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Breaking: Students told they are required to remain in university residence over lockdown

The announcement was made this morning in an email from the Vice-Chancellor

An email was sent out to all students at Cambridge University earlier today from Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope explaining that students need to stay at their term-time addresses until the end of the lockdown period, and that “consequently, all students are required to remain in residence for the remainder of the term.”

This follows the guidance from the government this weekend that during this second lockdown period universities “have been asked to stay open”, and the email also says that further guidance on the continued running of universities over the next month is expected to come soon from the Department of Education.

He asks that all students read the attached letter from Michelle Donelan MP (the Minister of State for Universities) carefully, as it contains government advice, which he says is “particularly important that we heed”.

The letter says: “As for everyone under the new national restrictions from 5 November, you should stay in your current home. This means you should not leave your term time address to return to your parents’ or carer’s home until at least 2 December – and should continue to learn at university for the remainder of this term.

“The reason we are asking you to remain at your university area and not to travel home before the new restrictions come into place on Thursday is to prevent any further spread of COVID 19 – any movement around the country will risk the lives of your loved ones.”

In Toope’s email, however, it is said that exceptions will be granted to this: “You will only be given permission to pursue your studies remotely on health grounds. If you think this applies to you then you should contact your College.”

The letter goes on to assure students that the MP will be working with universities to ensure that “well-being, communications and mental health are prioritised.”

The email from Professor Toope asserts that the university’s “main priority is to protect the health of our staff and students”, and that they are hoping to continue in-person teaching, as long as staff and students feel comfortable doing so.