College Life Blog

Search all blog posts

Life under Lockdown: A Christ Church Diary

Written by Samuel Lane, Christ Church Warden and D.Phil. candidate in History, posted on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Samuel Lane, Christ Church Warden and D.Phil. candidate in HistoryOur second blog focuses on student welfare and the work our Wardens are doing to keep everyone connected and supported.

As one of Christ Church’s Wardens, along with Nader Raafat and Emily Swift, I am part of the College’s welfare team. As with the rest of Christ Church, and indeed society more broadly, we have had to adapt to face the unique challenges which Covid-19 presents. Whereas once our support to students was founded on personal, face-to-face interactions, now welfare has gone online!

As Wardens, we now support students in four principal ways. Firstly, any Christ Church student can arrange to talk to us (via Zoom or Microsoft Teams) – from wherever in the world they may be – to discuss any difficulties that they’re facing, or simply for a supportive chat. Secondly, we have established a ‘Check In Scheme’, in which students who remain in Oxford can have a weekly one-on-one meeting with one of us, to talk about how they’re doing and anything on their minds. Thirdly, we host a weekly Welfare ‘Catch Up’ session on Zoom on Fridays, in which all students who are in Oxford can talk to us and any other students who join the meeting, in a more friendly and social environment. Finally, and as with a normal term, we continue to be available out-of-hours, so that any student can contact us via the Porters’ Lodge for support, although that support will be over the phone, rather than in the flesh!

It has been exciting to adjust our welfare provision to these new circumstances, alongside of course continuing with my doctoral studies (in Medieval History). I miss supporting students in person, although I can’t claim to mourn supervising bops, which have been suspended until further notice! Yet while we as Wardens have done our bit to help students in the time of Covid-19, we are only one small part of the Christ Church welfare system. Purely by way of example, Clare Hayns (Welfare Coordinator) and Dirk Aarts (Junior Censor) both continue to dedicate an enormous amount of time and effort to supporting students; Karen Kendall (College Counsellor) continues to have appointments with students on Tuesdays; and the College Academic Office, headed by Helen Etty (Academic Registrar) and Geraldine Johnson (Senior Censor), continues to assist students with regard to financial and administrative matters.