COVID-19 Guidance for Students

We hope this page helps students with any queries or concerns you might have related to the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also see the Homerton College COVID-19 Induction Talk 2021. Students should contact the Senior Tutor if your specific question is not addressed below.

Find out more about National Government guidelines and the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni scheme regarding COVID-19. 

Students are encouraged to share feedback on how we can improve support in college during this challenging time. To help keep the College community safe, students are also able to anonymously report any COVID related issues using the Student Feedback Form.

Homerton restrictions and support

Please note – Homerton asks that you self-isolate immediately should a close-contact or member of your household test positive for COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status. Once in isolation, you may request a PCR test. Should your test result be negative, you may not need to self-isolate further, see ‘Positive tests and isolation‘ below for more details.

As members of Colleges, the University, and the local community, we have a responsibility to limit the spread of the virus. To ensure the safety of our community, the college will be using a four-tiered system of protection, with each tier having more stringent controls to mitigate infections, as shown in the figure below.

The current situation is much better than it was before, and these restrictions are in place to hopefully allow us to have a more normal experience this year. We hope, by living carefully and following these minor restrictions, it can allow us to keep hall and the Griffin bar open, and host the social events that you all enjoy, including your much missed bops.


Current risk level –  GREEN (with mandatory face coverings)

This means that all in-person social and academic activities are going ahead as planned. However:

  • Face coverings are now mandatory for all students, staff and visitors in all indoor communal spaces and shared offices  from tomorrow (Tuesday 30th November), including when moving through corridors and across communal rooms. They are not required when outdoors, eating or drinking, nor if a person is exempt from wearing a face covering.
  • All attendees at large gatherings, such as Christmas formal halls, will be required to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test result on the door.
Traffic Light Covid

What can you do?

Get vaccinated

To protect one another, the most important thing we can do is to get vaccinated: vaccination protects you against severe disease and protects others by reducing transmission. See the University’s information for students on vaccination. We strongly urge you, if you are not already, to get vaccinated and help protect the Homerton community.

Protect each other

It is important to understand that no vaccine is 100% effective and we need to continue to take the following simple measures to reduce the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19: 

  • COVID-19 is most commonly spread through close contact with an infected person. If an infected person is close, they can spread the virus via respiratory droplets which are produced when they breathe, cough, sneeze, talk or sing. Limiting close contact and wearing face coverings can reduce this risk. As such, you are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in all communal areas.
  • Socialise outside if you can, and make sure rooms are well ventilated, for example by opening windows.
  • It is less common to catch COVID-19 via contact with a contaminated surface but it is possible to be infected if you touch a surface contaminated with the virus and then touch your nose, eyes or mouth. Hand washing with soap and water/ using hand sanitiser remains important.

Get tested

The University of Cambridge weekly pooled Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme began on Monday 27 September 2021 and should continue for the whole of Michaelmas term, subject to review.

Students who have participated previously will automatically be enrolled for the coming year. If you have not taken part before, please sign-up in advance using the online consent form. If you will be living in private accommodation, you will also need to contact us as soon as possible to confirm details of your ‘testing pool’. Homerton College’s ‘swab day’ is now every Tuesday, when tests are collected from outside the Porters Lodge, to be tested in the screening programme.

As previously, a small number of students will not be eligible for the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme (for example, students in private accommodation who are unable to form a ‘testing pool’). If you are one of those students, we recommend that you instead sign-up for twice-weekly testing using lateral flow tests (LFTs). In the event of a positive result, you will be able to obtain a confirmatory PCR test from the college that same day by contacting the Porters Lodge.

Positive tests and isolation

In case of a positive test, whether NHS, Test & Trace and PCR or LFT, you must email Homerton Isolation Team for record purposes and advice/clarification as needed.

If an asymptomatic screening test result is positive, the entire household will have tests delivered outside their rooms by the Porters. This is not the case for tests outside the asymptomatic screening programme - in this case, you must order a test yourself (see point 2 below).

If your test is positive, as well as receiving your test result from the University, you will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace. Even if double vaccinated, you will be required by law to self-isolate for 10 days, as described on the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni and UK government websites. Homerton will be informed of your test result and contact you to provide support.

Should a member of your household test positive (find your household and test pool or if a close-contact is thought to have, or confirmed to have, COVID-19, the college requests, regardless of your vaccination status, that you follow the following steps in an effort to keep the wider college community safe:

  1. Return to your room immediately to self-isolate.
  2. Arrange a PCR test either via the University (we strongly recommend this) or the NHS (if the University pods are not available, e.g. at the weekend). Please note that the symptomatic tests are run separately from the asymptomatic screening programme. You are allowed to leave your room to take a PCR test.
  3. Let the Homerton Isolation Team know as soon as possible when you receive your test results. Should your test result be negative, you do not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply: you are double vaccinated in the UK, under 18.5 years of age, you’ve taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial, or you’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons. However, if under the current UK government guidance, you fall under the non-vaccinated status, i.e. you either are not vaccinated at all, have only received one dose or not a full course of two doses plus the 14 day clearance period after your last vaccination, or finally, you are vaccinated abroad but this is not accepted under the UK rules, then you are required to isolate for a full 10 days if there is any positive test result received within your household.
  4. Read the information provided in the downloads list on this page. This will provide further information on how to order meals, receive deliveries, exit your room in emergencies, and on access to outdoor space and (for those in Household isolation only) kitchen use.
  5. Keep in touch with the Homerton Isolation Team with any queries; with the Student Health Advisor with any medical concerns; and with the Porters if you require immediate assistance (they are available 24/7).
  6. Contact your Tutor if you think the period of isolation may affect your plans. You will be contacted by the College about any changed exam arrangements.

Quarantine information

Students needing to Quarantine in College can find updated information within the downloads on this page. 

Testing and self-isolation support for students

Further information regarding isolation can be found within the downloads on the right hand side of this page. 

Mental health support and advice

Find Information about maintaining good mental health during Self-Isolation within the downloads on the right hand side of this page. 

Useful contacts

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