Oxford University plans for the safe return of students for the new term

Oxford University is planning for the safe return of students for the spring term.

In line with Government guidance, most teaching will take place in-person at the University with a range measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Safety measures including students getting tested for COVID-19 before and after returning to Oxford, the increased use of face coverings, and regular testing throughout the term.

Staff who are able to work from home are expected to continue doing so where possible. However, some staff will be expected to work on-site to support in-person teaching, research and wider University operations.

All staff and students have been asked to wear face coverings when moving around University buildings, and face coverings are now mandated in University teaching and assessment settings, as well as in libraries and departmental study spaces.

Students are being strongly encouraged to take an LFD test before returning to Oxford, on the day they arrive, and again three days later.  The University will continue to encourage all staff and students to take part in regular testing throughout the term, and its Early Alert Service PCR testing facility remains open.

Professor Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) at Oxford University, said: “We are pleased to be able to welcome students back to Oxford, for the safe resumption of their courses. Our additional health measures will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We continue to monitor the situation carefully and will respond as appropriate to local and national and guidance, as well as advice from our own clinical academics.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “With COVID rates locally and nationally at very high levels this is a worrying time for students and residents alike in Oxford. We’re pleased that the University of Oxford continues to take significant steps to reduce the risks for everyone in the city with their rigorous approach to testing and a very strong uptake of the vaccine among students. The fact that all students are testing before returning to Oxford is particularly welcome. We’ll continue to work closely with the University as well as our local NHS and social care partners to do everything we can to keep people safe.”

Ansaf Azhar, Director of Public Health at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We know that Oxford University has established procedures and practices for dealing with the safe return of students and that the students themselves are in good habits and routines in terms of testing. We have every confidence in the preparations that have been done and as ever we will work with the University in any way we can in the coming days and weeks.”

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