Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope has said that plans for Easter Term will depend on what the Government permits Bart Jaillet/Unsplash

Students who have been living in University accommodation throughout the past term will be permitted to temporarily travel home during the vacation period “where it is necessary,” the Government announced in a blog post yesterday (05/03).

Students taking advantage of this travel exemption, which will last from March 8th until April 29th, will be encouraged to take a test before leaving and returning to campus.

The announcement adds that “we strongly advise students to stay at their term time accommodation over the Easter break, especially if they are returning to university from 8 March.” The post acknowledges that “there are exemptions in place for those who must return for mental health and wellbeing reasons.”

The guidance adds: “It is vital that we follow national guidance, and keep travel to an absolute minimum, in order to reduce the risk of transmission around the country. As such, we advise students not to return home for the Easter Break and to stay at their term time accommodation, where possible.”

This follows the Government’s announcement of its “cautious” roadmap out of the national lockdown restrictions, under which all primary and secondary school students, alongside University students on practical courses, will return to in-person teaching from Monday (08/03).

The roadmap states that a review of University teaching will take place in April, with the hope that students can begin returning later that month. The details of this are not yet known, as Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope reaffirmed in an email to students earlier this week: he referred to the “continuing uncertainty” surrounding the plans for Easter term, which “will depend entirely on what is allowed by the Government.”

The current stance of the collegiate University, according to email from Toope on February 26th, is that students should remain in College accommodation during the upcoming vacation. It added that “we cannot assume that all University students will be allowed to return”, alongside instructing students to remain in Cambridge during this period.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Graham Virgo, reaffirmed this in a recent interview with Varsity, where he stated that the “legal regime against travel” would prevent students from travelling between their term-time and home addresses.


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Virgo also told Varsity that the issue of rent over this period “is a college matter” but he “understands” that “students will be expected to pay rent.”

The latest guidance for University students states that “returning students should be tested twice upon their return to University, or they should self-isolate for ten days instead.”

Professor Graham Virgo, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University, has since emailed students on March 9th, clarifying that the travel exemption is open to students and encouraging the use of Univesity testing facilities prior to travelling.

Virgo also warned against travelling abroad due to concerns that students “may not be able to return” and would subsequently need to “seek permission for remote study for the Easter Term.”

This email added that the University is “still waiting for clarification from the Government as to when all students will be permitted to return to Cambridge,” noting that this information is not expected “before early April.”

This article was updated following an email to all students from Professor Graham Virgo on March 9th.