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Guidance for students who must quarantine

The UK currently requires travellers arriving from many countries and territories to spend 14 days in quarantine. Here are the arrangements for quarantine in College accommodation, including QSupport, the Wolfson support service for students in quarantine.

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Updated 17 September

If you are required to quarantine on arrival in the UK, you are expected to quarantine for 14 days and must follow government guidance that places specific restrictions on your movements.

Some countries and territories are exempt from the requirement; check this link frequently to find out whether your country is exempt or if you must quarantine. Note that the list of exempt countries and territories changes with little advance notice. 

If you are travelling from an exempt country, but make a transit stop in, or if you visit a country or territory that is non-exempt in the 14 days before you arrive in England you will need to undergo the 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

All travellers entering the UK from abroad must complete an online Public Health Passenger Locator form with journey and contact details 48 hours before arrival in the UK. You must present these details upon arrival in at Border Control in England. The online form is located here. 

If you are arriving from within the Common Travel Area (CTA, comprising Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands) and have been in the CTA for the last 14 days before entering the UK, you need not complete the Public Health passenger locator form or self-isolate.

Students from overseas who are registered on a course at a University in the UK are entitled to free medical treatment from the National Health Service (NHS). You must register with an NHS General Practitioner (GP) as soon as possible after you arrive.You can register with a GP remotely, without having to visit the doctors’ premises.  

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. The key points, if you are required to quarantine, are as follows:

You should self-isolate for a full 14 days in one place, where you can have food and other necessities delivered You cannot go shopping You cannot leave your accommodation to visit public areas You must avoid contact with other people as much as possible

Will the College provide accommodation for students required to quarantine?

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

At the moment, we are unable to offer College accommodation for quarantine to students who will be living in private accommodation in Michaelmas term.

When should I plan to arrive in Cambridge if I am required to quarantine?

If you are required to quarantine, we encourage you to arrive at least 14 days before the official start of your course or, if you are a new student, of in-person orientation (dates below). Earlier arrivals may be possible if rooms are available. 

New undergraduates should plan to arrive in time to complete any required quarantine before the start of in-person orientation activities that begin on the afternoon of Thursday 1 October and continue all day on Friday 2 October. New postgraduates should plan to arrive in time to complete any required quarantine on or before Saturday 3 October, as per your license. College welcome activities for all undergraduate and postgraduate students will commence on 3 October and continue through the following week. Continuing students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, should plan their return to Cambridge in time to complete any required quarantine before the official start of instruction on Thursday 8 October.

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

The College and the University know that some students may face delays in making travel arrangements.  You should be able to complete quarantine during the first two weeks of term 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. 

New undergraduates who are unable to arrive in time to complete any required quarantine period before orientation begins on the evening of 1 October should email the Undergraduate Administrator, Ms Debbie Miles, putting ‘quarantine question’ in the subject line of the email. Continuing undergraduates who are unable to arrive before the start of classes on 8 October should notify their Tutor, their Director of Studies and the Tutorial Office Manager. New postgraduates who are unable to arrive before 3 October should email the Postgraduate Administrator, Mrs Kim Allen, putting ‘quarantine question’ in the subject line of the email. Continuing postgraduates who are unable to arrive before the start of instruction on 8 October should notify their Tutor, their principal Supervisor and email the Postgraduate Administrator, Mrs Kim Allen, putting ‘quarantine question’ in the subject line of the email.

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

We will do our best to book all early arrivals directly into your assigned room, but if that room is occupied by another student until the end of September we will arrange another room for you to complete quarantine.

The College do its best to provide an en suite room to students required to quarantine. If you must complete quarantine in non-en suite accommodation, you and the other students with whom you share a bathroom and/or toilet will have to follow very strict social distancing guidelines. 

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?

The College dining hall is open for take-away service for lunch and dinner. You may not pick up these meals yourself, but College has recruited volunteers to deliver take-away meals at specified times to students in quarantine.

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; as rooms fill up you may need to organise a group chat 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?

We would like to be able to offer quarantining students the opportunity to leave their rooms for some fresh air, but need to find a way that conforms to current government guidance. Please watch for further guidance on this point.

Can I get books from the Wolfson Library to prepare for my course 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. 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. The library will be running Quarantine Study Sessions from 3.00-4.20 on the 16th, 17th, 18th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th of September. These will constitute 10 minutes to say hello, 1 hour to hunker down and work, and 10 minutes to say goodbye. It's a great to way to meet other students and take a break from Netflix! You should receive an email with the link to the Zoom meeting. The link will also be posted in relevant Wolfson student Facebook groups. 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 the Accommodation Manager 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 Michaelmas 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?

Tutors will introduce themselves to new students by email and offer a Zoom or Skype meeting soon after you begin quarantine to discuss any concerns. You may contact them by email at any time after your arrival to ask questions or request a follow-up meeting. Some Tutors may be on holiday in September; if that is the case we will put you in touch with another Tutor to provide support while you are in quarantine.

The new Wolfson Quarantine Support Service (QSupport) and the Tutorial team are eager to do all they can to support you during your 14 days of solitude. Wolfson students Daniel, Hong and Yi Xing are available to answer questions and assist with small essential errands while you are in quarantine.

They are available 7 days a week from 09:30-10:30 am and 20:00-21:00 pm

Email them at

Send your full name, room number and contact information (phone, Skype, etc). At the moment they are responding to queries during the specified hours, but if demand justifies, we will increase the hours that they are available.

The service is intended to assist any student in quarantine. All support is provided remotely: Quarantine supporters can pick up post for you from the Porters' Lodge and leave outside your door or pick up emergency groceries for you from the Co-Op, but they can't chat with you in person until your quarantine is over.

Your Tutors are also available for consultation by email or, if requested, videoconference. If you're not sure who your College Tutor is, please contact the

Porters are on site 24/7. Contact them at any time with any concerns at 01223 335900.

What if I develop symptoms of coronavirus while I am in quarantine?

Phone the Porters’ Lodge to inform them, so they can advise and support you Follow the  University’s instructions to schedule a quick, free test Follow the normal (non-quarantine) UK guidance for possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.

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.


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