Colleges have altered their policies on vacation residence in response to cases of Covid-19 at the University.
Christ Church and Hertford have both informed UK-based undergraduates that they should vacate their accomodation at the end of eighth week, including those who had expected to stay. Magdalen has informed all undergraduates to return home. Merton have informed undergraduates to return home, and are asking all students to clear their rooms of their belongings.
An email from Christ Church’s administration says that this move is an attempt to “ensure that our students and staff remain as healthy as possible while protecting academic need”.
The email added that “the view of the Dean and Censors is that a break from college is emphatically not detrimental to examination performance.”
Some colleges are allowing vacation residence, but are not providing complete funding, including St Hugh’s.
By contrast, New College has agreed to provide free vacation residence.
Merton has asked all undergraduates to vacate college. Exceptions include “those from Category 1 countries and those sitting examinations in Oxford during 9th week”. Merton are asking students to leave by noon on Tuesday. They are also requiring students “to clear your room and take your belongings home”.
Hertford stated in an email to their undergraduates that UK based students would be “required to return home at the end of 8th week”. Exceptions will be made for some students, including those with “exams or submission deadlines in 9th or 10th week”, Students “engaged in approved course lab work” and students with an “exceptional welfare need”. Any students with other circumstances could contact the Accommodation Office. Hertford will allow students to leave belongings in their room, and have allowed students an extra day to move out.
Christ Church “strongly recommend that all UK undergraduates return home at the end of 8th week”. Exceptions will be made for some student students, including those with “8th and 9th week exams”, those with extended terms who are requested to “not remain in residence outside these dates”, and those who “have identified themselves to the Academic Office”. Those with other circumstances could contact the college.
St Hugh’s stated in an email that they were “unfortunately not in a financial position to provide [free vacation residence] for free to all students impacted [by Covid-19], but we have been advising students who might be in need of financial support to go through the usual processes that are available.”
Magdalen College stated in an email to students that: “Unless you have University examinations or required course submissions next week, are unable to travel overseas, or have an urgent need to stay in College, we strongly advise those of you who have previously been granted permission to reside in College accommodation over the Easter Vacation to return home this weekend”.
New College’s JCR President announced in a JCR meeting earlier this term that the college will provide “for people who may have had to travel home in vac [to] get free vac res to stay in college”, according to the JCR minutes.
Cherwell have contacted the colleges for comment. We will update this story as we get more information.
This article was updated at 11:37 on Friday 13 of March to contain information about Merton’s policies.