The Government has published a set of guidelines on social distancing, linked below, which it is very important for us all to follow. Broadly speaking, we are asked to stay at home wherever possible and not to come within two metres of anyone not in our immediate household (i.e., living with us). This is to prevent the spread of the disease.Government Guidelines
If you are still living in College, you will have been moved into the Ruth Deech Building for your own comfort and safety. The reasons we have done this are:
We know that some of you enjoy cooking and clearly you do have access to the RDB kitchens. However, we want to avoid you being exposed to the virus while shopping for or preparing food and also want to help shops to maintain their supplies for other local residents. Additionally we want you to know that if you have to go into self-isolation that we will be able to provide you with meals and will arrange for these to be delivered to your door. These are the reasons why a core team of our fantastic College kitchen and hall staff are selflessly coming into work to provide a 3 meals a day take out service for you to collect from the Dining Hall, with a one way system so social distancing can be maintained. A meal booking system has been established so that you can inform us of the meals you need and any dietary requirements you have.
Please do use the provision the staff are going to great lengths to provide to you. If you are concerned about your financial position please do not let this deter you from having the College meals – the Treasury will support anyone with financial hardship and your health and wellbeing must be the top consideration in the decisions you make.
If you do want or need to continue to use the RDB kitchens then please follow government guidance about sharing such spaces and maintain the highest hygiene standards, using cleaning products on all surfaces on every occasion after you have cooked.
To slow spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming the health services, everyone in the UK is being asked to minimise the contact they have with others (see first link above) and maintain good hygiene, including regular through hand washing. For this reason, large communal areas, such as the Library and the Danson Room, are now closed. You may decide that there is a very small group of friends who you will have some contact with and agree this mutually. You can go outside to exercise whilst maintaining social distancing and we are lucky that beautiful open spaces like the University Parks and Port Meadow are easily accessible for us. It is essential and urgent that If you develop symptoms you must immediately move into self-isolation (so stay in your room and do not have visitors) for a minimum of 7 days. If this happens then let the Lodge know by phone so we can support you and make sure scouts and other staff don’t come into your room.
We know that this is a worrying and uncertain time, and that being in College in these circumstances may not be where you would choose to be. Do try to give your day some structure and don’t ignore the things that usually help you to stay well: eating healthily, regular sleep, exercise (walking, running, cycling or following online exercises classes). Your mental health is also really important. A starting point might be this page, or this University resource. Many of us are missing the social contact we usually enjoy, so maintain contact with family and friends virtually or join online groups. The MCR are is setting up such social groups. Do let each other know what is working well for you, or maybe you’re taking this opportunity to take up new or build on old hobbies or skills, such as learning a language. Our Assistant Deans and welfare staff can also make contact with you if you are unwell or anxious and there are other College staff working from home who can call you for a chat, so please do stay connected.
The University is working very hard on how the educational and research aspects of Oxford can continue in the best way possible. You will understand that this (alongside the issues of exams and admissions) is hugely complex. At St Anne’s, the Academic Office and Library will be working with students and tutors to support the continuation of teaching and research as far is possible through the use of technology and new approaches. We will have more to share on this in the next few weeks, but please try to feel positive about this and continue as far as possible with the reading and other work activities you had planned for this vacation. Also do familiarise yourself with Microsoft TEAMS, which is likely to be the video conferencing platform that will be most used.
If you are still in Oxford and fit and well, you may want to volunteer for some community aid to help those self-isolating and vulnerable.
Covid Mutual Aid UK is a group of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK. Focusing on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need.
Oxford Together, run by the Oxford Hub, is working on building a community response to Covid-19. Become a community champion and help others across the city by checking in on those who are at high-risk on your street or making phone calls to those who are self-isolating. Click here to sign up and support your local community.
The Oxford Psychological Interventions for Children Group have created an online advice resource about supporting children and young people with worries about Covid-19.