Univ during Michaelmas
Whilst we look forward to welcoming all of our students back for Michaelmas, we recognise that this will not be a “normal” term.
This page brings together our most recent updates detailing the provisions made for a safe term.
Information here may be updated from time to time during the coming months and we recommend that you check both here on the the College Intranet which hosts a full range of documentation and information relating to COVID-19 and the measures put in place by College.
We recognise that the new academic year will be unpredictable. None of us knows quite what to expect, and there are many things beyond the control of each of us as individuals, and beyond the control of the College and the University.
Freshers, you will not have the same experience of Welcome Week that you expected when you were first offered their place. Returning students, you will not have the same experience of College life as you had last year, before things changed very quickly in March. These are uncertain times. So it’s only natural and expected that many of us may be anxious or apprehensive about what will happen next.
The good news is that we’ve been working hard to make sure that we have plans and people in place to provide support for students as you live and study here this year.
Tutors are ready to teach, and the staff in the Domestic Bursary are ready to support students in their accommodation. We have increased the number of dining areas, and the times when meals are served, so that you can eat in a socially-distanced way. Many activities will be online, but we have erected marquees in the quads so that there is covered outdoor space where you can meet other people. A series of quick reference guides will help you to focus on the key things that you need to know and to do so that together we maintain a COVID-secure environment for everyone who lives and works at Univ.
Members of the Welfare team are all on hand, and available to meet students face-to-face or online, should anyone have particular concerns or questions that they’d like to address. Our contact details are here, and much more detailed information about welfare support is available on the intranet(SSO required).
We look forward to welcoming new students to Univ, and we look forward to welcoming back those who are continuing their degrees. We hope that everyone who comes here in 2020 will flourish, and we’re taking active steps to support the best student experience that we reasonably can.
Andrew Gregory, Chaplain and Welfare Fellow
COVID-19 Student Responsibility Agreement
We are looking forward to the start of term, and to welcoming new and returning students. To prepare for this, we have been making plans to minimise health risks to students and to staff both at Univ and elsewhere in Oxford.
All of us need to take responsibility for own health and that of others, so the University has produced a Student Responsibility Agreement that all students are required to sign. It affirms our shared values, and reminds us what we as individuals can do to support the safety and wellbeing of the wider community to which we belong.
We know that our students are committed to social responsibility and value the principle of inclusion. We know too that, for these reasons, our students would wish to reduce risks for other people, both in Univ and elsewhere. The agreement provides an opportunity for all students to affirm their commitment to protecting the health of everyone with whom they may come into contact.
The agreement clearly communicates what is expected from every member of the University and, in return, what support you can expect from the University and from Univ. We understand that the new academic year will be a challenging time, and that everyone will be adjusting to new ways of living and working in College. The agreement is intended to support this adjustment so that we all understand what we need to do differently to look after ourselves and each other.
You can read the agreement here.
You can find out more about the all of the measures adopted by the University to keep our students and staff well at on the University’s website.
Accommodation & Catering
As staff come back to College to prepare for the return of our students, it is clear that none of us quite knows what to expect in the next term or throughout the next academic year. There is plenty we cannot control, but it is possible to put in place arrangements which will make this situation as bearable and as positive as we reasonably can.
We have more freshers coming to College this year than in previous years, at a time when we need, as far as we are able, to introduce a degree of physical separation of people to ensure we remain COVID-secure. That is a headache for us all. For good reasons of social distancing we have placed all students into households. They will be able to socialise freely in those households and we hope have some degree of normality. However, they will not be able to visit other households, or have members of other households visit them.
This means that, if there is not a kitchen allocated to your household, you will not be able to visit any other kitchen. To compensate for this, the College has placed a personal fridge, microwave and kettle into each room in each household without a kitchen. We recognize that for some this will not be ideal. However, the Buttery will be open, where we cater for all dietary requirements, and provide subsidized meals for students. Should any student find themselves in hardship as a result of not being able to fully cater for themselves, the College student support system can assist.
The Buttery will be open for extended hours over lunch and dinner. This will ensure that we are able to feed everyone who wishes to attend, and that we will have room for them to eat socially distanced in the Hall and surrounding communal rooms. Extra space has been afforded by the use of marquees on the Fellows’ lawn; these will be a semi-permanent feature throughout Michaelmas and possibly beyond.
The student bar will be open on its designated evenings; however, the bar itself, being subterranean, will be available only to purchase drinks. The consumption of drinks will be again socially distanced, in groups of no more than six unless the household is socializing together; if the size of the household is over six, the whole household can socialize together.
We have paid particular attention to the cleaning schedules and regimes in College to ensure that we are able to remain COVID Secure. The College will be cleaned more often and with anti-viral chemicals which endure beyond their time of application. We also call on our whole community to “do a bit” in terms of personal and communal hygiene and cleaning. You will find notices in all communal spaces, kitchens, showers and lavatories which give advice on the cleaning that we ask each member of our community to undertake once they have used the facilities. We ask for your commitment to keeping our facilities COVID secure. Given the enhanced cleaning task in all communal areas and as a result of our commitment to staff safety, the Scouts will not be cleaning in individual student rooms in Michaelmas Term. If the term and/or the academic year progresses positively and the virus declines we will review all decisions, but they will all be reviewed with the safety of our whole community firmly in mind.
Music & Choir
As the College looks forward to welcoming students back, music-making is being planned. The Choir will be singing services safely distanced from each other and broadcast every Sunday of term thanks to a new sound system which is about to be installed in the Chapel. This also means that we will have the capability to stream live concerts, including Martlet Voices later in the term. A new Community Choir is being started; more about this to follow. UCMS is also finding ways to encourage student music, with Open Mic nights in the marquee in the Fellow’s Garden, and online concerts, both live and recorded.
This term, the Chapel Choir will be singing two services a week. One will be the usual evensong, broadcast on the Univ website, as live, every Sunday at 5.45pm. In order to comply with social distancing rules, this service will not be open to the public. However, all are welcome to attend the service of Compline, which will take place on Wednesday evenings at 9pm. Only half the choir will sing, which allows for a congregation to be safely seated in the Chapel, and we look forward to seeing you in person.
Find out more about Music and the Choir at Univ here.
The Library team has been working hard to operate a library service that keeps everyone safe while continuing to support the academic life of the College.
The New Library in 10 Merton Street is open Monday to Friday, 10am-10pm. Social distancing means that numbers will be limited, and desks are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. There are also three study rooms available in 10 Merton Street. These can be booked for individual or group study by completing the form available on the intranet. Numbers are also limited to one, or two, or six (if everyone is from the same household).
The Old Library’s upper floor (the Poynton Reading Room) is open Monday to Friday, 9am-12noon and 2pm-5pm. Social distancing means that numbers will be limited, and desks are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
Browse-and-borrow is available in both libraries during opening hours. You can find books on the shelves and issue them to yourself at the self-issue terminals located in both libraries. Click-and-collect continues to operate for the following: Mathematics & Computation, Physics & Engineering, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Philosophy, Psychology, and Modern Languages. If you require books from the shelves for the above subjects please email the Library team.
The Library team will be available during office hours (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) to help with any queries relating to reading lists, online resources or other research. We have re-allocated a portion of our book budget so that we will be able to purchase more electronic books during the coming term.
Find our more about the Univ Libraries here.
For comprehensive documentation and information relating to COVID-19 and the measures put in place by College, please see our Intranet.
Published: 26 September 2020