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Coronavirus: FAQs for Fitzwilliam College students
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Michaelmas FAQs

The intention of this webpage is to provide guidance, based on the current advice from Government/Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Cambridge for student members of Fitzwilliam College (undergraduate and postgraduate). This global pandemic is an unprecedented and constantly developing situation, and we are working very closely with colleagues throughout the University and beyond to respond constructively and plan positively. We will continue to update these FAQs as the situation develops.

First published: 18 March
Latest version: 5 November

Where can I keep up to date with the latest information on COVID-19 virus?

Please refer to the University and Fitzwilliam College webpages for up to date information and links to UK Government guidance relating to health, travel, visa and immigration matters, and staff working arrangements. Take particular note of the Guidance for Resident Students. They also contain important University statements on arrangements for teaching and learning, assessment, and research, and represent the central definitive resource for University information on COVID-19. Please check those pages frequently - all members of College must take responsibility for keeping up to date with the latest public health advice.


The latest government guidelines are available to view here.


From 5 November to 2 December there are restrictions to the circumstances in which anyone is permitted to leave their household. All students are reminded that under these restrictions they are required to remain at University until the end of term, other than for exceptional medical reasons. 

The intention of this webpage is to provide guidance, based on the current advice from Government/Public Health England (PHE) and the University of Cambridge for student members of Fitzwilliam College (undergraduate and postgraduate). This global pandemic is an unprecedented and constantly developing situation, and we are working very closely with colleagues throughout the University and beyond to respond constructively and plan positively. We will continue to update these FAQs as the situation develops.

First published: 18 March
Latest version: 5 November

Where can I keep up to date with the latest information on COVID-19 virus?

Please refer to the University and Fitzwilliam College webpages for up to date information and links to UK Government guidance relating to health, travel, visa and immigration matters, and staff working arrangements. Take particular note of the Guidance for Resident Students. They also contain important University statements on arrangements for teaching and learning, assessment, and research, and represent the central definitive resource for University information on COVID-19. Please check those pages frequently - all members of College must take responsibility for keeping up to date with the latest public health advice.

**5th November - All students have been sent an email containing important information regarding the English lockdown. This page will be updated shortly to incorporate changes**


What are the College’s priorities?

We are committed to remaining a supportive academic and social community whatever the circumstances. We have prepared extensively for the academic year ahead, and have implemented all appropriate measures to ensure our facilities and services are 'Covid-secure'. 


Which facilities and services are open in the College at present?

Most College facilities and services are open as normal, operating with new safety protocols to minimise spread of infection. Please familiarise yourself with guidelines in place: these are displayed in all public spaces in College. The weekly College eBulletin, starting in Week 1, will inform you of any restrictions to facilities.


What will happen in case of a COVID resurgence?

In the case of a second or local lockdown, the University and the Colleges will, as ever, be guided by the advice of PHE and the country's legislation. Were there to be a resurgence of infections, the most likely scenario is thought to be a restriction on travel and on social gatherings, rather than (as in the first wave) the total closure of institutions such as universities. Fitzwilliam College is committed to offering accommodation to all students, as long as it is legal and practically possible to do so, and will prioritise those who do not have any other home to go to, for example care‐leavers, estranged students, and UK or international students who cannot travel to their own home town/country. Within any limits imposed upon us, we will make every effort to support all our students.


I am worried – where can I seek support?

Speak to your Tutor or the Senior Tutor. They will endeavour to help. If your Tutor is not available, we have back-up arrangements in place.


What precautionary measures can help stop the spread of the virus?

Follow the Government guidance on staying safe outside your homeWash your hands thoroughly and frequently, for 20 seconds, especially before eating or cooking and when moving around the site. Use tissues for coughs and sneezes and bin them after use. Thoroughly clean up after yourself in communal spaces. Adhere to social distancing recommendations and maintain 2m distancing outside your household.

Please also read the Fitzwilliam College Policy on the use of face coverings.


I suspect that I may have coronavirus (COVID-19). What should I do?

If you have relevant symptoms and need to take a test, please make the arrangements directly and phone the Porters (01223 332000) to let them know. Do not go to see them face-to-face. The Porters are also available to help if you need assistance in booking your test - again, phone them.

Please follow the latest guidance, including information on rapid testing available within the University, and on steps which must be taken by you and by other members of your household. 

If you need to enter self-isolation, see the information sheet describing arrangements to support you during this period. You are asked to identify two friends as supporters who can bring food and other essential supplies and stay in regular contact. If you are unable to provide two names, the College will endeavour to coordinate this support from a pool of volunteers. (If you are willing to volunteer, please contact the Senior Tutor.)


I need financial support as a result of the COVID-19 situation – can the College help me? 

Such requests will be received sympathetically and assessed on a case-by-case basis. It is always possible for any student to apply for additional funding because of unforeseen hardship. Please speak to your Tutor in the first instance.


What about insurance for my possessions?

Endsleigh Insurance has recognised the special circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and has accordingly confirmed changes to Student Possessions Insurance cover, which include amendments relating to students leaving possessions inside their room, students travelling home, and providing storage for student possessions. The amendments are detailed on the Personal Possessions Insurance page of the College website and on a dedicated page from Endsleigh Insurance.


I have just completed my degree this year – what happens about graduation?

The University determined that it was not possible to hold in-person graduation ceremonies this academic year. The College is committed to ensuring that all Fitzwilliam students who complete their degrees during this extraordinary period are invited to return to the College to celebrate their graduation in style, with a formal ceremony at the Senate House – whether or not the degree has formally been conferred in absence – and to be reunited in person with friends, just as soon as conditions allow. It is hoped that provisional dates will be announced soon.


What accommodation payments/rental charges will there be during Michaelmas Term?

Rental contracts will operate from the time you arrive and take up residence. The College will not charge rent for periods of absence in the following circumstances:

  • If UK Government issues a strong direction to students to return home.
  • If the University or the College requests students to leave Cambridge.

Minimum Meals Charge will be suspended for the term in recognition of the uncertainties that inevitably exist. Kitchen Fixed Charge will be charged in the normal way, as it is anticipated that a collegial dining experience will be provided. Whilst the MMC is suspended, the default charge for all students will be the lower KFC relevant to whether living in or out of College main site.