ONE of Oxford University’s oldest colleges has given its historic dining hall an upgrade to protect students.

Balliol College, which is also one of the university’s largest with around 370 undergraduate students, has put up screens to divide places on its dining benches to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

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Sharing pictures of the new arrangements on Instagram, the college said its front of house team had been ‘hard at work’ setting up hall ahead of reopening which it said were in place 'to ensure the health and safety of all the Balliol community.'

Oxford Mail:

Signs will be changed from 'clean' to 'dirty' once used

Going on to explain the new system, it said: “To maintain social distancing, there are screens on the tables and only 60 people will be allowed to eat in hall at any time.

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"Each person will sit down at a space marked ‘clean’ and when they’ve finished turn the page over to show as ‘dirty’, so that no one sits at a dirty space.

"Everything will be cleaned between sittings – there will be three sittings each for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All meals need to be booked."

Oxford Mail:

The college is also offering a takeaway service for those who do not wish to eat in hall, which is available for lunch and dinner.

The majority of Oxford University students returned to the city last week ahead of the start of the Michaelmas term on Sunday.

The latest figures from Oxford University’s own testing service show between October 3 an 9, there were 709 tests carried out by the university.

Of these, 61 came back positive.

Since the the university started testing on August 20, there have been 1,631 tests and 91 Covid cases.