Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope says the decision "follows Government guidance, but goes further in time to avoid uncertainty and disruption in the middle of the term" Lucas Maddalena

The University and Colleges will remain open for Lent term, however, teaching will take place entirely online for undergraduates and postgraduates, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope announced in an email to all students this evening (06/01).

The "difficult decision" was made following recent government guidance but goes even further in time, Toope wrote, so as "to avoid uncertainty and disruption in the middle of the term."

The University will still permit the return of clinical Medical, clinical Veterinary and PGCE students, alongside the exemptions previously listed, including exemptions for those who lack access to study spaces or facilities at home, and health and safety reasons. 

Toope acknowledged that “students are facing considerable anxiety and uncertainty as we begin Lent term” and promised that “those students who are currently in Cambridge are being asked to remain in Cambridge, where they can expect to be supported by the University and Colleges.”

Toope's email further details that "international students who are able to change their return travel plans should do so" and that any "students who travel to Cambridge will have to stay in Cambridge for the duration of the national lockdown."

Meanwhile Toope encouraged postgraduate research students  to work from their out-of-term address if they are able to do so, although "postgraduate research students who need to be in Cambridge for their research projects can return provided this has been discussed and agreed with their College and Department". 


Mountain View

Cambridge responds to national lockdown as further guidance on Lent Term is expected

The announcement comes after updated government guidance, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s national address on Monday night (04/01), which instructed that teaching should take place entirely online until at least mid-February, with the exception of medicine, veterinary medicine, and PGCE students.

Addressing concerns about rent, Toope added that: “Colleges have agreed that rent will only be charged by Colleges to students if they are living in their College accommodation during the national lockdown period instigated by government. Colleges will not charge students who are not able to return to Cambridge as a result of the current government legislation and guidance.”

The news comes shortly after 62,322 cases were reported in the UK today (06/01), alongside 1,041 deaths, marking the “highest number of cases since mass testing began,” the BBC reported.

This is the second time the University has had to adapt to a remote term as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, after moving to the red phase of its Coronavirus response in anticipation of the first UK Lockdown in March last year.