Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Message from the Warden

With the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, these are extraordinary and unprecedented times for us all. I have no doubt that everyone reading this will have already been affected in some way and I sincerely hope that you, your families and loved ones are keeping safe and well.

Merton has taken major steps in recent weeks to ensure we put the safety and welfare of the College community first and foremost, following the Government guidelines and in concert with other colleges and the University.

The College now feels very different from how it did over a month ago during the height of Hilary Term. There are very few students now in residence: mainly graduates and those for whom a journey home would have proven difficult. Almost all teaching and assessment will move online during Trinity Term and most Fellows and staff are working remotely. We are all getting used to building a virtual college community through technology and there are good signs that online academic, professional and social activities will keep Mertonians in contact in the coming weeks and months.

I have been enormously impressed by how well the entire Merton community has calmly and maturely handled the effects of this pandemic. Despite this concerning backdrop, the College continues to function and everyone has risen to this unparalleled challenge. We are, however, very much looking forward to the point at which business as usual can take place and the College becomes once more a vibrant place of study, research and exchange of ideas.

It has sadly been necessary to postpone or cancel many events and activities for our wider alumni community, including our March Gaudy, annual telethon, Founder’s Society meeting, Passiontide Festival and MC3 Reunion in the US. We are aiming to reschedule many of these activities over the coming year or move them online in some form and hope that you will bear with us as we work this through.

We are hugely proud that Merton is playing its part, alongside other colleges, in supporting our colleagues in the NHS and the homeless in our city during this challenging period. There are also over 500 colleagues in the University working to find a solution to the problems posed by this pandemic. I hope you will take some time to read about their ongoing research and the support required to facilitate this by using the links below.

Finally, let us all remember that Merton has been around for 755 years and has stood strong throughout many a global crisis and pandemic. While this is a ‘once in a generation’ challenge, we will stand strong once again and come out the other side.

Professor Irene Tracey, MA, DPhil, FRCA, FMedSci

University coronavirus updates

Oxford University is closely monitoring the situation caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak and all updates will be made on the University’s central Coronavirus (Covid-19) web pages. Anyone with questions or concerns about coronavirus (Covid-19) should visit these pages for the latest information.

Coronavirus research and support

Keep up to date on Oxford’s world-changing Covid-19 research via the research hub at You can also provide support for the University’s research by visiting

Keeping in touch with Merton

As always, you can contact the Development team on or +44 (0)1865 276316. You can also follow the College on Twitter and Facebook and we’ll be building on our social media presence over the coming weeks. There is also further information on how to keep in touch with other Mertonians here.

Merton lectures, publications, recordings, podcasts and presentations

There is a wealth of material online that has captured recent Merton events, Chapel services, performances and research. All of these will allow you to engage with the work and life of the College and help you to look forward to our future activities. Links for these have been compiled into a single online hub for easy accessibility and we will be updating and adding to these links on a regular basis.

In addition, the Chapel has created a new page, ‘Socially Isolated Spiritually Connected’, to bring light and support to our alumni and friends.

We will be looking to host some of our planned events, such as the Merton Society London Lecture on 19 May, on online platforms so do look out for details of these in due course.

Share your news

Our hard-working Year Representatives will soon be in touch with alumni to start the process of newsgathering for the 2020 edition of Postmaster. Please continue to share your news with them and the Development team over the coming weeks and months – we are always delighted to hear from you. If you are unsure of who your Year Rep is then contact the Development Office on or visit our dedicated Year Reps page.

Future events

Although we will not be able to see Mertonians during the coming weeks, we are already planning our events programme for the 2020-21 academic year and look forward to welcoming you back to College once more. Do get in touch with the Development Office if you have any ideas for potential speakers, can help us to secure venues, or can think of any other interesting activities we might undertake to connect Mertonians around the world.