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.

Pembroke students and staff are receiving weekly regular email updates - please check your inbox regularly!

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

Last edited: In response of England moving into lockdown

Academic: Teaching and Library

Will my tutorials continue face to face?

The College will continue to provide face to face tutorials, unless alternative online arrangements have to be made. The University continues to support face to face tuition across all Colleges and Departments and examinations will continue to be held.

Please see and for information.

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

Accommodation & Households

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.

Can I socialise with others outside my household?

You must not socialise with members of other households in College. Within your household though, you are free to eat, socialise at home and outside together less than 2m apart as a “family unit”.

The rule of 6 applies outside of College.

Guidance on new rules for Oxford's tier (Tier 2 - High Alert) can be found here.

Can I move households?

Currently, it is not logistically viable to introduce transfers between households with the increased risk of transmission that this presents.  Exceptional welfare cases may, where appropriate and practicable, be provided with alternative accommodation. We will try to facilitate requests to move between households during the Christmas Vacation, but this will take a high level of cooperation on all sides to manage the practicalities including the cleaning of rooms between occupants who are able to swap.

Can I move home?

It remains a University rule that you must be in residence in order to study at Oxford.  The College has no power to dispense with the residence requirement which, in an individual special case, is a proctorial decision.  If you wish to leave the College during term time, you should discuss this with your Tutor and the Academic Office. Those who leave College will continue to be responsible for accommodation charges.

Will I still have access to laundry facilities in College?

Yes, the laundry rooms will be available, but face coverings should be worn and maximum capacities in the laundry rooms must be respected.

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.

Please see for information

Events, Societies & Sports

What events will be taking place in College this term?

It is not possible to hold social events at this time.  However, in order to provide an opportunity for welfare activities and an increase to the study space available in College, both Chapel Quad marquees will be retained until at least 2nd December.  Student representatives will be consulted to discuss how the space might best be used.

Will the JCR/MCR/SCR be open during lockdown?

The JCR, MCR and SCR spaces will only be open for agreed and risk-assessed uses.  We are keen to bring these spaces back into some use as soon as possible.

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

During Michaelmas term it is not possible for students to book meeting rooms for student events. The situation will be reviewed regularly in line with guidance from the Government and Public Health England and in line with demand for teaching space (not all tutorial rooms will be suitable when social distancing is being observed).

What sports will be available?

Arrangements for most sporting activities and some other team/society events are being reviewed nationally and further guidance will follow.

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

Will Hall remain open in the run up to and over the Christmas vacation?

Hall will remain open and there will be no change to the current service provided at present. More information will follow for those remaining in College ocer the Christmas vacation. Full details and up to date information for current members can be found on the intranet.

Can I still buy food and drink from Farthings Café?

Yes, Farthings Café will continue to serve take away food. The present daily service will continue, as will the themed take away nights as an alternative to Hall. Please wear masks and socially distance while queueing.

Will there be a Formal Hall this term?

There will be no Formal Hall this term. We need to be able to let as many people eat in Hall as we can in a safe way.  We will reconsider the reintroduction of Formal Hall in Hilary Term.

Will the College bar be open?

The College bar remains closed for now but we will explore options for social opportunities as soon as we can.

Will there still be catering support if I need to self isolate?

We will continue to provide full catering support to students who are in isolation on Main Site. Further information on booking a test and provisions during a period of self isolation can be found here:

Will the main site kitchens be able to be opened this term?

Following a review in 2nd Week, we concluded that staircase kitchens on Main Site will continue to remain closed (except where they are required to support complex medical/dietary needs).  They will continue to be open in the GAB, which is safely configured as self-catered accommodation.  We believe that the fragility of the current situation suggests an unacceptable risk of transmission of the virus if we increase household sizes and/or introduce communal kitchens (and we are seeing this problem in a number of other Colleges).  We will keep our risk assessment under review and we remain keen to explore how we can introduce kitchen space safely.

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.

Should I inform the college of any changes to my health conditions?

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.

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

We ask that all students are thoughtful of others around them and follow social distancing and face covering guidance in order to protect our community, and particularly those members who are vulnerable. If you are concerned about the behaviour of others please consult our Concerns Process information for advice.  Repeated intentional disregard for safety measures will be treated very seriously.

I am feeling anxious. 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

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

You can find full details by following this link.

I am concerned about being able to go home over the Christmas vacation, who do I talk to?

By now you are expected to have confirmed your plans with the College. We understand that your plans may still change though, if you need to make any changes to the plans you confirmed with us. Let the Accommodation Office know immediatley and if you need to discuss any other concerns, please speak to the Academic Office.

If you wish to leave the College during term time, or have any urgent queries you should discuss this with your Tutor and the Academic Office.

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?

The JCR, MCR and SCR spaces will only be open for agreed and risk-assessed uses.  We are keen to bring these spaces back into some use as soon as possible.

Student Responsibility Agreement

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


What sanctions are in place for breaking the Student Responsibility Agreement?

The College has throughout the pandemic successfully relied upon its community to work together in a very positive collaborative spirit.  We have been asked to point out to the small minority of people who have breached and continue to breach the rules, that sanctions will be applied and that the student community supports the College in this regard.  Sanctions may include the removal of the right to live in College and a fine of £250.  A breach of lockdown rules may also be illegal and regardless of any College sanction, you risk prosecution with all the long term consequences that has.


Will guests be able to visit me in College?

We cannot permit overnight visitors to College, and there must be no visitors at all to College households.



How should I contact College staff?

If you need to speak with any departments in College, please email or call in the first instance, information on how to contact each department can be found on the intranet.