Coronavirus FAQs

This page contains latest updates on the situation at Pembroke. Please check the FAQs below, and if you can't find what you're looking for contact College staff.

For Oxford University's latest information see their dedicated web pages, or the website of your faculty or department.

UPDATE 10th Sept: Updated Government guidance for Higher Education has been published this morning and we are in the process of reviewing this.  Any resulting changes to our plans for the coming term will be communicated to the College community as soon as possible.

Date last edited: 17.09.20

Academic: Teaching and Library

Please see and for information.

If you have further questions please contact the Academic Office or the Library directly.

Accommodation & Households

Please see for information.

Do I have to spend all my time with those in my household?

No. Students can eat, socialise and learn with others outside their household – but with social distancing.  Social distancing will be in accordance with current University and Government guidance.  Within your household, members are free to eat, socialise at home and outside together less than 2m apart as a “family unit”, if they choose.

What happens if a member of my household develops coronavirus symptoms, or tests positive?

Anyone who develops symptoms should self-isolate, book a test and inform the College immediately (see for more).  We have processes in place to contact other members of the household to inform them of the need to isolate, and support will be provided in the form of meals, library book deliveries and other practical needs.

Will I have access to laundry facilities in College?

Yes, the laundry rooms will be available, but face coverings should be worn.

What should I do if I am concerned that others in my household are behaving irresponsibly?

We ask that all students are considerate of others around them and follow social distancing and face covering guidance in order to protect our community, and particularly those members who may be particularly vulnerable.  If you are concerned about the behaviour of others please approach one of our Junior Deans in the first instance.  Repeated intentional disregard for safety measures will be treated very seriously.

If I need to arrive in Oxford early to self-isolate can I come to College accommodation?

Yes, please see our Arriving Early for Self-Isolation page for full details.

Will I be able to stay in College accommodation during the vacations?

We will be operating our usual system of asking students about their plans for the vacation (this takes place during term) and will facilitate as many requests for vacation residence as we can.

I am a student living in private accommodation.  What support is offered to me?

You can contact the Academic Office team or a member of our welfare team if you need help because of uncertainty with your current private residence.

Events, Societies & Sports

What events will be taking place in College this term?

We will be providing marquee space on Chapel Quad to allow for some organised social events to take place in the evenings, including during Freshers' Week.  More detailed information will follow directly before and during term as plans become clearer.

Will the JCR/MCR/SCR be open this term?

Common room spaces will be open, but there will be maximum capacity limits for the number of people who can use them at once (these will be marked clearly on doors).

I am a student event organiser.  Can I book College facilities?

Until 4th week of term all meeting rooms will be restricted to use for teaching and learning only.  Once we have reviewed demand, and tested our cleaning protocols, we hope it will be possible to provide spaces for societies to meet and other activities to take place in line with social distancing restrictions.  

What sports will be available?

The College will take its lead on the use of sports facilities from University advice, and is in the process of trialling a partial reopening of the Boat House.  More details for other sports will follow.

How will Matriculation (the admission of new students to the University) operate this year?

New students will be matriculated in absentia during 0th Week of term, and a remote University welcome will be held.  The Formal Welcome to the University by the Vice-Chancellor will take place on Saturday 17th October (end of 1st week).

Face coverings, Social Distancing and Cleaning

Why are the University and colleges requiring the wearing of face coverings?

The introduction of the face covering policy is informed by advice from senior clinicians and public health experts at the University. There is increasing evidence that wearing face coverings can reduce transmission of coronavirus from an infected person to others since they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection. The wearing of face coverings is to be considered a social responsibility for members of the collegiate University who can wear them, with the aim of reducing risk and providing increased reassurance to all, including those most vulnerable to serious illness.  For more detail please see

When will I need to wear a face covering?

Face coverings are required in all College and University buildings, in shared spaces, including in teaching settings.  Within your household they are not needed.  There will be signs in College to guide you.

When does social distancing apply?

Everyone should respect social distancing at all times, except with members of your own household.  This applies in College and there will be signs to remind you of this.  Please remember that this is for the protection of all members of our community, including those who are vulnerable.  Members of staff need to feel safe in their workplace and students need to feel safe in their home, so we should all be alert to the need for social distancing as essential to avoid the spread of coronavirus.  Repeated intentional disregard for social distancing will be treated very seriously.

How has Pembroke changed its cleaning procedures?

An enhanced cleaning regime has been devised and implemented across the College.  Shared spaces will be spray cleaned once a week with an anti-microbial that lasts on surfaces for up to 10 days. In addition to this, all internal spaces and high touch point surfaces will be cleaned according to their usage (eg offices daily, meeting rooms & toilets several times a day). Each space in College has been assessed for cleaning needs, and hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes will be provided for additional cleaning by individuals as required. If you have any questions regarding cleaning, please contact

I live in College accommodation.  Will my room be cleaned regularly?

This term the Scouts will not be cleaning individual student bedrooms.  Vacuums will be available for use by students, and rubbish will be collected daily Mon-Fri when bins are left outside bedroom doors.  The Scouts will clean communal areas, except those where a household is in temporary lock-down. 

I need to consult a staff member with a question - can I call into their office to ask?

Instead of dropping in unannounced, we ask that you please contact the staff teams by email or phone first.  We will arrange appointments to see students and academics, which is important to ensure social distancing and to allow for track-and-trace should the need arise.

Finances & Hardship

I am experiencing financial hardship as a result of the covid pandemic.  What should I do?

Oxford University and Pembroke College offer a wide variety of financial support for students, including those who find themselves in unexpected financial difficulty due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further details can be found on our website.

If you have any specific questions about your personal financial circumstances that you cannot find answers to online, please contact

Food & Drink

Please see for information.

Will meal plans for returning students still be flexible this term, for use in Farthings or Hall?

Yes, and those on catered contracts will have an enhanced offering this term, including breakfast in Hall Mon-Fri, Saturday brunch and Sunday lunch at no extra cost, to support those who would otherwise have used shared kitchen facilities. 

Will there be formal hall this term?

No, unfortunately we are not able to offer formal hall due to space constraints of social distancing.  We will review the situation as and when government advice on this changes.

Health & Welfare

Do I need to be registered to a local doctor?

It is really important for you to register with a GP who is happy to provide care whilst living in Oxford.  The college works with an NHS doctors’ surgery at 19 Beaumont Street, Oxford. If you were to become ill at Oxford, changing/registering with a doctor at the same time may add to your stress, so please do not put off registering. If you need to, you can still see your previous GP during the vacation as a temporary patient. You can register online now by clicking here and click on the link for Pembroke College.

Also note that it is very important that you know your NHS number (or get one if you are arriving in the UK for the first time) in case you need to access a coronavirus test during term.

I have a pre-existing health condition. Should I inform the college of this?

It is very helpful for the College to have knowledge of any health concerns.  Please contact the Academic Office and your personal information will be treated in the strictest confidence.  The team can then advise you on any support required and be aware of your needs should circumstances change during term.

I am feeling anxious about returning to/arriving at College.  Where can I find support?

This is entirely understandable and there are a range of people you can contact in College for support.  If you have a specific concern about an element of College life please contact the relevant team.  If you have general worries and concerns please consider contacting our Welfare team - a good place to start is with Rebekah White, our Welfare Coordinator who is a great listener and will be able to point you to other sources of information or support as appropriate.

I think I have symptoms of coronavirus: what should I do?

See for full guidance.

International Students

Please see for information on arriving early from outside the UK to self-isolate in College

How do I stay up to date on the UK’s overseas travel corridor list?

You can find full details by following this link.

Do I need to arrive in Oxford early to self-isolate, and will I be provided with accommodation?

You will need to arrive in Oxford in time to complete any necessary period of 14-day self-isolation before your course starts. If your accommodation for the term will be in College you will be provided with accommodation to self-isolate, and should contact for further information. If you will be renting privately you should plan to arrive in your rented accommodation 14 days before the start of your course.  If this is not possible, for instance if the travel corridors change at short notice, then please contact the Academic Office as soon as possible to make us aware of your situation.

What preparations should I make for my arrival to the UK?

Please see for a helpful and comprehensive checklist for international students.  Advice on visas, including visa/passport scanning and CAS requests, is to be found at  Note that if you have to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, then the 10-day requirement to collect your BRP from the Post Office or College does not apply, but you should collect it as soon as possible after your self-isolation ends.

I am an international student. How do I find my way to Oxford?

 Please see Finding Your Way to Oxford.

I am an international student and require guidance on managing my finances.

Visit Oxford's fees and funding webpage for advice on funding options and managing your budget. The Oxford bank guide for European and International Students offers tips and guidance about how to open a bank account in the UK. This year most banks will open accounts online and many can accept uploaded documents as identity checks and proof of your student status. The UKCISA website also offers a guide on opening a bank account. If you plan to bring money into the UK and are arriving from a country outside the European Union you must declare any cash of €10,000 or more (or its equivalent in other currencies) to customs officers.

Living Out & Communal Spaces

I am living in non-College accommodation this year.  What can I expect from College this term?

Please see our web page for those living out for some pointers.  You will be able to use communal facilities, including the Library, JCR/MCR, Farthings and Hall.  Please remember to use a face covering, respect social distancing and use hand sanitiser stations when in College.

Will the JCR/MCR Common Room space be open?

Yes, the JCR and MCR Common Rooms (and Broadgates for the SCR) will be open.  There will be a maximum capacity for each room indicated on the doors: please respect these.

Student Responsibility Agreement

Please see for information about the Student Responsibility Agreement.  More details and FAQs can be found on the University website at


Will guests be able to visit me in College?

We ask that you discourage guests from visiting during the first half of term as we adjust to new track-and-trace protocols.  However, if you need to have an occasional visitor and they are going to be staying in College please note that it is imperative that you sign them in at the Lodge.