Response to Covid-19

This webpage includes useful links and information for Newnham College members regarding the University and College’s response to Covid-19 during the academic year 2021-22.

Key information for all College members is sent out from the Covid Communications email address: please look out for these mails – the Covid Weekly Bulletin on a Thursday during term, fortnightly out of term, and Covid Megaphones for urgent, timely messages – and read them carefully. They are also archived in the ‘Covid Emails’ section of the College Health Information SharePoint site. New College members are given membership of the SharePoint site at the start of term.


Key information

Information for specific groups

Our outbreak planning

Key information

Lent Term arrangements

Please see the University guidance on Lent Term and ‘Return to Cambridge’ testing arrangements. This includes information on pre-departure testing.

Information for Newnham members about the start of the new term has been sent out as a Covid Megaphone Email (12 Jan 2022), available from the SharePoint.

Life in College

We’re balancing Covid safety with people’s everyday wellbeing, academic and social needs, particularly during the Omicron outbreak. That means we’re keeping some elements which we need for community safety, while some of the restrictions needed last year are gone. We’ve talked to the JCR and MCR Committees, and we’ve taken advice from the University’s own experts.

That said, there are likely to be changes over the year in response to both Government guidance and the local situation in Cambridge.

Please read your emails and follow the most up-to-date guidance contained there.


  • Face-coverings are to continue to be worn in College communal areas, except:
    • When seated in a meeting (of any number of people) and all agree they are comfortable for face-coverings to be removed;
    • When eating and drinking;
    • In rooms where you are the only occupant;
    • Exempted from wearing a mask listed in the specified government criteria. 

External Guests/Visitors:

  • There are currently no restrictions on guests in College, except that we do ask that your guests follow the Newnham health and Covid guidance. Please remember to notify the Porters’ Lodge of any overnight guests, for safety in the event of a fire. As always, no guest should stay overnight for more than 3 nights in any one week.
  • The Buttery and Iris Café are open as normal, for both members of the College and those outside the College. Please be mindful about wearing your face-covering when not eating and drinking. See the A-Z Student Handbook for information.

Please see the current Covid Code of Conduct and check the Health Information SharePoint site for guidance.

Health and wellbeing

General NHS 111 services are available 24 hours a day. Dialling this number will help you access the out of hours GP if this is advised by 111.

If you require emergency medical assistance please call 999. If you are in College then please inform the Porters of the situation so that they are able to direct the emergency services as needed.

Phone 111, option 2 – First Response Service (24/7 access to mental health advice support and treatment).

Coronavirus – Covid-19
If you’re in residence and have possible symptoms of Covid-19, such as headache, runny nose, sore throat and fever then please self-isolate in your room and ‘phone or email the Porters’ Lodge: 01223 335700

All Information on what to do if you feel ill with possible symptoms of Covid or have been in close contact with someone testing positive can be found on Sharepoint:

Information on Covid vaccination for all students: Vaccination | University of Cambridge

Some really useful information and contacts here:
Student Wellbeing | (
Mental health emergencies | Student Wellbeing (
Mental health support | Student Wellbeing (

Newnham Health Information SharePoint site for all members of College

Our Health Information SharePoint site brings together College guidance on COVID-19 for all members of the College.

This includes information on what to do if you feel ill, looking after your mental wellbeing, and copies of all COVID email communications.

University Covid-19 webpages

Please refer to the University webpages for up to date information for all students of the University of Cambridge.

These pages represent the central definitive resource for University information on Covid-19 – please check it frequently.

We’d also strongly encourage you to look at the #StaySafeCambridgeUni website, and to follow the guidance shared there.

For information about the Disability Resource Centre, please see their own website.

College Code of Conduct

For everyone’s safety and wellbeing, and to meet our legal obligations, Newnham College required our students, staff and Fellows to all sign up to a code of conduct. We have done all we can to make this appropriate, fair and effective in this exceptional pandemic context. It has been produced after consultation with representatives from all parts of the College. It is a living document, and continues to develop in response to the changing situation and University and Government guidance.

All students receive a copy of the College Code of Conduct (student version) with their room license.

A current copy of the Code of Conduct, including any updates, will be available in the documents section of the Health Information SharePoint site.

Risk assessment

Following Government guidelines, we have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment for those working at the College: Working Safely During Coronavirus – Risk Assessment

Every member of staff, including all the Fellows and Senior Members (SMs), who work in the College have received a copy of this risk assessment.

Information for specific groups

Information for international students

For questions around travel, visas and immigration matters, please start with the University webpages for up to date information.

Our College Quarantine and Isolation Co-ordinator will support you if you need to quarantine during your return to Newnham (see above).

The #StaySafeCambridgeUni website has specific guidance for people travelling to Cambridge from overseas.

All students should check their email accounts regularly for information shared by the College, Department or Faculty, and the University.

Information for supervisors

The University has been working on guidance for safe and effective supervisions, which College and Departments will be sharing with you.

To book a supervision room, please use the RMS booking system.

If you plan to book a supervision room, please read and follow the Teaching And Supervision Rooms Risk Assessment.

Useful material and guidelines for technology-enabled learning has been created by Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, including specific guidance for blended and hybrid learning.

Information for Fellows and Senior Members

SCR lunches are now taking place at High Table in College Hall. Please sign in and follow the guidance that you’ll see displayed. Coffee is available in the SCR and the Iris Café is open.

The Library is open for use.  If you are in College, please follow the guidance on face coverings (see above).

Before coming into College, please familiarise yourself with the latest version of the College Working Safely during Coronavirus Risk Assessment as there are regular updates. We’d also strongly encourage you to look at the #StaySafeCambridgeUni website, and to follow the guidance shared there.

To book a supervision room, please use the RMS booking system. See the guidance above, in the ‘supervisors’ section, for the latest Risk Assessment on using supervision rooms.

Please let the Domestic Bursar know for fire safety purposes if you plan to use your room and give her approximate times so she can arrange for cleaning of your room whilst you are not in it.

If you share a room, please make arrangements so that you are not both using the room at the same time. Hand sanitiser can be supplied for your room: please contact

Please report any maintenance issue in the normal way via the RMS online system.

Information for Newnham College staff

Line managers have been sharing the latest College guidelines and risk assessments with staff (please see the latest risk assessment above).

The different types of work that people carry out and their personal circumstances mean that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s best to discuss your working practices with your line manager.

If you have queries or concerns, please speak to your Head of Department, Bev Gafney, Head of HR, or Wendy Evans, Domestic Bursar.

Newnham’s Principles for the pandemic

Newnham’s Governing Body has agreed the following principles to guide us during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will:

  • Govern and organise ourselves effectively.
  • Enable the flourishing of students, fellowship, staff and other members of the SCR in very difficult circumstances.
  • Generate opportunities for intergenerational and interdisciplinary academic conversations.
  • Remain supportive, enabling and friendly.
  • Learn new virtual techniques which we can use going forward, and be open to new ways of doing things where the virtual cannot simulate the real.
  • Plan flexibly in accordance with the University scenarios so that we can respond appropriately to changes in Government rules and advice.
  • Communicate (including listening) well in a time of continued uncertainty.

Planning for an outbreak in Cambridge

The University, in collaboration with local public health teams, has developed a Cambridge Outbreak Response Plan in order to manage potential outbreaks of COVID-19 and keep everyone in the community as safe as possible. This also covers likely restrictions on teaching in accordance with the Department for Education’s tiers of restriction for teaching. It includes a programme of asymptomatic and symptomatic testing.

The University has five response phases (green, yellow, amber, red and red+). You can check the current response phase and other University information here.

Details of how different Covid-19 response levels will affect teaching are here.

Newnham College has our own Action Plan in case of an outbreak of Covid in Cambridge or the College.

Our College Action Plan is updated regularly as Government guidance changes and advice from Public Health England and from the University is issued. The Action Plan is contributed to by, and is available to, all key staff.

Some key elements of our Action Plan are outlined below.

Supporting students in Quarantine and Self-Isolation (SI)

Our Quarantine and Isolation Co-ordinator, Kieran Davies, oversees the wellbeing of all students who are quarantining or in isolation. Among other activities, our QI Co-ordinator organises food for students in Self-Isolation from the College Buttery. The QI team would be augmented in an outbreak.

Newnham has excellent kitchen facilities, and many students already self-cater some or all of the time. We advise students to keep stocks of packet and tinned food (e.g. cereal, noodles, sauces, tea, coffee, dried fruit and nuts) in case they need to go into Isolation. We also advise students to keep a fortnight’s supply of medication and other essentials in stock. Students in SI due to having symptoms or a positive test result for Covid-19 are not allowed to use the communal kitchens during their SI period, so food will be supplied from the Buttery.

Changes to College life

We would implement further measures depending on the extent of the outbreak and the latest advice from the Government, Public Health England and the University.

These might include further restrictions on visitors.

Accommodation in the event of the University going into ‘Red+’

The University and the colleges will, as ever, be guided by the advice of PHE and the country’s legislation.

Within these limits, all colleges are committed to providing accommodation to all students, on a case-by-case basis, who do not have any other home to go to, for example care-leavers, estranged students, and UK or international students who cannot travel to their own home town/country due to local travel restrictions. (These examples are not exclusive; all Colleges would do their best to help every student who have very good reasons for remaining in college.)

At Newnham, we are able to go beyond this and are planning on the basis that we would manage the University going into ‘Red+’ with all those students who wish to stay remaining in college, as long as this is possible under PHE advice and we can manage it safely. Students who remain in college in this event will have to comply with whatever Government lockdown rules are brought into effect.