Downing during COVID-19​

During the period of COVID-19 measures, Downing is still home to a number of students. The College is pleased to be able to provide a familiar, supportive, secure environment for our remaining residents.

The safety of the College, its students and staff, is best assured when all members of the community work together in a spirit of shared concern.

The University and Colleges are cooperating closely with Public Health England’s (“PHE”) Health Protection Team in Cambridge. The rules and guidance contained here are derived from PHE advice and are intended to promote the safety and well-being of all. It is important that you keep up to date with the latest advice.

Check the University of Cambridge website for the latest advice on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for staff and students at the University and Colleges. You should also familiarise yourself with the Government’s guidance ‘Staying alert and staying safe – social distancing for all’

The message in Cambridge is KEEP YOUR DISTANCE – STAY SAFE.


Dos and don'ts for Downing students in residence


  • Exercise. Spend time outside, as frequently as you wish, for exercise. Exercise  can be done alone or with members of your existing household (those with whom you share kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities).  From Monday 1 June, you may also meet outside with six people from different households but maintain a distance of two metres from members of different households. The use of tennis courts, netball, and basketball courts is permitted but under these same restrictions of social distancing.
  • Recreation. Spend time outside, as frequently as you wish, for recreation. You may do this alone, with members of your household, or with six people from a different household but maintaining two metres in social distancing. College gardens currently remain open but only for members of the College.
  • Freedom to return to home residence. This advice applies to students ‘trapped’ in Cambridge during the lockdown and is now permitted if the move is deemed ‘permanent’ (i.e. until next academic year). Private transport should be used, avoiding mixing households in the same car, and public transport should be avoided if at all possible.
  • Personal hygiene and basic stay at home principles. Continue to respect the existing advice on frequent handwashing, respiratory hygiene, and the guidance on staying at home except for getting food or basic necessities, exercise or recreation, and for medical needs or to avoid harm.


  • Visit other households. Don’t visit friends or relations in households other than your own.
  • Bring guests or visitors into College. The College and the residential properties are closed to visitors.
  • Stay with friends or relations. Don’t leave College to stay temporarily in another household before returning to College.
  • Return to Cambridge from home. Don’t regard the Government’s early moves away from lockdown as an opportunity for friends to make the move back to Cambridge. The choice to return to Cambridge should not be based on convenience or preference.  We must be aware at all times of the need to keep ourselves, our friends, and neighbours safe. No-one should return to College accommodation until the College has assigned you accommodation and agreed the date of return in writing.  
  • Indoor sports facilities. Don’t use College gyms as these remain closed.
  • Communal areas. The College Library, Computer room, Butterfield Cafe and other social spaces remain closed.
  • Public gatherings. Gatherings of more than six people, two metres apart, in public areas are not permitted, unless all members are from the same household.  


There is signage around the Domus relating to these restrictions; please respect these rules, for the safety of each other and of the staff who are on site, even though they are socially distanced. On a very few occasions students have not followed the spirit of the guidance, which has caused other residents and staff. discomfort and some fear.  In these difficult times , please be mindful not only of your own welfare  but also that of those around you.

There is some evidence, both nationally and locally, that social distancing is having the necessary effect of reducing transmission, and this rule does apply to you, both in public or private.  You should not be organising or attending  indoor gatherings with those outside your household. The College is determined that, as far as possible, the Domus shall provide a safe and secure environment for all.