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Most teaching to be in-person, but face coverings mandatory, University says

Charlie Hancock reports on the latest update from Oxford University ahead of the start of Hilary term.

Charlie Hancock
Charlie Hancock
Editor in Chief, Hilary 2022. Reading Human Sciences at Hertford College.

Oxford University has confirmed that they expect most teaching in Hilary term to take place in-person, according to an email sent to students on January 6th. 

However, due to record high rates of COVID-19 across the country, the University assessed that it is “important that we all keep on taking steps to limit the spread of the virus”. Among these steps is wearing face coverings, which will now be mandatory in all teaching and assessment settings for those who are not exempt.

The University also said that assessments are likely to go ahead in their planned format, which varies across departments.

Departments will put alternative arrangements in place for teaching if either staff or students are unable to attend in-person due to illness. However, some staff may choose to teach remotely “because they consider it the most educationally effective approach”.

Residency requirements will remain in place for Hilary term, unless students are “genuinely unable to be in Oxford”. The email tells students it is “important” for them to take a lateral flow test 24 hours before returning to Oxford, another upon arrival, and a third three days later.

Although there is currently a shortage of lateral flow tests available in the UK, the University says that tests will be available from the University and colleges.

Students returning to Oxford from overseas are told to follow international travel rules. From Friday January 7th, fully vaccinated travellers to England will no longer have to take a test two days before travelling. They will still need to take a PCR test upon arrival, but will not have to self-isolate while waiting for the result.

The University is also asking students to receive a booster vaccination “as soon as possible”, and to take a COVID test twice a week. Further information about the University’s testing programme is expected to follow next week.

The University said: “We hope this provides a useful update as you prepare for Hilary term. As ever, the student page of the University’s coronavirus site is the place to find all the latest detailed information, and if you have any specific enquiries about your personal situation, please contact your college or department in the first instance.”

Image: kevinrice via pixabay.com

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