Coronavirus: General FAQs

Please refer to the University website for up-to-date information and for Government links relating to health, travel, visa and immigration matters, and staff working arrangements. These pages also contain important University statements on arrangements for teaching and learning, assessment, and research in Easter Term 2020.


Updated 5 May 2020

Academic matters

What is happening about graduations?

All in-person congregations are cancelled up to and including July 2020. Further arrangements are being developed. Please see our Graduation page for updates.

Will the decision to leave affect my residence requirements ?

Refer to the Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor's message on teaching arrangements dated 16 March 2020.

What library resources and services can I access when not in Cambridge?

There are many resources available to you wherever you are in the world. You can also contact the College librarians if you have any questions. Please see the library webpage 'Using the library at a distance' and information about remote access to University, Faculty and Department Libraries. Our librarians are ready to help if you need them.

What about teaching and assessment?


There will be no face-to-face teaching in Easter term. Please see the University’s pages for the most up to date information on teaching. The statement made by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Graham Virgo on 31 March 2020 contains important information about exams.


If you are part of a taught programme, all teaching and assessment has moved online for the Easter term. The statement from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor also covers arrangents for postgraduate students.You should also have received detailed communications from your Faculty or Department for assessments for taught postgraduate courses.

If you are studying for a research-based postgraduate degree, please read through all this information. Your first contact for individual queries should be your supervisor or programme director.

What if I can't take my assessments at the designated time?

There are procedures in place that take into account those who cannot study due to illness, caring responsibilities or technical difficulties. These are outlined in the Pro-Vice-Chancellor's statement.

What about fees?

See the University FAQs on fees. The University, in common with other institutions throughout the world, is working hard to respond to the global pandemic by continuing its work remotely, as far as is possible. Teaching and assessment are being this term in alternative formats, library resources are available online, and College support services (including pastoral and welfare support) continue to be available, and accordingly tuition fees will be due. This position is in line with that of the Department for Education and with Universities UK, which has stated that "where there is wide-ranging support for active and ongoing learning and progression, students should not expect any fee refund from  their university". 

Students in College accommodation

Do I need to leave College?

The current Government advice states that students still resident in University accommodation should stay where they are. Please email us if any of the following information changes:

  • your plans to remain in Cambridge
  • your address
  • your previously reported status about any vulnerability to more serious COVID-related illness
  • your status in terms of self-or household isolation, and the names of 2 nominated self-isolation supporters.

What about my belongings?

On 21 May 2020, the government has today released guidelines that make it possible for Students in England to return to their accommodation to collect their belongings. 

To comply with social distancing guidelines and protect the safety of our onsite students and staff, we are designing a set of protocols to enable offsite students to collect their belongings in a safe and structured way via a pre-booked process.  You will receive an email with further details in the next week or so from the Accommodation Manager to explain how to book a date and time.  

Please ensure that you only come if you have a confirmed pre-booked slot as we would not want you to have a wasted journey.

When you arrive please be sensitive to those students currently operating within strict ‘household’ government guidelines and follow the advised protocols issued.

To allow us to prepare sufficient time slots, please could all students currently based in England that have belongings to collect, contact Jo Fisher, the Accommodation Manager with the following information:

·         Name

·         Room Number

·         Belongings to collect from 1) Storage Room 2) Bedroom 3) Both 

Note that this currently only applies to students still in England. Guidance for all other students will follow soon.

Will I have to continue paying rent on my room?

The College will not charge rent for anyone who has left College due to the Coronavirus. We have issued a Policy that explains how charges and refunds will work.

Will the College be reducing my rent because the Housekeepers are not cleaning accommodation at the moment?

We do not intend to reduce rents as a result of the impact of  COVID-19. 

As the University prepared to close for the Easter term, the College made it very clear that we would not be able to offer full provision for any students who remained in residence. This included cleaning inside accommodation blocks by the Housekeeping staff. The point was reiterated at an Open Meeting on 17 March by the Senior Tutor and in several emails to all students.

This temporary measure was taken to keep students and staff safe. To assist students, free cleaning materials have been provided for the last two months. As the Government has begun to lift some restrictions, we are hoping to resume cleaning kitchens shortly. We will do this as soon as we are certain it is safe for the Housekeeping staff and students.

We are grateful to students who, by taking on responsibility for cleaning their own facilities during this period, have greatly assisted the College to cope in these difficult circumstances. 

When can I return to College?

Only when it is safe to do so. The College is closed to all except its current residents and the staff to support them. This is a measure implented to help keep those unable to leave as safe as possible in line with current Government guidelines and sadly includes students living off site in Cambridge.

Can I have the same room when I return?

Should the College re-open whilst you are still within the dates of your licence (only likely for students on a 12-month licence), you can return to your licenced room. Next year's allocations are delayed, but the College will do its best to ensure that students, if they wish and are eligible, may renew their licence for the same room next year.

Will you use my room while I'm away?

Possibly. The situation is extrely uncertain and there may be public health or security issues that require the College to change the current allocation of its rooms. If this happens, we will notify you of our intention to store your belongings as carefully as possible. If you have not given us permission to pack and/or store your belongings and are continuing to pay rent for the period we will make all reasonable efforts to respect your wishes, but cannot guarantee that we may not have to use your room in the case of an emergency.

Why do I need to return my keys?

The return of keys is the only way the College knows that a student is on or off site. We recommend you hand your keys in for safe-keeping any time you leave College.This is important in a fire or other emergency. Handing in your keys does not terminate your licence, only an e-mail will do this.

Students in private accommodation

If you are in private accommodation in Cambridge you are not required to give up your room and break your contract although you may wish to do so, especially if you expect to complete your courses this year (final-year undergraduates and Master's students).

If you wish to remain in private accommodation in Cambridge you should do the following:

Ensure all your CAMSIS contact details are correct — current address, phone and emergency contact info.

You are still a part of our community. Keep the College updated on changes to your situation.This is particularly important if you think you are medically vulnerable.

If you are leaving private accommodation and your landlord/rental agency is insisting that you continue to pay rent or penalty fees, even though you are leaving because of a public health emergency.

Read your contract carefully and be sure you understand its terms. Contact your Tutor to discuss potential remedies. There is no information yet about any Government or University assistance for students in this situation, but it is important for you to report these incidents now, so that we have a record in case it proves helpful in future.

Prepare to be in your flats/ homes for an indefinite period of time (12 weeks likely) without the possibility of leaving except to purchase food or go for walks in which you are at least 2 meters away from anyone else.

Check government and University guidance daily to ensure you are up-to-date on any changes.

Please inform your Tutor if you need to self-isolate/household-isolate or are in any other difficulties. We will be developing some virtual wellness and support programmes.

Should I let the College know that I am remaining in Cambridge?

Yes. You were previously asked to complete a census. Please email us if any of the following information changes:

  • your plans to remain in Cambridge
  • your address
  • your previously reported status about any vulnerability to more serious COVID-related illness your status in terms of self- or household-isolation
  • the names of 2 nominated self-isolation supporters

If you have a disability or health condition that makes you more vulnerable and you have not have not yet disclosed it, please discuss your circumstances with your Tutor and inform the Tutorial Manager.

International students

What effect will leaving have on my visa?

The University’s FAQs and the Government are aware of the concerns of international students. If you need further information the International Student Office may also be able to help.

Living in College

 We ask that anyone in College reads, and complies with, our Community Charter. It is designed to keep you all as safe as possible at this difficult time.

For those still in residence what facilities are available?

In line with recommendations, most College facilities have closed. 

 What if I become ill?

You will need to self isolate, and mbers of your household will also have to enter household isolation. For what this means in practical terms please read this page on self isolation.