Updated start of term message to students from the Principal

Dear St Anne’s Student,


This is a message primarily for students who are not already in Oxford and who would like to apply to return to their college-provided accommodation for Trinity Term. If you are already in Oxford or are unable or do not wish to return to Oxford for Trinity Term then thank you for your attention; you do not need to read further, but do look out for further information about events that will be happening this term, some of them on-line, which will be included in the weekly What’s On circulated by Jay Gilbert, our Communications Officer.  For all of you who do want to return to Oxford but have not yet been given permission to do so, I want to express my thanks to you for your patience and understanding as we have been waiting for further guidance and information from the Government and University.


Return in Trinity Term

On 13th April the Department of Education updated its guidance to Universities (see here).  Disappointingly, the Government’s requirement is that students remain at home until 17th May at the earliest, unless they meet one or more grounds for exemption. However, there have been some significant changes to the wording about grounds for exemption so that it now reads, ‘Providers should support the return of students where necessary to support the continuation of their studies, for example, where students do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities or study space, where students need to return for health or safety reasons or where there is concern for a student’s mental health or wellbeing.’ I believe that this is a helpful change in position, which supports the College in its desire to support you as much as possible in your studies and with your health and wellbeing in the term ahead.

If, having read the new wording, you feel that you meet one or more of the exemptions for return, and would like to make a case to return, you are invited to apply to the College to return to Oxford for Trinity Term.  We are looking forward to welcoming many of you back to Oxford, but please do not feel that you have to return. We are very conscious that everyone’s position is different and that some of you may feel that you have better study and exam space and practical and emotional support where are you now; please be assured that you can continue to study and complete exams remotely if you so wish and do not have to ask for permission to do so.

If, on the other hand, you feel you could continue your studies more effectively with access to facilities like College and University libraries and with the support of your College friends, and that you feel able to complete your online exams and assessments (if any) in your study-bedroom, then do please fill in the form to ask for permission to return. The form gives more information about the current position in Oxford and asks for a small amount of information from you to explain which of the exemptions you are applying to return under.  Applications will be considered as expeditiously as possible with the goal of facilitating returns from 22nd April, with the Accommodation Team scheduling these to enable social distancing. You must however wait for permission to return to College provided accommodation before arranging to travel. The link to the form to use to apply can be found here https://oxford.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/request-to-return-to-college-provided-accommodation.

Everyone who is given permission to return to Oxford should understand it is contingent on compliance with legislation and the Responsibility Agreement signed by you all the beginning of Michaelmas Term (https://www.st-annes.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/COVID-19-St-Annes-Agreement_final.pdf ). There is also an expectation that you will complete two lateral flow tests on your return to Oxford ( https://www.st-annes.ox.ac.uk/covid-19-information/information-for-lateral-flow-testing-in-trinity-term/ ) and then, if you remain without symptoms, book and attend twice weekly testing at one of the sites established by the University (https://www.ox.ac.uk/coronavirus/health/covid-testing/regular-testing ). If you develop symptoms at any time you are required to isolate with your household immediately, notify the Lodge and book a PCR test (https://www.ox.ac.uk/coronavirus/health/covid-testing ). You will also be aware that teaching for the most part will remain on-line, and that facilities of the College remain limited by restrictions and procedures put in place to combat the transmission of coronavirus. It still remains illegal to meet indoors with anyone who is not a member of your household. Our welfare team are available to everyone, whether they are in Oxford or not, and we encourage everyone who needs some extra support at this time to get in touch with them, or with JCR or MCR Welfare Reps and peer supporters.

We really look forward to being able to welcome many more of you back to St Anne’s and hope that everyone in the College community will act in a way to ensure that everyone, especially those sitting exams (which extend throughout the term and 9th week) or submitting dissertations feel supported. No one wants to get ill or to have to isolate during this period, or to have their study and exam time interrupted by noise or inconsiderate behaviour by others. I am confident that the St Anne’s community of students, tutors and staff will continue to support each other and act with consideration, maturity and good humour at all times.

With best wishes and high hopes for the term ahead,




Helen King QPM

Principal, St Anne’s College