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Life at Christ Church under Covid conditions

Written by Giulia da Cruz, posted on Friday, October 23, 2020

Giulia da Cruz, JCR President and a third-year student studying Modern Languages, reflects on her first weeks back in residence at Christ Church after lockdown.

JCR President, Giulia da CruzMichaelmas 2020 was never going to be a normal term. However, after a year abroad and a global pandemic, I couldn’t wait to come back. My new responsibilities as JCR President meant that over the summer we were busy preparing for a ‘Covid-secure’ College which could support an unprecedented number of students both academically and socially.

Having come back in mid-September to help with the freshers’ arrivals, I saw the gradual return of students in College and despite the restrictions, I could see that everyone was excited to start the year and grateful to see their friends again after so long. We are particularly lucky to be a part of such a big College allowing us to experience much of our normal Oxford life with even a few unexpected bonuses: the beautiful Upper Library has been opened for us to use throughout the year, and if we arrive early enough for dinner, we are allowed to eat at High Table with a magnificent view of Hall. Of course, we’re still allowed to explore College’s beautiful outdoor spaces- there’s nothing quite like a misty Meadow in the early hours of the morning.

A new addition to College life has been the introduction of a marquee in the Masters’ Garden to which the ‘Undie’ has been temporarily relocated. Emily our Bar Manager has recreated a beautiful environment with fairy lights and background music and enormous thanks to the College gardener who has supplied us with a whole menagerie of plants including a huge banana plant making the marquee resemble a greenhouse! We’ve been able to continue College traditions such as Brain Strain Teas and Late Night Tea Breaks (now afternoon!), with socially distanced tea and biscuits, and we can go and enjoy the Christ Church Ale or mulled wine for some pre or post-dinner drinks in the evening.

Most of my responsibilities now require me to spend lots of time on a screen: whether it’s chairing meetings and replying to emails or attending lectures and tutorials. Although it is wonderful to be able to continue life, albeit online, I’ve made extra efforts to spend time outside, read hard-copy books and documents and see friends face-to-face (mask-to mask?). With this in mind, I am also playing lots of College sport, such as netball and basketball ,and have pushed myself out of my comfort zone by attending the mixed touch-rugby sessions where I have now learnt not to throw the ball forward!

It goes without saying that I miss being able to hug my friends, play in orchestras and have in-person meetings and I long for the return of BOP and guest dinners. However, I am so grateful to have been able to return to University during this time and for all the measures that have been put in place to protect us all.

Giulia da Cruz, JCR President

  • Reflection of Peck Quad in Library window
  • View of peck from inside one of the rooms
  • View over Christ Church Meadow