Students are expected to return for Hilary term despite Oxford being moved into tier 4, the University has announced.

Following the government’s announcement, an update on the University’s website said: “We are looking forward to welcoming students back to Oxford in Hilary term. We want to help make the most of your Oxford experience, within the constraints of the pandemic.

“We are committed to providing a good mix of in-person teaching and online support – building on our experiences in Michaelmas term.

“Under Tier 4, universities and workplaces will remain open. We therefore expect teaching and research to continue at the University in the New Year, and for students to return for Hilary term broadly in line with the arrangements communicated at the end of Michaelmas term.

“The move to Tier 4 may impact some services provided by the University and colleges. We continue to monitor the local and national situation, and will consider the detailed implications of the change in alert level. Further information will be provided as soon as possible”.

The statement comes following the news that Oxford will be placed under tier 4 from Boxing Day. This means that all non-essential retail must close, and individuals are only permitted to meet one other person from outside their household at a time, in an outdoor public space. The measures have been brought in after two new mutations of coronavirus have been identified, which increase the infectiousness of the disease. 

The University confirmed earlier in the month that teaching would start in two separate waves, with most practical courses beginning at their advertised start date, and most other subjects beginning in-person teaching from Monday 25th January. Any content before this date will be delivered in an online format. Colleges have subsequently confirmed their individual arrangements for students’ return in Hilary Term, which can be found here.

Oxford’s university-wide guidance encourages UK students to arrive at least four days before the start of their in-person teaching, in order to allow individuals to take two lateral flow tests. Until students have received two negative results they are not permitted to take part in face to face teaching or sport. 

The university is also recommending that a third test be taken ten days after arrival in Oxford, in order to identify anyone who has been infected after arriving at the university. Meanwhile, international students have been told to try and arrive in time to fulfill any quarantine requirements before the start of face to face teaching for their course.

Residency requirements will remain in place for Hilary Term apart from where a specific exemption is in place, in order to ensure that students can “take full advantage of Oxford life”. However, individuals concerned about returning to Oxford can make an application to the Proctors requesting that be given dispensation to study remotely.

Image: Sara Price / Pixabay.


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