Update on end of term arrangements for students

Christmas Travel Tests

Colleges are now arranging Christmas Travel Tests ahead of the Student Travel Window from 3-9 December. Students are being asked to take two tests in their college, three days apart before they leave Oxford.
It has been confirmed that students taking the tests will be asked to book via the Testing for COVID-19 Early Alert Service. This will ensure that results can be efficiently reported to Public Health England. Students have been advised not to book their tests until notified by their colleges. Full details about the testing can be found at www.ox.ac.uk/christmas-testing.

Travel arrangements

The UK Government has confirmed that:

  • Administration fees will be suspended for students making changes to their bookings if they are travelling by rail during the ‘student travel window’ from 3-9 December.

  • If students are carrying out a placement considered essential to the COVID-19 response (for healthcare placements and initial teaching training), they may choose to remain in placement beyond 9 December.  However, if they contract COVID-19 or are identified as a contact of someone who has, they will be at risk of having to self-isolate for up to 14 days and may be unable to travel home by Christmas Day.

Further information, as well as advice from local public transport providers, has now been published in the travel arrangements section of the Christmas vacation page of the COVID-19 response site and will be communicated to students via Monday’s Student News.

Support for students during the Christmas vacation

Wellbeing support
The Mental Health Task Force has been meeting this term to plan for increased demand on welfare services in the collegiate university and agree strategies for mitigating the impact of the pandemic on student mental health throughout the year. It has produced a range of documents for colleagues supporting students, which are now available on the welfare coronavirus page on the Academic Support website.

A summary of the Christmas vacation mental health provision for students (from the University, NHS and charities) has also been produced and is also available on the Christmas vacation. These documents have been developed as the result of a collaborative effort between colleagues in the University, colleges and the NHS. If you have any comments or suggestions about them, please direct them to Gillian Hamnett, Director of Student Welfare and Support Services.

Wider support and activities
In addition to welfare provision, the Student Experience Group has also developed a summary of the wider services and activities available to students during the Christmas vacation. This includes an overview of University services such as the Careers Service and Language Centre; gardens, libraries and museums, sports, and faith provision.

The information for students has now been published on the Christmas vacation page on the University coronavirus website, and has been promoted via Monday’s student news. It will be added to over time. If you would like to suggest additions to the page, please contact the AAD Communications team.

New local restrictions from Wednesday 2 December 

From 2 December, Oxfordshire will move to the ‘high’ or Tier 2 COVID alert level. The UK Government website provides the latest advice on restrictions.  The University and colleges are now considering the implications of the change. Students have been advised via today’s Student News that in line with Government guidance, there is likely to be minimal impact on teaching and research at the University, and that further updates will be made available as soon as possible on the local restrictions page on the University coronavirus site.