Dear St Anne’s student,
Following last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister of a national lockdown until at least mid- February, I just wanted to reassure you that the University and the College is working through the implications and making decisions as quickly as possible. I anticipate that the University will be circulating more information tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon and St Anne’s will update you further before the weekend. We are trying to avoid sending numerous briefings given that the situation, regulations and guidance have been changing so quickly.
Thank you for your patience and for your support in these difficult and uncertain times, and to the tremendous efforts and creativity of JCR and MCR Representatives. For those of you who will be learning remotely at the start of term, please be assured that your tutors work incredibly hard to make sure the experience is as good as possible for you. Our Library staff will also do everything possible to make sure you can access the resources you need to work effectively. Overall reports from Trinity Term showed remote learning and assessment was successful for most people, but that one of the most commonly experienced challenges was individual motivation and structuring your time so that you work effectively. You might want to spend some time now planning for this and use the advice available here: https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/skills .
Please do keep yourself updated through the University website and if you are struggling then talk to friends or family, refer to the welfare resources signposted in my earlier email below, or make contact with our welfare team via firstname.lastname@example.org . We are here to support you whether you are in Oxford or not.
Take care and stay safe and well,
Helen King QPM
Principal, St Anne’s College
Original message 03/01
Dear Member of St Anne’s,
All students have now received a message from the University about their return to Oxford for Hilary Term and I wanted to let you know, as far I can, how the College will respond to the changing position and to ask for your patience while we gather more information, consult with student and staff representatives, and make decisions over the coming days and weeks.
You will be aware that on Wednesday 30 December, the UK Government announced changes to arrangements for students returning to universities, which will impact Oxford. This guidance states that only specific groups of students should return to university from 4 January. This includes those taking part in very specific courses (including medicine and initial teacher training) and some other categories of students who need practically to be here.
All other taught students have been advised not to travel back to university until at least 25 January, with all teaching (except for students on specific prioritised courses) taking place online until at least that point. Postgraduate research students are exempt from this guidance and can return as usual. The University’s response to the national changes can be found on their webpages https://www.ox.ac.uk/coronavirus/students , which will be updated in the coming days.
Position at St Anne’s College
Teaching: Apart from the exempt courses, all teaching will be online until at least 25th January. I know this will be disappointing for many tutors and students, however I also know that online teaching in Trinity Term was largely very successful, even though it took place at very short notice and with little prior experience. This was a great credit to all involved. Everyone is now much more familiar with the formats and methods that work best and the College will continue to do all it can to support tutors and students.
Accommodation: Students who are accommodated by the College (including in College rented off site properties) should not plan or make arrangements to return to Oxford at this time. Next week, we will ask students to complete an redesigned survey so that you can update us about your circumstances. We will also share more information with you next week about how you can apply to return if you believe your individual circumstances warrant this (eg you have nowhere else you can stay, or nowhere where it is feasible for you to study, or have already booked international travel). If you live in private rented accommodation the national guidance not to travel unless essential applies.
Students who are already in residence in College accommodation or who are currently en route to Oxford (eg on a pre-booked flight) will continue to be accommodated. We will share further information with you next week about what services and facilities will available when we have been able to assess this, but be assured that you will be supported throughout in line with the commitment we gave to students who remained in College throughout the first extended lockdown.
Welfare: I know this news and the national situation will understandably generate concerns for many of you. College and University Welfare Services will remain available to you remotely. Links to lots of welfare resources are also available via https://www.ox.ac.uk/coronavirus/students/welfare and https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/counselling/coronavirus?wssl=1. Please also take the opportunity to maintain contact with anyone you are aware may be struggling and to support your friends and colleagues in the weeks ahead.
Social Activities and Events: During the first lockdown and throughout this pandemic the JCR, MCR and College Development Office have organised a wide range of social activities and opportunities to bring the St Anne’s Community together even though we are physically apart. I have no doubt that Entz Reps, Welfare Reps and others will continue with this until we can come together in College again. Do follow the social media platforms and get involved.
I know this is not the start to 2021 that any of us wanted. However, what must always be most important is the safety and health of all members of the College, and that we play our part in protecting local NHS services and the wider community of the City of Oxford. We have high hopes that the vaccine created and tested by researchers at this University, along with wide spread use of Lateral Flow Tests, and everyone complying conscientiously with the St Anne’s College Responsibility Agreement, will enable us to work and live as a community once again later this year.
Please be assured that we will update you with more detail as soon as we are able to. Please monitor your emails and respond to any requests that are asked of you in a timely manner.
With very best wishes for the term ahead and beyond,
Helen King QPM
Principal, St Anne’s College