Message from the Master regarding Covid-19

As we face the extraordinary Coronavirus emergency, I want to reassure all members of Christ’s lifelong community that the College is closely monitoring and responding promptly to the rapidly developing situation. We recognise that for some students, as for some Fellows, leaving Cambridge is not, or not yet, an option. With the extraordinary commitment of our staff we will support those who remain as well as we can, depending on capacity and resources. All permanent College staff are being retained on their normal base pay.

Last week, the University announced that there would be no face-to-face teaching for students next term, and no access to University buildings for undergraduate and postgraduate students. We have encouraged students to return home where they can, but are supporting those who need to stay in College or in Cambridge. No Christ’s student has been made to leave. Indeed, the Senior Tutor and the team of Tutors are working hard to ensure that students who remain are well supported, and I have been heartened by the response from all members across our community, staff, Fellows and students themselves. For example, the JCR and MCR have set up a buddying system for those remaining in Cambridge, and particularly for those self-isolating; and the Library has made available fiction books and DVDs in the JCR to keep students going during social distancing. We have made advice for students available on the College’s intranet, and the University is publishing regular updates and information about next term.

Although the University is moving to remote/online examinations next term, we are very aware that this could result in inequities between students at a very important time of their lives. We will as a College work to ensure that no student suffers undue detriment in their Tripos examinations and all are treated fairly in the circumstances.

As part of the measures we have put in place, we have closed the domus site to visitors, and inevitably have cancelled scheduled events. Many of our departments have moved to remote working, however, and in some sense it is business as usual. Our admissions and outreach team is putting in place new initiatives to support and communicate with offer-holders and prospective students. We will do our best to ensure that no offer-holder is disadvantaged by the disruption to this year's A-levels and other examinations. 

We will continue to engage with alumni and the public via our social media platforms, and we will make sure that we are ready to return to normal arrangements again when the time has come.

I know many members of our world-wide community are involved on the front line of dealing with this epidemic, and we are all deeply grateful to them for the work they are doing.

These are certainly challenging times as we all adjust to a whole new way of living and I wish you the very best as we navigate the coming weeks and months.

Jane Stapleton