Hallowe’en advice from Oxford City Council

Stay safe this Halloween

Halloween is this weekend. We are encouraging residents to celebrate Halloween safely this year and to continue to follow social distancing guidelines as Oxford enters in to Tier 2 (High Alert) for coronavirus from 00:01 tomorrow (31 October).   Residents are reminded that traditional celebrations are likely to spread the virus and the council recommends they should:

  • Avoid going door to door when trick or treating, and giving out treats by hand
  • Not attend gatherings that are held indoors with members outside of your household
  • Not attend outdoor gatherings where there are more than six people
  • Not substitute a facemask with a Halloween mask as this will not keep you safe.

Some suggestions and ideas (suitable for councillors too ..)

  • Getting involved in the Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin trail outside
  • Hosting a virtual Halloween costume party with friends and family
  • Holding a Scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins to light up the doorstep or in the window
  • Pumpkin picking at one of Oxford’s local farms
  • Socially distanced Halloween dance party on your doorstep
  • Host a virtual Halloween quiz
  • Have a Halloween film night with your household members
  • Make a Halloween themed face mask/covering

  Households in Oxford are also being encouraged to recycle their real Halloween pumpkin at the kerbside on top of or beside their food caddy.  Those who live in flats with shared bins are invited to pop their pumpkins directly in their red food bins.   There is a lot of waste produced around Halloween so, where possible please try to make your Halloween decorations or buy second hand or reusable products. If you’re unsure whether something can be recycled check Oxfordshire County Council’s recycle, repair and reuse web page.   Recycling organisation Hubbub believes that 12.8 million pumpkins are expected to be left uneaten this Halloween in the UK. For some pumpkin recipe ideas, visit the Hubbub website.

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An update on the university’s plans for Michaelmas term

The new academic year starts on 11 October. OIRA has received the below update on how the university plans to manage the current situation, from Laurence Garfield, Government and Community Relations Officer, University of Oxford:

The University has today launched a health communications campaign to raise awareness among our students and staff of the measures we are taking to protect them and the local community. Please find a summary and links to the relevant webpages below:

Student Responsibility Agreement

The University has published a Student Responsibility Agreement, as we committed to do in our previous letter to you, which all students will be asked to sign. The Agreement affirms their commitment to protecting the health of everyone within their college, the University and wider community in Oxford. It lists eight commitments each student is expected to make about their behaviour, including:

  • abide by public health regulations
  • practice good hygiene to limit contact transmission
  • request a test immediately and self-isolate if experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19
  • adhere to the rules for social distancing and maximum group sizes on-site and in public
  • follow guidelines on interacting with other households

We are also advising students to show consideration to the local community by only travelling in pairs when outside of University or college premises.


New guidance has been issued to students on the arrangements for accommodation. We aim to house the majority of our students and all first-year undergraduates in college accommodation. In colleges and University graduate accommodation, we will be grouping students into ‘households’, consisting of a group of people, typically between six and eight, living in close proximity. They must practice social distancing from other such households. If one member of a household has to self-isolate, the others will be required to do so. Students will be supported by their college welfare teams if they need to self-isolate.

University test and tracing service

The University’s in-house COVID-19 testing service is now operational and open to all staff of the University and colleges at two testing sites – one in the city centre and one in Headington. It will open to students on Wednesday 9th September. The service will ensure that any new cases are quickly identified and responded to, helping reduce the risk of a further outbreak and easing the burden on local NHS testing facilities.

Protective measures in our buildings and facilities

The following health and safety measures are now in place on University and college sites:

  • Enhanced cleaning regimes and additional facilities for increased hand washing
  • Spaces adapted to ensure social distancing and appropriate ventilation, with clear signage and markings
  • Perspex screens and barriers in areas where social distancing is more difficult, such as in laboratories
  • University libraries have enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures in place, with a ‘seat-finder’ app to find spaces in reading rooms
  • Face coverings will be required during in-person teaching and in indoor shared spaces with exceptions for those students and staff unable to due to health conditions

I hope that the measures outlined here reassure you about the seriousness with which we are planning for a safe and successful new term.

Finally, I am pleased to let you know that we are working with the City Council to organise a ‘virtual town hall’ meeting for residents to ask questions about the return of Oxford’s student population. The event will feature representatives from the local authorities and both universities. More information on the event will be available shortly.

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University of Oxford plans for Michaelmas term 2020

An update from the university on its plans for the start of the next academic year and how it will manage the impact of returning students.

Oxford University letter 300720

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Tree pulled out of river

The EA today removing the tree that has been in the river upstream of the lock ever since the winter floods.

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Black Lives Matter

Osney residents take part in the Stand up to Racism doorstep protest this evening against the killing of George Floyd

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Osney Easter egg hunt


How many Easter eggs can you spot in Osney Island windows this weekend? Osney is taking part in the West Oxford Window Easter Egg Hunt, 6–20 April. Keep a safe distance while out hunting.


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Coronavirus support on Osney

For help if you are self-isolating go to this page

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Residents’ Association newsletter, spring 2020

The latest newsletter is out now: Osney Newsletter 2020 Mar

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Residents’ Association newsletter, autumn 2019

The latest newsletter is out now: Osney Newsletter 2019 Nov

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Thanks from Mammoth Screen

Letter of thanks from the company that filmed in East and South Streets a few weeks ago.

Dear Residents,

On behalf of Mammoth Screen and all Cast and Crew of ITV Drama Endeavour I would like to thank you for your generous hospitality during our filming at East Street on Sunday 22nd September.

We are grateful for your understanding and wonderful help during our time there.

We simply wouldn’t be able to achieve anything without your support.

Once again thank you very much.

We hope you will enjoy watching Episode 2 of Series 7 of Endeavour, which will be aired on ITV in February 2020.

With kind regards,

Peter Litwinski
Location Manager

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