they share a bathroom and/or toilet and kitchen must follow very strict social distancing guidelines.  In most cases, we are operating a ‘household’ model this year with a group of individuals having shared facilities. Government guidance can be found here.

  • Quarantining students should minimise use of shared areas in all cases
  • Minimal contact with surfaces in hallways, doorways and lobbies should be encouraged
  • Where shared facilities are used (e.g. bathrooms, kitchens) all members of the household must maintain scrupulous Covid-secure practices.
  • Non-quarantining students do not need to observe quarantine movement restrictions but will need to engage with Covid-secure practices in shared areas and facilities

If a student should develop coronavirus symptoms when in isolation in a household, then they need to complete the online College form and the normal regulations for self-isolation apply

What happens if I am in a double set and my room mate does not have to quarantine?

In this instance, you may be asked to quarantine in a room other than your own.  Please alert Student Services to this situation when you contact them to let them know your date of arrival.

How will I get food during quarantine?

The College Buttery Dining Room (BDR) is open for take-away service for lunch and dinner. In addition, the College Bar has been adapted to offer an ‘order and collect’ take-away service that quarantining students will be able to order on their Upay account. Quarantining students will not be able to pick up these meals themselves; if your self-isolation supporters are not available, the College Catering service will deliver take-away meals that have been ordered. Further details will be provided on your arrival. 

You may also be able to order take-away meals and groceries from the many local delivery services if your self-isolation supporter can arrange delivery to your room.

Quarantining students may use the kitchen that is closest to their room to prepare meals, but are required to observe the following guidelines:

  • Only one person in the kitchen at a time; as rooms fill up you may need to organise a group chat to coordinate access to the kitchen
  • Wash your hands before, during and after using the kitchen
  • Wash and put away any items you have used before leaving the kitchen
  • Clean kitchen surfaces (including the handles to microwaves, kettles and refrigerators) before and after you use them (supplies will be provided in each kitchen)
  • Wear a face covering at all times when outside your room, removing it in the kitchen only when necessary to taste your food or drink

What College buildings may I enter while in quarantine?

Barring emergencies, students in quarantine may not enter any College building except their own residential premises. 

Will I be able to use the College gardens while in quarantine?

You are allowed to exercise in any garden attached to your place of quarantine, but you must stay 2 metres apart from other people staying there at all times.

Can I get reading material from the SJC Library to prepare for my course while in quarantine? 

Some services are available in the Library including click and collect for on-site students via a supporter, and essential printing for academic purposes. 

Read the updated Library FAQs for detailed information

I have left belongings in College storage.  Can I get access to these while I am in quarantine?

Yes. Notify Student Services (  as soon as possible of your arrival date and provide a description of the items you have left in storage.  Arrangements will be made to move your belongings into your room before you arrive to begin your quarantine. Please note: we need at least three working days’ notice to arrange for the retrieval and delivery of belongings from storage. Retrieval of belongings while you are in quarantine may be possible but cannot be guaranteed

How much will I have to pay for accommodation during quarantine?

Additional nights of accommodation for quarantine purposes will be charged at the standard student rate for the room that you have booked for Easter Term. 

Paying for two extra weeks of accommodation will be a serious financial hardship for me. Can the College help?

Any St John’s student who experiences unanticipated financial hardship may apply for hardship funds. Consult your Tutor in the first instance to discuss your situation.

What other support is available to me while I am in quarantine?

Your Tutor can offer support to students in quarantine. The College is also organising a group of volunteer supporters who will provide practical assistance to students in quarantine at specified times. They might deliver take-away meals from the Buttery or pick up your post from the Porters’ Lodge. 

Porters are on site 24/7.  Please contact them at any time with any concerns at 01223 338671.

What happens if I develop symptoms of coronavirus while I am in quarantine?


Key telephone numbers:

Porters Lodge tel: 01223 338671      College Nurse tel: 01223 338664 / 07919058221   NHS tel: 111 (24hrs a day)

The guidelines set out above are subject to change in accord with updates to UK government, Public Health England or University policy.  Please consult current UK government instructions for travellers frequently before you start your journey;  these may change without notice.


Items that you may wish to bring with you for use in College:

  • A first aid kit for minor cuts and abrasions (and anything you would normally source from the Porters’ Lodge or Nurse). Paracetamol or similar
  • A digital thermometer
  • Basic Personal Protection Equipment for personal use: mask, gloves, hand sanitiser or soap (Note: The College will provide 2 face coverings for each student)
  • Three days’ supply of non-perishable food that you could use in event of a lockdown and/or at the start of your quarantine period
  • Phone, laptop or ipad that you can link to home delivery shopping in the UK
  • Clothing and bedding and towels sufficient for a two-week cycle between washes
  • Individual cooking and dining utensils and crockery
  • Chargers in good working order for all of your devices
  • Access to a credit card or enough cash to cover your average two-week expenditure
  • 2-6 week supply of prescription medicines, contact lenses, contact lens solution, batteries for hearing aids, sanitary products, etc.
  • A list of emergency contact telephone numbers (not stored in phones or on devices)– College, local, family
  • Other items that support your unique needs
  • Named cushion/rug (for outdoor seating)