Cambridge students asked to delay return to university under new government guidance

The majority of students are now expected to return to university after the 25th January

An email from Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope today has asked students not to return to Cambridge until the 25th January.

This follows updated guidance from the Department of Education that the majority of undergraduate and taught postgraduate students should not return before the 25th January.

Stephen Toope acknowledges that “this change is potentially both disruptive and difficult for students, but the government is clear that all parts of our society will have to adjust to the fast-changing circumstances of the pandemic.”

The university and colleges are expected to remain open, and it has been confirmed that teaching will be delivered online until then.

A number of students will be permitted to return earlier. This includes students on placement-based courses, such as  Medical, Veterinary and PGCE students. Other reasons for returning earlier include “students without access to appropriate study spaces or facilities” as well as “students who need to be in Cambridge for specific reasons, including health-related reasons.” Students in the latter category are being asked to “contact their colleges directly after the holiday break.”

The email advises that “students who are already in Cambridge should remain in Cambridge. Some college and university facilities and support will be available.”

Postgraduate research students are also being permitted to return to Cambridge, although the university “strongly encourages[s] this group of students not to do so before the week of 11 January, when asymptomatic testing will restart.”

International students are being asked to “change their return travel plans” if possible, but “if this is not possible, for reasons including the cost of rearranging travel, students should notify their colleges and return to Cambridge as planned.”

When students do return to university, they will receive Covid-19 tests, as laid out by government plans. As fore-mentioned, individual tests will be available from the 11th January, whilst the pooled asymptomatic testing system will resume on the 18th January. 

Feature Image credits: Ella Fogg 

The University has been approached for comment.