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Cor​onavirus: Information for Students, Staff, and Fellows

Last updated 24 March 2021

The College continues to aim to provide the best educational environment it can, while looking after the health of all its communities. Following the recent government and higher education (HE) guidance, and the message from the Senior Tutor and the University’s updates at the end of February, exceptional arrangements have been put in place for the remainder of Hilary Term, the Easter vacation, and Trinity Term. The government has not announced a plan for the general return of students to University, and further information is expected sometime after 5 April. For most students, in-person taught courses have not resumed, and may not resume, therefore you are expected to remain where you are and not travel to your term-time address.  You will continue to be taught online. Further information will be provided to you based on that announcement.

On 1 March, a detailed email was sent to all students including information about the Easter vacation.  The message outlined the categories of students the University has defined as on a ‘practical’ or ‘practice-based’ course which may be permitted to return after Easter. It is hoped these exempted categories of students will then be able return in two phases: in time to resume teaching on Monday 12 April; and others in time to resume teaching on Monday 26 April.  Please contact the db.office@queens.ox.ac.uk if you did not receive the email.

Updated Easter travel advice for students

Please note that the National lockdown: Stay at Home guidance remains in place; however, UK Government guidance has now been updated to include a new exemption for student travel during the vacation.

The Government continues to advise students to remain in their term-time accommodation where possible. However, students are permitted to travel back and forth once between their university accommodation and their home address. Whether or not to travel in the UK is a decision for students to take based on their individual circumstances.  Please note that students can move on one occasion from their student household on or after 8 March 2021 but before 29 April 2021 to one other household for the purposes of a vacation, and are then (still) allowed to move “back” to university once.

Please be aware that the Christmas dispensation that allowed people to travel home to self-isolate if they tested positive for Covid-19 DOES NOT apply to the Easter travel window. If you, or a member of the household in which you live, tests positive, you will need to stay and self-isolate for 10 days.

The guidance also allows international students to travel and return home once over Easter. However, the Government continues to advise against travel to countries outside the UK, and given the complexities involved, international students are advised not to travel home for the vacation.

Higher education providers have been asked to provide asymptomatic testing for students before they leave for the vacation, and to encourage students to take part in community testing before you return. On return you will be issued with two LFDs to use for days one and four and you should limit contacts during that time.

Students in the exempted categories intending to return to College should be aware that College life remains quite austere, and we continue to ensure that most staff work from home to protect the NHS; the lockdown permits little social interaction, the household rules in College accommodation remain in force, and the possibility of periods of self-isolation or household isolations due to Covid-19 illness, continues.  A guide to living in student households under the lockdown restrictions can be found here.

The central College site will remain open providing such essential services as it can at any given time for students who must be in residence, depending on staff availability and prevailing risk conditions. The Lodge is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be contacted on lodge@queens.ox.ac.uk. Further information is available here about the status of onsite operations and there is also information about student meals here.

Welfare provision

The Junior Deans are on duty between 0-9th week. The Welfare Officer and Chaplain have limited availability during the vacation and, while they can still be contacted, they cannot guarantee an immediate reply. The Student Wellbeing and Support Service has put together a useful guide for support that is available during the vacation

Finally

We understand how difficult this time has been for so many of you. Over the Easter break we hope you will take a pause from your study and find some time for other pursuits. Although things are a long way from normal, we hope the positive effects of longer days and spring sunshine, and the encouraging trends on the pandemic front, will begin to lift all our hearts. We wish you well and are pleased to try to help you if we can so do not hesitate to contact us if your questions are not answered here or in the email you received.

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Please note the process to follow if you experience symptoms of the virus:

Further information is available on our page of Frequently Asked Questions for students with symptoms of COVID-19 as well as information about self-isolation and support available for students.

Keep inf​​ormed​

We encourage everyone to continue to check the University's Coronavirus webpages regularly to keep informed of the latest local advice. The webpages include detailed information for students and staff, including frequently asked questions.

You may also find the following sites useful:

Mental health

Any member of our community might find the Mind website helpful when coping in these difficult times. The Junior Deans are on duty between 0-9th week. The Welfare Officer and Chaplain have limited availability during the vacation and, while they can still be contacted, they cannot guarantee an immediate reply. The Student Wellbeing and Support Service has put together a useful guide for support that is available during the vacation.

The Queen’s College Library

The Library is open for Queen’s students who have been given permission to return to the University. However, the Library is not operating as normal and reflects the national lockdown that is in place. Please check the Library webpage for the latest information and contact library@queens.ox.ac.uk if you have any questions. Please stay at home unless your visit to the Library is absolutely essential.

We are offering click and collect and scanning services but our aim is to maintain a zero contact/ remote service provision as far as possible. Please make full use of online resources.

For details of arrangements in relation to the Archive, please contact michael.riordan@queens.ox.ac.uk.

  • For staff

    You can download further information for academic staff about COVID and also information for non-academic staff about COVID.

    Working from home

    Please make use of Microsoft Teams as much as possible (including for virtual coffee breaks!). The LinkedIn Learning courses provide useful introductions to a range of things, including a one-hour introduction to remote working, and the University has a site licence for everyone. David Olds has compiled a set of resources on the Queen's IT Office Blog that may help you adjust to remote working. (There is also a useful page of resources compiled by Oxford IT Services.)

    The University has created resources on the HR website to support those working from home.

    On a practical note, please use an out-of-office auto-reply message to let people know when you are / aren’t available if you’re following a different routine from usual.

    Temporary sick pay arrangements for staff

    Until further notice the following arrangements will apply in the event that you have symptoms of coronavirus:

    • If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should contact your line manager, who will discuss with you whether and how you can work from home.
    • If you have to self-isolate you will be expected to carry on working from home if possible, so long as your symptoms are mild enough that you would ordinarily continue to come in to work.
    • If you have to self-isolate but are unable to work from home, you will be granted special paid leave at the normal rate of pay for that period.
    • If you are too unwell to work during the period of self-isolation, you should contact your line manager from home to let them know.
    • You will not be required to use annual leave to cover a period of self-isolation, and this will not be included in your sickness record. If you are unwell beyond the period of self-isolation required by Public Health England advice, then the resulting absence should be treated as sickness absence, and the College’s normal sick leave policy will apply.
    • In the event that you do not have coronavirus symptoms but a member of your household does, and/or if you are contacted by Test & Trace and told to self-isolate, and you cannot work from home, you will be granted special paid leave at the normal rate of pay for that 10-day period.