The government communicated additional guidance to all universities on 30 December, regarding the arrangements for teaching and residence in the coming term.

The University sent messages to taught students and postgraduate research students at 2.00 pm today. These emails confirm the high-level arrangements for students’ return, and ask them not to return to Oxford unless they meet the specific criteria outlined. It also highlights the importance of testing and following health guidance on their return.

In broad terms the measures announced by the government seek to limit the return of students to universities in early January. In particular, they are concerned to limit the public-health dangers which it is feared might result from the large-scale movement of students across different regions of the country. There are however a number of exemptions in terms of students on certain courses who have a particular need to be in residence, and students who for welfare and other reasons need to be in residence.

At present, the consequences of these measures within the University are being considered, and College is advised that the University hopes to make more detailed announcements by Wednesday 6 January. The overriding guidance to all students must therefore be to await the announcement of these more detailed regulations, which necessarily will need to cover a very wide range of courses and student circumstances. Please note however that the existing guidance does already lay out exemptions for international students, students in residence, and students with particular needs.

It is important also to emphasise that the University remains open, and that teaching and assessment will continue throughout this period. As always, the College stands ready to support its members in their work and their broader welfare.