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Travel Quarantine Guidance

All students returning to College – whether from within the UK or abroad – must notify the College in advance and follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation set out below.

brown bag lunch

Updated 14 May 2021

Arrivals from abroad:

Arrivals from within the UK:

Students returning to Cambridge from within the UK are required to:

  • Take a covid test no more than 48 hours prior to your intended arrival at College. This can be one of the free tests available from pharmacies all across the UK.
  • If you test positive, you cannot travel and you must get a PCR test to confirm results.
  • If you test negative, you may return to College, but must socially distance and wear a face covering within your household until you receive a negative test result from the Asymptomatic Testing (results on Thursday). You do not have to stay in your room but you may not use any of the communal spaces, including the marquees, dining hall and library, until you have tested negative.

These policies will be kept under review and updated as circumstances change.


If you are required to quarantine

Our policies for quarantine in College accommodation have been developed following extensive consultation by University representatives with Public Health England, with other Colleges and within Wolfson, to ensure that we have the capacity to provide the support students may require.

When you arrive in the UK you should go straight where you are staying, using public transport only if there is no alternative. If you do travel on public transport, you must wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth, and stay 2 metres apart from other people. Everyone arriving from abroad (whether required to quarantine or not), should familiarise themselves with UK regulations for face coverings.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection you should not travel. If you develop symptoms while in transit, tell one of the crew on your plane, boat, train or bus. They will notify staff in the airport, port or station so they can tell you what to do when you arrive. If you have coronavirus symptoms you will not be allowed to travel by public transport and will need to demonstrate that you have suitable accommodation for self-isolation. If you do develop coronavirus symptoms when in transit, you should also contact your College once you arrive in the UK.  

If you are quarantining at College you should go to the Porters' Lodge on arrival to sign in and collect your room key.

What does quarantine for travellers returning to the UK entail?

You will find an extensive answer to this question at Coronavirus (COVID-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK.

You should self-isolate for a full 10 days in one place, where you can have food and other necessities delivered. The 10-day period is counted from the day after you leave a non-exempt country, or territory or island. A non-exempt country, or territory or island is any country, or territory or island that is not on the travel corridors list.

  • When you are in travel quarantine, you cannot go shopping or to a restaurant
  • You cannot leave your accommodation to visit public areas
  • You must avoid contact with other people as much as possible
Can I shorten my travel quarantine with a private COVID-19 test?

From 15th December, the government has introduced a new Test to Release for International Travel scheme, allowing some international arrivals to take a private COVID-19 test after five days, and stop self-isolating if the result is negative.

It is NOT currently possible to use tests from the University's asymptomatic testing programmes for this scheme. This reflects a number of regulatory and operational barriers. The University will keep these under review, and update this information if government regulations change.

Please note that students who are isolating after arriving in the UK from abroad must NOT take part in the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme whilst they are self-isolating.

Will the College provide accommodation for students required to quarantine?

If you have confirmed College accommodation for Easter term, you may book additional nights of College accommodation to complete any required quarantine by emailing the Accommodation Manager, Jo Fisher.

What if I am unable to arrive in time to complete quarantine before classes begin?

The College and the University know that, once it is possible to return to College, some students may face delays in making travel arrangements. You should be able to complete quarantine by following classes or meeting with supervisors remotely, but you must notify the relevant individuals well in advance so that all necessary arrangements can be made. 

Will I be able to spend quarantine in the room I have booked for the coming term?

All travel quarantine can be taken in your licensed room (booking additional nights if necessary). You must let the College know that you will be quarantining by filling out the Return to College form before planning your travel, and informing the Porters when you arrive.. If occupying a room with shared bathroom facilities, you must follow all relevant guidance to keep everyone safe.

Am I required to quarantine in College accommodation?

No. You may quarantine anywhere in the UK: with friends, with family, in your own private accommodation or in a hotel. If you plan to quarantine outside of College, please inform us of your arrival date and email us a copy of your Public Health Passenger Locator form.

How will I get food during quarantine?

You may order food for delivery from the College Dining Hall for Lunch (12:30-2) and Dinner (6-7:30 pm) by following these simple instructions: 

Note that deliveries are only made between 12:30pm-2pm and 6pm-7:30pm. Staff can deliver breakfast supplies (cereal, tea bags, instant coffee) with your dinner order, but we aren't able to deliver breakfast.  If you require basic provisions not listed on the cafeteria menus (milk, fruit, cereals etc.), please indicate this on the WuFoo Room Service form,  and the team will try to assist. 

If you are unable to order in advance (i.e. because you have just been required to go into self-isolation, complete the order form as soon as possible and ring the main kitchen to confirm they have received your order:  01223 335945 Food Service staff will deliver your order to your door

You can also order take-away meals and groceries from the many local delivery services and pick them up from the area by the flagpole in front of the College. Please wear a face covering, maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else in the College grounds while walking between your room and the delivery pick-up point and minimise contact with surfaces you pass through en route.

You may use the kitchen that is closest to your room to prepare meals, but must observe the following guidelines:

  • Only one person in the kitchen at a time;  you may need to organise a group chat with other residents  to coordinate access to the kitchen
  • Wash your hands before, during and after using the kitchen
  • Wash and put away any items you have used before leaving the kitchen
  • Clean kitchen surfaces (including the handles to microwaves, kettles and refrigerators) before and after you use them (supplies will be provided in each kitchen)
  • Wear a face covering at all times when outside your room, removing it in the kitchen only when necessary to taste your food or drink
What College buildings may I enter while in quarantine?

Barring emergencies, quarantining students may not enter any College building except their residential block. 

Will I be able to use the College gardens while in quarantine?

Residents in travel quarantine may not walk freely about the grounds, but there is a garden space in the College that you may use provided you observe the following conditions:

  • wash your hands before leaving your room
  • wear a face covering whenever outside your room
  • enter and exit your block by the most direct route
  • do not enter other College buildings
  • maintain at least 2 metres social distance from others at all times (unless you are sharing a couple's room or flat, in which case you do not have to socially distance)

The space is the garden area directly opposite the main entrance to the Chancellor's Centre, between Fuch's House and the Family Flats. There is a low chain across the front of this area with a blue sign that reads 'Keep Clear: Emergency Access Only'. You may cross this chain to sit on the grass, stroll around, do sit-ups or anything else, provided you observe the guidance above.

Can I get books from the Wolfson Library while in quarantine? 

The library is happy to help. Firstly, if you have access to your course Moodle site, you might already find that many of your readings have been uploaded as PDFs or links to ebooks. Also, check to see if you have any Reading Lists Online. If not, or if you want to see what the Wolfson Library holds, use the library catalogue iDiscover. If you identify books that you need, or would prefer a PDF of a book chapter, just email the library and we will bring the books to your College residence or email you the PDF. You are also welcome to suggest that the library purchase specific books.

How else can the Wolfson Library help me during quarantine? 

The library has great information about study/academic skills you might want to brush up on. We are also running a series of online workshops during Michaelmas term. More information is available about these on the WolfWorks page and Virtual Shut Up and Write. The library also has several jigsaw puzzles you can borrow for two weeks. Email the library, and they'll bring one to you!

I have left belongings in College storage. Can I get access to these?

Yes. Email Neil Newman or David Rivers as soon as possible of your arrival date and provide a description of the items in storage. We will move your belongings into your room before you arrive to begin your quarantine. We need at least three working days’ notice to arrange for the retrieval and delivery of belongings from storage. Retrieval of belongings once you are in quarantine may be possible but cannot be guaranteed.

How much will I have to pay for accommodation during quarantine?

Additional nights of accommodation for quarantine purposes will be charged at the standard student rate for the room that you have booked for Lent Term. 

Paying for two extra weeks of accommodation will be a serious financial hardship for me. Can the College help?

Any Wolfson student who experiences unanticipated financial hardship may apply for a Wolfson College Hardship Grant. Consult your personal Tutor in the first instance to discuss the application process.

What other support is available to me while I am in quarantine?
  • Your Tutors are available for consultation by email or, if requested, videoconference.
  • Porters are on site 24/7. Contact them at any time with any concerns at 01223 335900.
  • The student-run QSupport service can help with book deliveries and small errands. They can be reached at, M-F, 8-9 pm and Sat-Sun, 4-5 pm.
  • The College Nurse is available for telephone consultation every weekday. Send your contact details to:
  • Please also explore the many programmes offering remote support to University students at this time.
What if I develop symptoms of coronavirus while I am in quarantine?

The guidelines set out above are subject to change in accord with updates to UK government, Public Health England or University policy. Please consult current UK government instructions for travellers frequently before you start your journey;  these may change without notice.

If you have questions about quarantine after reviewing the information above,  please contact the Tutorial Manager (for undergraduates) or the Postgraduate Administrator (postgraduates).


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