The University’s Covid Gold Team has recommended a cautious approach to the lifting of restrictions Julius Dedenas/UNSPLASH

The University of Cambridge will require face masks to be worn and one metre social distancing measures to be maintained after 19th July, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope has announced.

There will be a ‘transitional phrase’ after national Covid restrictions are lifted, after the University’s Covid Gold Team recommended a cautious strategy to the removal of Covid safety restrictions.

This comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that plans to lift current Covid restrictions on 19th July will go ahead, with rules covering face-masks and social distancing to be lifted.

Professor Toope stated yesterday (12/07) that Department for Education guidance outlines that the University must carry out its own risk assessments in order to reduce the transmission of Covid-19, despite suggesting the potential operational benefits of scrapping restrictions.

The risk assessment will involve the consideration of ventilation and social distancing in university buildings.

Toope stated: “It is less challenging, from an operational point of view, to keep some restrictions in place and ease them when appropriate, than to jettison all restrictions only to have to re-introduce them later.”

The transitional period is also intended to give staff and students to get vaccinated before the easing of restrictions within the University.


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Professor Eilís Ferran, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Relations, will email staff from July 19 about returning to the office for those currently working from home, as well as plans to trial hybrid working.

The University is currently planning to bring back in-person teaching in the new academic year without social distancing, with more information coming this week.

Professor Toope stated: “It is impossible, at this moment, to predict what the public health circumstances will be in October. National restrictions are being lifted at a time of increased transmission.

“This makes any planning for October very challenging. Yet plan we must – I know that students and staff expect clarity regarding the university’s operations.

“In addition, the university is legally required to let students know what it will deliver in terms of education in the next academic year.”

Lectures will be recorded, and individual departments may embark upon a mixture of face-to-face and online teaching.