Trinity Term 2021: FAQs

All students received an email from the Academic Director on 6th April with latest information about returning to College for Trinity Term.  Please read this carefully and complete the online Trinity Returns form if applicable. 

Students on practical courses with permission from their Department to return are expected back to College on Wednesday 21st April (0th week) unless you let us know otherwise.  Those on other courses must not return without individual permission to do so – complete the Trinity Returns form by 9am on Friday 9th April to have your case considered against the exemptions provided for in the most recent government guidance.

Please see below for detailed information on a range of subjects.  If you cannot find the information you need please contact the relevant staff teams in College by email or send a message to the Communications Team who can forward it for you.

page last updated Thursday 8th April 2021

Returning to College for Trinity Term

I am a “non-practical” course student and I would like to return to College in Trinity Term because of concerns about my home working environment and/or my upcoming University exams, what do I do?

Read the information in the Academic Director’s email of 6th April and complete the Trinity Term Returns form online by 9am on Friday 9th April, including information about your situation.  Then wait to hear from the Academic Office team.  You must not return unless permission is granted.

I am an international student currently in a country on the UK’s “red list”.  My course is practical and I have been given permission to return by my department.  Can I return to College in 0th week?

Anyone who is permitted to enter the UK from Red List countries is required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival in a government-approved hotel, at their own expense, as well as undertaking a series of covid-tests before and after travel, again at personal expense.  Please see the government and University websites for full information. 

You should think carefully about your situation before arranging travel.  All international arrivals are advised to do the same as the Red List is updated regularly and in any event all overseas arrivals will have to quarantine somewhere (this can be in College for those from non-red list countries). 

The University has waived its residency requirement for all students for Trinity Term.  Your department can advise on online learning alternatives and you can contact the team in the Academic Office with any College concerns before you make your decision.

If you decide not to return to Oxford, but are due to sit any University exams, including finals, in Trinity Term and will need remote invigilation or alternative remote provision please contact Kirstie Morris in the Academic Office.

I was given permission to return to College during Hilary Term and have gone home for a vacation.  My course is non-practical.  Can I return for Trinity Term without seeking permission again? 

Yes.  Under current government advice, students are permitted to leave their university accommodation for their home address and then return to university, once only, between 8th March and 29th April.  If you were previously given an exemption to return to College during Hilary Term then you can return without further permission.  You should already have informed the Accommodation team of your plans, and if this change please be in touch to update us.  If you have travelled abroad please see information above regarding international returns.

How are you making decisions about whether those on non-practical courses will be allowed to return?

We are assessing each individual case in detail.  Government restrictions only allow limited categories of exemption to be applied.  The College’s guiding principle in all decisions is the health, safety and welfare of all our students and staff.  We have a duty of care to our staff and to those students who have to be here to resume in-person learning, as well as particular concern for those who will face University exams in the coming term.  If you have concerns about our decision you have the right to appeal.

I have contacted the Academic Office to request permission to return but not had a decision.  What should I do?

The Academic Office team are currently working through a significant number of requests. Please be patient and trust that they have received yours.  You can expect to receive a response before 0th week.

Academic & Exam Arrangements

Given the difficulties of recent months will upcoming Collections be optional or have leniency?

Collections will proceed online as planned.  Anyone experiencing difficulties that might affect their ability to take a Collection should talk to their subject tutor before the exam takes place.

I am on a “non-practical” course and cannot yet return to Oxford.  Since I cannot access the library will I have longer deadlines for essays or other leniency in workload?

Talk to your tutor if you anticipate needing extensions to any work deadline.  The Bodleian is providing access to a vast array of online titles, and the Pembroke Library is able to help with postal loans and purchasing books that you need.  Contact Laura Cracknell for advice.

When will in-person teaching resume in College?

We will let you know as soon as we have guidance on this.  For the moment this will not be the case in College and those on practical courses will receive details of face-to-face elements from your department.

Are residency exemptions being granted for those unable to return?

The University has announced a blanket suspension of the residency requirement for all students for Trinity Term 2021.  There is no need to apply for this individually.

Will University exams take into account the disruption to learning this year and many people having had insufficient learning spaces at home?

Students should keep records of the impact that any COVID-related (or other) disruption has had on their work.  There is a mitigating circumstances application system for University exams for impacted students (MCE).  You can submit an MCE yourself directly in Student Self Service or via the College.  Before doing so you should carefully read the guidance provided by the University.   In most cases it is a good idea to contact the Academic Office for help with completing your application, and if you are unsure of how to proceed you should certainly get in touch.

What arrangements are being made for University exams in Trinity Term?

Please see the information sent to all Pembroke students by email, which includes links to University details and contacts for individual special circumstances.  There is a process for considering mitigating circumstances – please see the previous question for details.

Will the “safety net” offered to last year’s finalists again be applied by the University?

The University has carefully considered the options available to ensure fairness to those completing their degree courses this year.  The processes used will not be the same as for last year’s cohort.  See the Assessment Support section of the University’s information on Teaching and Learning for full information. 

Welfare and Hardship Support

What arrangements will be in place to cope with demand  for mental health provision this term?

The College welfare team will continue to provide support to students and staff using online platforms.  Our Welfare Coordinator is the first point of contact for advice and support.  All Pembroke students also have access to the full range of support services provided by Oxford University. 

I am facing significant financial hardship and am very worried about it.  What should I do?

Please get in touch with Kirstie Morris in the Academic Office team for confidential advice.  The College and the University have hardship funds available and Kirstie will help you with an application.

I am an international student on a practical course who needs to return for Trinity Term, but the costs involved in air fares, quarantine and testing are unaffordable for me.  What should I do?

We know that not all students will be able to return for Trinity Term.  The University has waived the residency requirement and all departments will continue to provide online learning if you are unable to be here in person – please contact them for details and let the Academic Office team know of your situation too.

At Pembroke we understand that students who do travel back to Oxford from outside the UK may face significant financial difficulties as a result.  If this is the case, there may be an opportunity to access College hardship funding, including for reasonable travel costs, so please get in touch with us.  For clarity, hardship funding will only be awarded for travel costs if approved in advance.

Facilities in College

Will the library be open during Trinity Term?

Yes, the College library is currently open but restricted to much smaller numbers than usual.  A click-and-collect service will continue to operate for those in College and anyone still working remotely can request scanning and book-purchase support from the Librarian.

Will households still be in operation in College?

Yes.  We still need to operate households for those living in College to ensure that we can stop the spread of the virus if cases are identified.  As before, household members can socialise without the need for social distancing or the use of face coverings indoors, and will isolate together if a member is tested for, or tests positive for, the virus. Our Isolation Coordinator will ensure support is provided and will be in touch with students who are returning for Trinity Term to confirm household arrangements.

Note that College households are not the same as domestic households. For the purposes of current government regulations on social mixing the ‘rule of 6’ (ie 6 people max in social groups) applies in College.

Will I be charged for accommodation and food if I don’t return?

Pembroke continues to operate a policy based on charging from the date when you are allowed to return to College.  For those who are returning for face-to-face teaching in Oxford in Trinity Term charging will start from your return date or Wednesday 21st April (0th week), whichever is the earlier.  Those who are given individual permission to return to College under the government exemptions will be charged from the date they come back into residence. 

If you choose not to return to College accommodation once your course resumes in-person you are liable for residential charges under your contract.  We will consider exceptional circumstances if you contact us to make your case, and have particular sympathy with international students for whom a return may be very challenging logistically and financially.

How will catering be provided during Hilary Term?

For those in residence on catered contracts, meals will be provided in Hall.  Farthings will reopen and there will be themed evening meals served here too.  Full details will follow at the start of term.

What about student kitchens?  Will these be open for use by those in residence?

At the beginning of term all student kitchens will be open.  Households will be allocated a specific facility and given guidance on use – kitchens may have to be shared between multiple households and in that case use may have to be on a one-at-a-time basis.  In every case we ask that all students clean up carefully after each use and wipe down surfaces with the antibacterial wipes provided.  Shared kitchens have always been a concern as a transmission risk so we will carefully monitor their use.  If outbreaks occur it may be necessary to close some or all facilities as part of containment measures.

Will Farthings café be open, and what about the College bar?

Farthings will reopen for Trinity Term, with takeaway available as well as limited study space.  Themed evening meals will be available on some days of the week.  Full details will be available on the intranet at the start of term.  Reopening of the bar will follow at some point in term, subject to government guidance.

Will there be additional study space available for those in College, apart from the library and bedrooms?

We will do what we can to provide additional space and will communicate details to those in residence early in term.  During Trinity Term many rooms will be needed for students to take exams, and it remains unclear whether/when face-to-face teaching will resume in College.  For these reasons space for personal study is likely to be very limited.  The designated study space for GAB residents will continue to be available throughout this term.

Can we socialise on Chapel Quad outdoors?

Students in residence are welcome to use Chapel Quad as a social space in Trinity Term as usual, but the ‘rule of 6’ must be applied – as in all other outdoor spaces in College.  This means groups of up to 6 people maximum can socialise outdoors on the quad without wearing face coverings – please respect this requirement.  We expect croquet to be a regular activity on the Quad (again, observing the rule of 6).  Please try to maintain some social distancing to prevent the spread of infection. 

What facilities will be open to graduate students who live in Oxford but not in College accommodation?

Access for non-resident students will be to Pidges for post, the Lodge for urgent enquiries, and to the Library. If you only need to borrow books, please use Click & Collect as much as possible.  The MCR Common Room space will be available for study, with a limited capacity and the MCR Committee are working with staff teams to provide some small-scale gatherings in College which adhere to government restrictions.  We look forward to being able to see you in College during term.  

What cleaning services will be provided in College in Trinity Term?

Scouts will continue to clean communal areas and to empty bins which are left outside bedrooms.

Isolation & Testing

I am returning to College for Trinity Term.  Will I have access to lateral flow testing on my return?

When you are contacted to confirm your return date you will be asked to complete a form to indicate your intention to take part in the return-to-College testing scheme.  A test kit will then be registered to you and will be available in your room (for those in College accommodation) or for collection from the Lodge (for those living in private accommodation) on your return.  Please make sure you read our web information on Trinity Term testing so that you are clear on the processes being followed.  See below for information about access to regular testing during term.

I have been in residence over the Easter vacation. Will I have access to lateral flow testing before the start of term?

Yes. All students living in College accommodation will find a test kit in their pidge. Those living in private accommodation may collect a kit from the Lodge. Before you take the tests, you must complete this form so that the test kit may be registered to you via the EAS system. Please make sure you read our web information on Trinity Term testing so that you are clear on the processes being followed. See below for information about access to regular testing during term.

I am returning from abroad.  Will COVID-testing be provided and how will I manage my isolation period?

Once you have confirmed your return date with us, our Isolation Coordinator will contact you with further instructions about international travel testing and support during self-isolation.  Note that if you are returning from a “Red List” country you will have to self-isolate in a government-approved hotel (at your own expense) rather than in College.  The tests required for and after international travel are not provided by the College and will be at your own expense.  Please note that international returners are not required to take lateral flow tests, as you will be partaking in the necessary travel testing processes instead. 

What arrangements are in place for regular testing for students during Trinity Term?

All domestic students will be asked to take lateral flow tests on their return to College accommodation.  If you do not take the tests you will have to isolate for 10 days on arrival to protect our community.

Regular testing will be provided during Trinity Term for all students and staff by Oxford University.  Full details on this can be found here and we encourage you to make full use of the service. 

If I develop symptoms of COVID this term while in Oxford what should I do?

As before, if you develop symptoms of the virus while in residence (high temperature, new persistent cough or loss/change of taste/smell) you should immediately book a test with the University’s EAS service, inform the College via the lodge and self-isolate.  You will be contacted by our Isolation Coordinator and support will be provided by the College team.

What will the process be for getting a vaccine if my age group is called before the end of term?

You will need to follow NHS guidance as this is released.  Vaccinations are being administered in Oxford as elsewhere.  Look out for information which relates to your age group and make sure you are registered with our College GP.