Wolfson and COVID-19

This is Wolfson’s one-stop page for keeping you up-to-date with the latest actions taken, and latest advice offered, by the College during the current outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It will be updated as often as there is any significant change.

College Guidance on this page:

Latest actions and advice

Our absolute priority is to protect and support those who live in Wolfson and for whom the College is their home. The College will remain open for residents and services for residents will continue to be offered at the highest possible level. To that end, and following the latest advice from the Government:

  • Wolfson College has been closed to visitors since Tuesday 17 March.
  • Fellows, students and members of the common room who do not live in College, or who do not have offices here or who do not have any another essential reason to be here should not come into College.
  • The Lodge will remain open for enquiries and deliveries, and to enable those Wolfsonians who are not residents to check and clear their pigeonholes.
  • Everyone is asked to observe a social distance of at least two metres and to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • Please see our Services Updates below for the latest information on College facilities and services.

Maintaining continuity in services

While the health of our College residents and staff is our top priority, the College also remains committed to all Wolfsonians not living in College. The President and Officers, and all branches of the College administration, are operating as close to normal as possible. We will continue to do our best to assist and support you through email and by phone. You can find our contact information on our People's Pages.

Reducing the number of people working in College

On 17 March, all non-essential staff were asked by their Head of Department to begin working remotely. Although the decision excludes specific service staff who provide essential welfare, safety, and maintenance services to our residents, we asked most staff to work remotely. Our goal is to protect each of us, our colleagues, and the general population. The best way to avoid getting or spreading the virus is to minimise social interaction and avoid community spaces. With very few exceptions, everyone at Wolfson is now working from home.

Work-life resources. This is a stressful time for all of us. We understand that some of you are facing additional challenges, such as caring for children or other family members. Wellness information and resources are available through external organisations such as Mental Health Foundation and the NHS.

Following the government’s guidance

On 11 May 2020, the government introduced new measures to return life to near normal. The government has published staying safe outside your home for guidance on what the new rules will mean. These will take effect on Wednesday 13 May 2020.

From 13 May 2020 you will be able to:

  • spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors (following social distancing guidelines)
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish (following social distancing guidelines)
  • use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart
  • go to a garden centre

At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household.

Staying at home

You should stay at home as much as possible. The reasosn you may leave home include:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home (follow the advice given to you by your employer)
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open - to get things like food and medicine
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

These reasons are exceptions and a fuller list is set out in the Government's regulations. Even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent away from the home and ensuring that you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

Discouraging visitors from coming to the College

To protect everyone's health, residents are now not permitted to host or bringing visitors to the College. We need to be mindful of other community members who live here and who may be more susceptible to COVID-19, such as those with chronic medical conditions. The Vicegerent has the authority to fine students and fellows who disregard this rule.

Accommodation Information

  • If you wish to vacate your accommodation earlier than your end date you may do so without financial penalty.
  • Please inform the Accommodation Office if this is your intention, on accommodation.office@wolfson.ox.ac.uk.
  • Please ensure you remove all your belongings.
  • The College may be able to assist with storage; if you are not able to take everything with you.
  • Every effort will be made to keep a room available if you wish to return to accommodation prior to the end date of your current tenancy.
  • Maintenance staff and contractors will continue to carry out essential work but may not be able to respond to routine requests
  • Students who have left their College accommodation and wish to recover their belongings may now do so as long as they follow the precautions detailed on this webpage.

Facts about COVID-19 infection

COVID-19 infection is dependent on exposure to the virus, but details about transmission are still emerging. The most important route of transmission is likely close contact with sick patients who spread respiratory droplets when they cough or sneeze. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible for someone to be infected by touching an object or surface contaminated by COVID-19 virus and then touching their mouth, nose or, potentially, their eyes. The reported incubation period (time from exposure to the onset of symptoms) ranges from two to 14 days.

Please see the update from the University on how scientists are tackling the disease.

Precautions to take for your well-being and safety

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing (see the NHS Guide to washing your hands).
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Please use the phone or remote access services rather than meeting in person.
  • Stay at home if you are ill – do not go to work.

What to do if you become ill

Wolfson help

If you have any questions or concerns relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, including self-isolating, or if you are experiencing symptoms, please email the Wolfson Coronavirus Help team at coronavirus.help@wolfson.ox.ac.uk

Contact our College Nurse

The College Nurse, Kerry Minton, is on call for practical medical advice and support during this period. Please note that at this time, she can only assess minor ailments and injuries virtually. You can contact Kerry through wolfson.nurse@nhs.net.

Contact our Welfare Officers

Our Welfare officers, Amogh, Bogdan and Fahad, are available to be contacted through email. They will get back to you as soon as they can.

If you have concerns about your own mental health, or the mental health of someone you are close to, click here for a list of resources you might find helpful to contact.

Academic concerns

The following people can assist if you have questions or concerns regarding your studies.

Service Updates

Food and Drink

Takeaway service for residents

  • Lunch is available Mon-Fri 12:00 – 14:00 and brunch on Saturday 09:30 – 11:30. 
  • Please maintain two metre social distance at all times: be careful to respect the two-metre gap signs and keep appropirate social distance from staff. 

The Upper and Lower Common Rooms have been closed until further notice. The Café remains closed to all. 

Order and Collect

Residents can now purchase grocery items from our wholesaler through the College's catering office.

  • Complete the order form below and email it to groceries@wolfson.ox.ac.uk by 11am Monday to Friday. 
  • Your orders should be ready for next day collection in Hall (during the lunch service). Orders placed on Friday will be available on Monday.
  • Orders are charged to your top-up account – make sure you have topped up before placing the order.
  • If your top-up funds are insufficient, your order will be cancelled, and you will need to resubmit your order the following day.
  • Home delivery is available for those that are self-isolating with symptoms in College. 

Food for residents in isolation 

For those who are self-isolating with symptoms and cannot leave their rooms, hot meals can be ordered.  We deliver at lunch time. Click here to book this service through the Gateway.

  • Order by 11am on the day you require the food (by 9am on Saturdays).
  • We will deliver it to your room (staff will knock and leave your food outside).
  • Given our limited staff numbers, please ony use this service if you are self-isolating.
  • We aim to meet dietary requirements as much as possible, however options are limited.

Hot lunch

One main hot dish
Two hot side dishes
One piece of fruit

£3.50 for students.  £7.00 for all others.

The Library

The Minibus, Gym and Upper Common Room
  • The minibus stopped operating from 24 March 2020.
  • The Gym and Upper Common Room was closed on the 26 March. 
College IT
  • Wolfson’s IT Team has cancelled the IT Surgeries until further notice and will be dealing with most issues remotely.
  • Find out more about how to work remotely.
  • For any IT queries, please email it.support@wolfson.ox.ac.uk or call 01865274121.

Housekeeping emails and requests are not currently being monitored so please contact the Lodge at lodge.reception@wolfson.ox.ac.uk if your request is urgent. 

Rubbish disposal
For those who are self-isolating with symptoms, we are able to provide a waste collection service by following the procedures below: 

  • Please notify the Home Bursar: home.bursar@wolfson.ox.ac.uk
  • Waste should be double bagged. 
  • Bags should be labelled "Rubbish-Symptoms" and placed outside your room from 9.00am the following day after you have sent a housekeeping request. Monday to Friday only.
  • As we are extremely short staff we can only provide this service for people who are genuinely showing symptoms so please only request this service if absolutely necessary.

Cleaning materials
As many of you have requested to clean your own rooms, and we are short of staff, we have taken the decision to ask you to clean your own rooms so we can focus on cleaning the communal areas. Cleaning materials, including hoovers (which we can confirm are safe to use) will be left out for use. Please can we ask that you wipe down all equipment before and after use.

Letter to our residents 17 March 2020Download
Wolfson Groceries FormDownload

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Our upcoming events

Parties and Dinners
01 - 01
Aug Aug
Degree Day
Saturday 1 August - 11:00am to 3:30pm

Preceding the degree ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre at 14:30, the College hosts the Signing of the Graces and a celebratory reception for our graduands and their family and friends. This event is by invitation only; please see the degree days page on our website for further information. 

Parties and Dinners
07 - 07
Aug Aug
Degree Day
Friday 7 August - 11:00am to 3:30pm

Preceding the degree ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre at 14:30, the College hosts the Signing of the Graces and a celebratory reception for our graduands and their family and friends. This event is by invitation only; please see the degree days page on our website for further information.