The University has announced that all students will be asked to sign a COVID-19 Student Responsibility Agreement at the start of the 2020/21 academic year. The agreement supplements students’ existing responsibilities under University and college student contracts.

Each student is expected to make eight commitments about their behaviour by signing the agreement. These include “abiding by all national public health regulations brought in to stop the spread of COVID-19,” as well as “the University and/or colleges’ specific guidance on health measures, together with local public health guidance as relevant.”

The agreement explicitly commits students to follow college/University guidelines on how to interact with and share communal spaces with members of their household. If they live in a private household, they commit to following the relevant Government/Public Health England guidance. Additionally, students are expected to request a test via the University’s testing service if they experience COVID-like symptoms and to notify their College and Department.

Students will be expected to participate fully in any contact tracing if they are requested to do so and will be held responsible for ensuring that their guests adhere to the same standards of behaviour in University, college, or other spaces.

The University’s website states: “The purpose of the Agreement is not to prescribe an additional code of discipline; it is to support community safety and well-being. It is an affirmation of shared values – community, consideration for others, patience and tolerance, and inclusion.”

Students are encouraged to speak to a relevant welfare contact or Departmental Administrator should they believe that someone’s conduct is “persistently and unreasonably creating serious risk.” Possible consequences that the University has committed to range from a discussion with individuals about their behaviour to disciplinary action.

However, students are reminded that circumstances will be different and “any response must be appropriate and proportionate.” Regarding the wearing of masks, the University’s website urges students to “remain mindful of possible valid reasons for not wearing a mask, and not challenge an individual about this, no matter how tactfully.”

The full agreement and FAQs can be found here.