National Lockdown: What this means for students

Following the government’s recent announcement of another lockdown, you will have received a bulletin from the University confirming their plans for Lent Term to be conducted remotely. Details of these arrangements may be reviewed to keep track with the fast-changing situation and account for student feedback, but for now the key points are:

 

  • Students on courses with placements (Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and PGCE) will return to continue face-to-face teaching, as directed by their Colleges and Faculties.

  • International students who have already arrived in the UK or are unable to rearrange existing travel plans, including for financial reasons, will be permitted to return.

  • Colleges will permit students to return on a case-by-case basis. If you have nowhere else to stay, you do not think your home is a safe environment for you, you do not have access to sufficient study spaces and facilities at home, or feel that you need to be in Cambridge for any other reason (including mental health), you should contact your Tutor as soon as possible (see below for resources if you feel your College are not considering your case fairly). 

  • Students who are already in Cambridge should stay here, though you should contact your Tutor if you wish to leave.

  • Unlike the first national lockdown, labs will not be closed - research students should be able to continue research that cannot be done remotely. You should receive further guidance on access to University facilities from your Faculty and College.

  • Libraries will initially return to no-contact service, as during the first lockdown.

  • Testing for students on return will be available from January 11th, and anyone returning before this date should self-isolate for 10 days.

  • Colleges have agreed to not charge rent for students who do not return to College accommodation for the duration of the lockdown. You can only be charged rent if you are living in College accommodation during the lockdown. 

 

We share your anger over the government’s callous disregard for students’ wellbeing, which has caused massive disruption to your academic and personal lives, and understand that the recent announcements will leave many of your concerns unaddressed. Your wellbeing is and will remain our top priority. We are in regular contact with senior decision-makers from across the Collegiate University and have been doing our best to make student voices heard. In the immediate term, please get in contact with us if:

 

  • You have concerns about your College’s approach to accommodation, including unfair rent charges, personal property storage arrangements, etc.

  • You are having difficulties with, or feel that your College is taking a particularly strict approach to, applications to return to Cambridge for Lent

  • You have any other questions or concerns you would like us to raise with University and College management.

 

Moving forward, we will continue to push for the University and Colleges to commit to a joined-up approach which recognises the urgency of the situation and the magnitude of the disruption to students’ lives. These are not normal times, and students cannot be expected to continue as if they were. Our key priorities are:

 

  • Consistency and clarity from the University, the Colleges, and the Faculties about their plans for Lent Term and beyond.

  • Adjustments to student workloads and exam arrangements that take into account the exceptional circumstances of this academic year. 

  • Increased financial hardship and mental health support for students.

 

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of our discussions and on any key policy changes and decisions, and maintain close contact with student reps and student groups to ensure your concerns are being considered seriously by key University decision-making groups. 

 

If you have any further concerns or questions, please speak to your College Tutor or get in touch with any of the Sabbatical Officers. The Student Advice Service can also advise you on any difficulties you’re experiencing with your College or Faculty, and they can be reached at advice@cambridgesu.co.uk. Further information about hardship support for students whose finances have been affected by COVID-19 can be found here


Students looking for support may also want to join our SU Care Tips group on Facebook. The pinned post in this group has a full list of support for students both in and outside of Cambridge. We also have a group for students staying in Cambridge over the winter vacation and beyond.