We will do our best to ensure that the FAQ answers here are all current and correct. Please be aware that information will change. The date of the answer is given for each FAQ. Please contact the JCR Computer Officer with any concerns.
1) (15/03/20) Why has the College asked as many students as possible to go home?
Government advice changed on Thursday 12 March as the UK has gone from the ‘contain’ to the ‘delay’ phase. The aim is to ensure that the infection does not spread fast so as to reduce pressure on the health service. The university is in ‘amber’ phase. It is widely expected that it will soon move to ‘red’. When it moves to “red”, normal operations will cease in the University and in the College.
The College is aware that a significant number of our staff will fall ill. If schools are closed, staff will also have to stay at home to look after younger children. The College will therefore not have the resources to provide the facilities and support it can in normal times. 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.
2) (15/03/20) If I stay in College accommodation and fall ill what help will the College be able to provide?
The College will not be able to provide nursing care. Students will have to self-isolate in their rooms. Assuming there is staff, we shall try to provide food once a day to those we know are self-isolating, but you need to be aware that this may not be possible.
We are concerned about the loneliness students may feel. Think about who can be your supporter if you fall ill.
Where possible we will also provide online advice/support, again assuming the staff are well enough.
3) (15/03/20) When should I leave by?
UK students living in College accommodation should leave at the very latest by the end of normal residence (noon 18 March) but it would be wise to leave as soon as you can make arrangements. You will need special permission to stay beyond this. If you have already applied to stay beyond 18 March, you should contact your Tutor to explain why you need to stay EVEN IF YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN EXCESS RESIDENCE
Overseas students in College accommodation should make arrangements to travel as soon as possible, bearing in mind that the University and College will enter the “red” stage as soon as the disease spreads rapidly.
Those overseas students who have special reasons to stay in College accommodation – and we recognise that for some students, leaving Cambridge is not possible – please discuss with your Tutor. No-one will be evicted from College properties.
4) (15/03/20) Can I leave my belongings in my room?
All students should aim to leave, with all their belongings, unless there are exceptional reasons authorised by your tutor or you have already left.
As you are aware, storage facilities are available on a limited basis.
5) (15/03/20) If I leave now, can I return to collect my belongings from my room later?
In principle yes, but this depends on any travel restrictions imposed by the government.
6) (15/03/20) Will I be charged for rooms I have previously agreed to pay for?
If you leave College accommodation, you will not be charged.
7) (15/03/20) I have previously arranged to stay in College accommodation, but you have changed your policy. What should I do now?
Yes, the policy has changed because government policy has changed and is likely to become more restrictive. Also, it is now clear that the University may cease its normal operations.
As noted above, you now need new permission to stay. Contact your Tutor.
How will the Accommodation Office know who has permission to stay?
The information with be passed on to the Accommodation Office.
8) (15/03/20) What should I do if I am self-isolating in College accommodation?
You must email your Tutor to let us know. We aim to provide a central email point for this shortly, so this contact may change and you will be told. Please check
9) (15/03/20) I am due to have exams in April, and then May and I would rather stay in Cambridge
You have already been provided with information by the Senior Tutor. Comprehensive contingency plans exist for examinations, but they will vary from Faculty to Faculty and Department. This is sensible given the different examination requirements.
Your Faculty and Department will inform you of the details
It is likely that most examinations will not take place in Cambridge in the short term.
Arrangements will be made for students who cannot return for whatever reason.
The University is completely committed to ensuring that no person is disadvantaged in any way by the current situation. You need not worry about this. We understand that you will want details as soon as possible.
Continue to prepare as normal for your examinations and take your work with you when you leave.
10) (15/03/20) I’m a graduate student and I live in College accommodation, should I still leave?
We encourage all students to leave. We are already witnessing flights being cancelled to a number of destinations. If you have exceptional reasons to stay, you should contact your tutor.
We recognise that it will not be possible for all graduate students to leave. Talk to your tutor.
11) (15/03/20) I am a Ph.D or Masters student with a need to access labs etc.
Ph.D students and others who are running experiments or similar that require you to be in Cambridge will need to talk to their Departments and Supervisors about contingency plans. Staying in Cambridge in College accommodation while these matters are being resolved will be possible, with your Tutor’s permission. Once again, however, you should understand that the College’s ability to provide support for you will be limited.
12) (15/03/20) Should I talk to my Ph.D supervisor?
Of course. They may well be able to provide you with information and they may be able to give details of your Faculty and Department’s plans.
13) (15/03/20) Will the decision to leave affect my residence requirements?
The university has emailed to say that ‘While the formalities will follow early next week, Professor Virgo [PVC for Education] has said that students can be reassured about this now: ‘no student should be deterred from leaving because of concerns about residency requirements.’
14) (15/03/20) What effect will leaving have on my visa?
15) (15/03/20) All of this is costing me a lot of money, how will the College help?
If students are suffering from financial hardship as a result of travel and other arrangements made, please approach your tutor and ask for support.
There is a special University hardship fund, the details of which are here.
16) (15/03/20) Will mental health services be available to me even when I am out of residence?
The College’s welfare team will be available. We hope to be able to offer email or Skype advice and consultation.
17) (15/03/20) Several EU countries have closed their borders to non-nationals (eg Poland, Slovakia, Denmark, Cyprus, Czech Republic). I come from one of those countries. Should I still return home?
18) (15/03/20) My home country is imposing quarantine requirements for all returning persons. What should I do?
Individual circumstances will vary. Talk to your Tutor about this. We will not ask you to leave College accommodation if you have nowhere to go.
19) (15/03/20) My parents are severely ill and I am afraid of bringing the virus with me. Can I stay?
We encourage you to discuss this matter with your tutor.
20) (15/03/20) For those who remain in College accommodation, what facilities will be available?
Provided we have the staff, we will provide a catering service, the details of which will change as circumstances change. If staff numbers fall away, we will concentrate on providing key services only.
21) (15/03/20) I do not live in College accommodation. What should I do?
When the University moves to “red”, normal operations will cease. There may be nothing for you to stay here for, and it is unlikely that formal examinations will occur in Cambridge in the short term.
You should also ask yourself how you will manage if you become ill or have to self-isolate, bearing in mind the College will only offer limited services on a responsive basis. For many, the sensible decision is to return home.
Your Tutor and the welfare team remain fully available to you to ask questions. Graduate students should also consult with their supervisors or equivalent.
22) (15/03/20) I have already spoken to my Tutor or Welfare team about staying in College accommodation.
You DO NOT need to contact them again