COVID-19 – College cancellations and closure
The College’s Fellows, staff and JCR and MCR Committees have been working hard to ensure time spent in College is as Covid-secure and comfortable as possible. Our priority remains promoting the safety, wellbeing and health of everyone who lives, works and teaches at Trinity Hall. To support this work, the College has launched a series of webpages to provide Coronavirus information to our community.
The College is closed to visitors until further notice as we plan to receive students back safely from September. Conferences and events have been cancelled over this period and all event organisers have been contacted by the Conference team about rebooking and the refund policy. External events and room bookings will not resume until 2021 at the earliest.
In the case of a second or local lockdown, the University and the Colleges will, as ever, be guided by the advice of the public health authorities and the country’s legislation. Within these limits, Colleges are committed to provide accommodation to all students who do not have any other home to go to, e.g. care-leavers, estranged students, and UK or international students who cannot travel to their own home town/country due to local travel restrictions. Please note that these examples are not exclusive. In Trinity Hall, we shall do our best to help every student who has very good reasons for remaining in College. Moreover, since it is also impossible to predict, in advance the remit, duration, timing or reasons for any future ‘lockdown’, the College’s response would inevitably be tailored to reflect public health guidance in place at the time.
The University’s response
By 20 March, the University stopped all non-essential business and research, although research into COVID-19 continues (read more about the University’s research into mapping the epidemic and developing a vaccine).
In Easter term there will be no face-to-face teaching and examinations and other forms of online assessment will be very different. University Faculties and Departments communicated with students about alternative teaching and assessment arrangements by 31 March. The work of the University Counselling Service (UCS) and Disability Resource Centre continue online.
A ‘Covid-19 Gold Team’, involving the senior leadership across the Collegiate University has been meeting every weekday. This group is supported by six task forces, with different responsibilities for students, staff, finances, buildings, communications and recovery.
For more on teaching and assessment during lockdown see: https://www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/news/whats-happening-with-teaching-and-assessment-during-lockdown
Trinity Hall’s response
All students who could return home safely were encouraged to do so immediately after the end of the Lent term. As the situation evolved, the Acting Vice-Master and Senior Tutor wrote to students several times to provide updated advice, in line with guidance from both the University and Public Health England. If students were unable to return home safely, College accommodation remained available at the Wychfield site. Student hardship funds, from both the College and University, have been used to help students with the costs of unexpected travel arrangements. Students who are not in College accommodation next term will not pay College rent.
Our responsibility to the health and well-being of our students and staff is paramount. The College’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Team have continued to provide support through private online consultations, as well as providing staff, students and Fellows with weekly updates, including links to helpful online resources. The College Nurse has also offered remote advice and assessments in regard to students who have been identified as medically vulnerable, or who are in self-isolation. Emergency food packs have been delivered to students who remain in College accommodation and have been required to self-isolate, or share in household isolation The Porters, the Nurse, Tutorial office staff and Tutors have maintained regular contact with those students.
Office staff are working remotely and a full portering team remain on site. The senior leadership team has regular video-conferencing meetings several times per week to monitor the situation and key College committees will continue remotely when term starts. Permanent and casual staff who were on the payroll as of end of February but are no longer able to carry out their role in College have been furloughed, supported under the Government’s scheme.
The College is closed to visitors until at least 30 June and conferences in that time period have been cancelled. All event organisers have been contacted by the Conference team about the refund policy. Building work in College has also ceased in line with government recommendations.
The University plans for lectures to be run on an online-only basis in the next academic year when stringent social distancing requirements are expected to remain in place. Read a statement from the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Virgo.
The intention is that lectures will be both streamed and recorded to allow students maximum flexibility in how and where they choose to study. Lectures are only one part of a Cambridge education and we are committed to delivering traditional small group teaching in supervisions, seminars and classes, as well as lab work and practicals.
An extensive amount of internal contingency planning is currently under way in College to prepare for the next academic year. The College will be ready to respond to University policy and government guidance in relation to public health as it emerges.
How can you help?
If you would like to help with research collaborations, by donating equipment or funding research please see the University’s webpages.
Our mission and commitment to our students remains as important as ever: to provide the fullest possible education and pastoral support. Many of our students are suffering unexpected financial hardship and facing challenges studying remotely.
To support our students you can donate via www.trinhall.cam.ac.uk/onlinegiving.
Read and share your stories on the Trinity Hall TogeTHer page.
With our apologies if there is a delay in responses to your enquiry. We will reply as soon as we are able. Thank you.
Originally published on 17 March. Updated on 20 April to provide further information and a message from the Acting Vice-Master. Updated on 21 May with information on teaching in 2020-21.