The University of Oxford has today emailed its students asking most of them not to return to Oxford until January 25th, unless they meet “very specific” criteria.

In the email, the University said: “If you are taking part in initial teacher training or medicine courses, you should return to Oxford as indicated previously. Students on a small number of additional courses (for example, some of those with professional accreditations) may be invited to come back to Oxford earlier than other students. Further guidance will follow on this next week.” All other teaching will take place online, the University added.

Beyond this, students who feel compelled to return for mental health reasons or because they lack a suitable learning environment at home will be permitted to come back to Oxford earlier than January 25th. Students who stayed in Oxford over the vacation as well as international students who either stayed in Oxford or have already booked transport back for Hilary Term will all also be allowed to be in Oxford from before January 25th.

Of these new instructions, the Student Union commented, “we welcome the University of Oxford’s recent statement to all students on the start of Hilary Term following the recent government announcement.” They also asked for colleges to “provide further updates to their students including around accommodation” and argued that “students unable to return to Oxford in Hilary Term 2021 should not be financially penalised; students should not have to pay for accommodation that they are unable to live in.”

It remains uncertain whether January 25th is a finalised date for all other students to return, with the University emphasising the following message at the end of their communication to its students who do not meet the criteria outlined above: “you are asked not to return to Oxford until you hear from us again.”

Mitchell Marshall

Mitch (he/ him) is Editor-in-Chief for Trinity term 2021 as well as a long-suffering Sunderland fan, keen runner and general sports obsessive. His other interests include indie music, arthouse cinema, and coffee.