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The safety and welfare of our staff, students and the wider community continues to be at the forefront of any measures that we put in place in College. As a result of the easing of restrictions announced by the Government earlier in the summer and the change in health advice issued by the University, I would like to clarify the expectations for behaviour and conduct around the College in relation to COVID-19 for the new academic year for all St Hugh’s students and staff when they are on-site.
I hope that the easing of Government restrictions will allow a much more ‘normal’ college experience for this academic year. The removal of ‘households’, the easing of the requirement to isolate if you are a (vaccinated) close contact, and the removal of restrictions on numbers gathering for social and non-social events are all welcome changes in College. However, it is still the case that COVID-19 cases continue in significant numbers and it is inevitable that we will see cases in our community as term starts.
In order to reduce the impact for all of those in the St Hugh’s community, as well as protecting the wellbeing of all our students and staff, the most important message I can give is for all to take personal responsibility and get vaccinated. I would urge all who have not already done so to arrange this as soon as possible. Not only does this improve your own protection against COVID-19 it also reduces the spread of the virus and this is to be welcomed in a small community such as St Hugh’s where we do have vulnerable students and staff.
Furthermore we should all continue with some of the behaviours that we have got used to over the past 18 months to help reduce the potential spread and impact that COVID-19 will have on our community. Therefore we expect everyone to do the following;
- Continue to wear face coverings inside in public spaces when moving around the College or in highly populated areas
- Ensure that indoor spaces are well ventilated by keeping windows open (this goes against our usual desire to be environmentally friendly, and may require us to wear more layers than normal, but airflow is key to reducing the spread)
- Maintain high hygiene standards, i.e. wash hands regularly and take advantage of the sanitiser stations located around College
- Test regularly; lateral flow tests are available from the Lodge, and we would encourage you all to test regularly, particularly if you are leading an active social life or are coming into contact with lots of different groups of people
- Continue to respect other people’s space; while social distancing is not required this does not mean we should forget that not everyone will feel equally happy to socialise or interact
- If you feel unwell – stay at home and get a PCR test – this will prevent unnecessary spread of the virus if you return a positive test for COVID-19.
- Avoid unnecessarily crowded spaces; if you can, socialise outside or in larger, well-ventilated spaces
I hope that all of these messages are clear and I am sure that we are all following these behaviours anyway. Finally, I hope that you are all looking forward to the start of a new academic year here at St Hugh’s.
Harry Myring, Bursar
From 17th May, Universities are permitted to resume in-person teaching across all subjects. Whether tutors decide to teach in-person will depend on a number of factors, including the number of students obliged to continue learning remotely, and the practicalities of arranging Covid-safe teaching. To reduce the number of ‘close contacts’ in the event of a positive test, teaching rooms are set up to enable social-distancing, and face-coverings should be worn inside College building. Outdoor areas are also available for teaching and meetings.
For the most up-to-date Government instructions and advice please see: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
For up to date information and guidance from the University please see the dedicated
Covid-19 response pages: http://www.ox.ac.uk/news-and-events/coronavirus-advice