Principal’s Message to Students: Michaelmas Term 2020

Dear St Anne’s Student,

As you see on the news what is happening at University halls in cities like Glasgow and Manchester, you must be wondering what Michaelmas Term holds for us all at St Anne’s. Your family may also have concerns, so please share this message with them too if that is the case.

I’ll be honest in that I can’t give you guarantees, but I can tell you that everyone at the College has been working tremendously hard throughout the summer and we have comprehensive plans in place to respond to the current situation and any future developments locally or nationally. This includes plans for teaching and library provision, meals, and welfare support. Our goals for the term are;

  • To keep all members of the College safe from infection, particularly those who are medically vulnerable
  • To protect as far as possible the world leading education and research, which are the reason this University and St Anne’s College exist
  • To support the physical and mental wellbeing of all members of the College 
  • To support a gradually increasing range of social, sporting and cultural student activities when we can have confidence that there are not uncontained outbreaks in the College and the activities can be safely introduced.

The procedures we have put in place in College may come as a bit of a shock when you arrive, so I am writing to ask that you keep them in the forefront of your mind, even in the excitement of your arrival. Of course we hope that there will be no cases of Covid-19 in the College, but if there are It is absolutely key that everyone consistently does all that we can to prevent transmission of Covid-19 from one household bubble to another. Once that happens, the inevitable result is that multiple student households will need to isolate in their rooms for 2 weeks as we have seen elsewhere. None of us want that to happen and so this message is to ask you to do all you can to help us prevent this from happening at Anne’s.

Minimising the risk of bringing the virus into St Anne’s

  • Please do NOT return to College if you have symptoms, however mild, of Covid-19 or if you have had contact with anyone who has tested positive or is waiting for the results of a test. If you have symptoms seek a test and don’t return until you receive a negative result or have isolated for the required period. If you’re not certain whether you should travel to Oxford then contact us and seek advice.
  • Please minimise the number of people you have close contact with (ie come within 2m of) before you travel to Oxford. This period of moving from one household (your family) to another (College) is a time of heightened risk.
  • Comply with all Government regulations and guidance, especially not gathering in groups of larger than 6, keeping a 2m distance, wearing a face covering, and regularly washing or sanitising your hands.

Preventing transmission between College Households

The evidence we are receiving is that the numbers of infections in Oxford has increased significantly since mid-September and there has been transmission amongst Oxford Brookes students linked to informal outdoor social gatherings.

The processes introduced in College are designed specifically to prevent you having to spend any time within 2 metres of other members of the College, including your tutors and staff, excepting members of your household bubble. It is essential that you comply with this not just in College and during organised events, but also in your leisure time and when you are socialising with people who are not part of your household from College or from elsewhere, including when you are outside.

  • If you develop symptoms, however mild, you must IMMEDIATELY self-isolate. Do not delay a number of hours or days as quick action will prevent spread of the virus. Contact the Lodge from your room and book a test at the University testing pod. We have made arrangements to support you while you isolate and telephoning the Lodge will activate the support plans, including the delivery of meals and welfare support.
  • If you receive a message by text or email telling you that you need to self-isolate then you must IMMEDIATELY go to your College room and stay there, regardless of what your plans were. Again, arrangements are in place to make sure you are supported. If you are in any doubt about what you should do at any time please contact the Lodge by telephone.
  • Please follow all the procedures put in place for your own safety, for that of everyone else at Anne’s, and in order to prevent a wider outbreak that would impact on all aspects of College life until it is contained.

The first few weeks of term are going to be key. We are fortunate to be members of a College that has a strong sense of community, mutual support and concern for each other. Academics and staff are eager and ready to support you in the weeks ahead and are confident that everyone will play their part. I know that Stanners will respond to this situation with good humour, patience, determination and maturity, taking care to look out for and support those who may find it most difficult and being careful to protect the health of those who are more medically vulnerable including their tutors, and the domestic, kitchen, library and administrative staff of the College and their families.

If we can get through the first part of term, ideally without positive cases, and without cross-household transmission then that will put us in a far stronger position to widen the range of activities everyone will be able to participate in. 

Thank you everyone who has completed the survey confirming that they will comply with the St Anne’s College Community Agreement. If you haven’t read this yet then please do and return as soon as possible.

With very best wishes and looking forward to seeing you again,