Covid-19 FAQs

About the virus

What should I do if I experience symptoms of Covid-19?

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they’re mild:

  • Get a tested to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible
  • Stay at home and do not have visitors (self-isolate) until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Please inform us at COVID@courtauld.ac.uk as soon as possible, stating when you first displayed symptoms and who you have been in contact with at The Courtauld in the 48 hours prior.

If you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you also must self-isolate.

What are the rules on self-isolation?

Where do I find out more about the Covid-19 vaccines?

Please consult with the NHS vaccine information and also read the FAQs for students by NHS England.

Booking details are on the NHS website to book your first, second or booster dose.

The Courtauld is strongly encouraging all of our students and staff to take up their full course of vaccinations, including the booster.

I was vaccinated outside the UK - what is the policy around self-isolation?

  • From 9 December, those recognised as ‘fully vaccinated’ under the UK’s travel policy will also be treated as ‘fully vaccinated’ for the purposes of self-isolation policy. This means that they will be exempt from self-isolation if they are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
  • From Tuesday 14 December, people who are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 – whether Omicron or not – should take an NHS rapid lateral flow test every day, for 7 days to help slow the spread of COVID-19. They will not be required to self-isolate as long as they are considered ‘fully vaccinated’ under the UK’s travel policy.
  • If you are unvaccinated or not recognised as ‘fully vaccinated’ under the UK’s travel policy, you will not be eligible for this new daily testing policy, and must therefore self-isolate for 10 days if you are a contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 – Omicron or not.
  • Those vaccinated overseas must be able to provide proof of full vaccination issued by an overseas vaccination programme recognised for travel to the UK, if asked to by NHS Test and Trace or an enforcement officer. NHS Test and Trace may follow up, where necessary, to seek additional information.
  • More guidance can be found at NHS Test and Trace: what to do if you are contacted – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Visiting The Courtauld

I am planning to visit The Courtauld - what are the current guidelines?

All staff, students, volunteers, visitors and contractors coming into Courtauld buildings are required to, unless exempt:

  • Wear a face covering in all spaces regardless of whether social distancing is maintained – for example,
    • Reception areas
    • Corridors and lifts
    • Common Rooms
    • Libraries
    • The Courtauld Gallery
    • The Learning Centre
    • All communal areas of Duchy House
    • Plant Rooms and similar such spaces

Read the full face covering policy here.

Wearing a face covering does not alter the requirement to adhere to and respect other COVID-secure measures, that The Courtauld continues to deploy.

  • All staff, students, volunteers, visitors and contractors must continue to:
    • Respect appropriate physical distancing, where practical.
    • When in the presence of others indoors for example when attending seminars, lectures, meetings, using Library facilities etc. to ensure that that at least one window in the room is open to aid the movement of fresh air and ventilation.
    • Follow good hand hygiene rules with sanitiser and regular hand washing
    • Not to come to site if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have been told to isolate or quarantine or have tested positive.
    • Follow a regular programme of LFD testing – either twice a week, 3-4 days apart if you attend regularly, or 24 hours before coming for a one-off visit.
    • Download the NHS COVID-19 app and scan it when you arrive at any Courtauld building.
    • The Courtauld also recommends all staff and students take up their full course of COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters where applicable.

Do I have to wear a face covering?

All staff, students, volunteers, visitors and contractors coming into Courtauld buildings are required to, unless exempt:

  • Wear a face covering in all spaces regardless of whether social distancing is maintained – for example,
    • Reception areas
    • Corridors and lifts
    • Common Rooms
    • Libraries
    • The Courtauld Gallery
    • The Learning Centre
    • All communal areas of Duchy House
    • Plant Rooms and similar such spaces
    • Additionally
      • All staff, students, volunteers, visitors and contractors coming into Courtauld buildings must wear a face covering in other busy environments, where physical distancing is difficult such as:
        • Lecture theatres and Seminar rooms
        • Conservation studios
      • All staff, students, volunteers, visitors and contractors will be supported and able to wear a face covering in any space not listed above, and will be supported in making that choice.
      • All staff[2] whilst working in areas that are open to the public i.e. our reception galleries and retail spaces and when coming into close contact with visitors, volunteers and students are required to wear a face covering.

      Exceptions

      Whilst we now require face coverings to be worn in our premises, we acknowledge there will be circumstances where exceptions apply, such as but not limited to the following situations:

      • If you are eating and drinking in the Common Room at Vernon Square, the Art Café at Somerset House or in Duchy House communal kitchens.
      • Academic staff, whilst delivering and or during lecturers and seminars may remove their face covering to better support teaching.
      • Learning staff, whilst delivering activity in the gallery and Learning Centre and Curatorial staff, whilst giving talks in the Gallery may remove their face covering though they must ensure they are socially distanced from the group.
      • Face coverings must be worn in seminars, but may be temporarily removed when speaking in order to facilitate communication, especially in situations where participants are hearing impaired.
      • Students are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in seminars but may choose not to wear or remove their face covering to better support learning.
      • When working in an office alone, or with a small number of people who are taking part in regular Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing (with negative results).
      • In any of The Courtauld’s outdoor spaces.
      • If wearing a face covering impedes the ability to complete a job or task (please confirm this with the Head of Estates and Facilities).
      • If you have any health conditions affected by wearing a face covering.
      • If you are a visitor under 11 years of age
      • If you are working with the Courtauld’s collection.

Read the full face covering policy here.

What about cleaning and ventilation?

Continuous assessment of ventilation efficiency will be undertaken at The Courtauld, including regular updates to staff and students about how they can support with ventilation, i.e. keeping at least one window in seminar  rooms open during usage.

The Courtauld Gallery and the lecture theatres at Vernon Square are mechanically ventilated and adjustments to fresh-air flow rates have and will continue to be adjusted as necessary.

You can find the cleaning arrangement for each building below:

Vernon Square will be cleaned Monday to Friday before 09:30 hours as per normal cleaning arrangements with all toilets left fully stocked and hand-sanitizer units and disinfectant wipes throughout the building checked and replenished.

In addition, a full-time cleaning operative will continue to be will be deployed seven days per week throughout the Autumn Term to focus on touch-point cleaning, paying particular attention to those surfaces that will be frequently touched.  This will include but not limited to, staircase banisters, including handrails and call buttons in the lifts and door handles on the main entrances doors entering the building.

In addition, table surfaces, including payment kiosk, coffee machine, handles to microwaves, fridges and doors in the third floor common room will be cleaned at least twice a day.  Where accessible and not in use, study surfaces and desks throughout the Book Library, Library Study Room (VG01), PhD Study room (V301) and Associate Lectures room (V310) will also be wiped down at least once during the day.

Disinfectant wipes will be made available in the Research Forum, seminar rooms, Book Library, Library Study Room (VG01), PhD Study room (V301) and Associate Lectures room (V310) and it is recommended students and staff using these facilities wipe down desk surfaces and computer equipment before use.   Used wipes to be disposed of in waste bins provided within the rooms.

Somerset House, areas being used and occupied within the East Wing (including spaces being brought into use in the West Wing from mid-October 2021) will be cleaned before 09:30 hours as per normal cleaning arrangements with all toilets left fully stocked and hand-sanitizer units and disinfectant wipes throughout the building checked and replenished.

In addition, a part-time time cleaning operative will continue to be will be deployed Monday to Friday throughout the Autumn Term to complete touchpoint cleaning of communal spaces within the East Wing i.e. reception, staircase bannister, lift, including surfaces throughout the Book, Witt and Conway Library that will be in use by Book Library, Digital Media staff and volunteers.

Separate touchpoint cleaning arrangements applicable to the Gallery and facilities that will be used by visitors will be implemented from November 2021 as part of the preparations for re-opening of the Gallery.

Duchy House, cleaning hours will continue be extended to allow for a full-time cleaning operative to be to deployed Monday to Sunday for the duration of the Autumn Term to support enhanced cleaning of touchpoint surfaces, including but not limited to handrails and call buttons in the lifts and door handles throughout the common parts and those in shared spaces i.e. laundry, kitchens, shower rooms.   The cleaning of kitchen surfaces and appliances (microwaves, kettles, cookers) will continue to be enhanced with these items disinfected at least once per day.

Accessing free Covid-19 tests

What is the advice on testing?

Students and staff who are accessing campus or university accommodation or working in The Courtauld Gallery are encouraged to follow a regular programme of Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing – either twice a week, 3-4 days apart if attending regularly, or 24 hours before coming for a one-off visit.

For students who may only be attending the building infrequently, we encourage you to have arranged a test the day before or in the morning before your arrival.

We recommend that visitors to any Courtauld building – including the Gallery – take a Lateral Flow Test the day before or the day of their visit.

Am I still able to access free testing?

Do I need to take part on regular Covid-19 testing if I’ve been vaccinated?

Yes, you will still need to be tested on a regular basis.

If I test positive for coronavirus following a lateral flow test, should I still seek a confirmatory PCR test?

If you did a rapid lateral flow test at home and the result was positive:

Continue to self-isolate until you get the result of the PCR test. Follow the advice you’re given when you get the result.

From 11 January in England, people who receive positive Lateral Flow Device test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

Find out more here.

Teaching and learning

What will the start of Spring term look like?

All teaching – including lectures, seminars and site visits, will be in-person from Week 4 (commencing 31 January), unless in exceptional circumstances.

What if I get Covid-19 or have to isolate during weeks 2,3 or 4 when at least some teaching is taking place in-person?

If you have Covid 19 or are having to isolate in weeks 2,3 or 4 and feel well enough to participate in teaching, you will be able to ‘zoom’ into your seminars (otherwise known as hybrid teaching). If 2 or more members of your seminar are having to ‘zoom’ into a seminar, the seminar may take place online for everyone (your teacher will be in touch to confirm).

If your teaching staff member has Covid-19 or is isolating but is well enough to continue teaching, the seminar will take place online. If a class cannot take place because the teacher is unwell, we will be in touch with the class directly.

What if my teaching staff member (AL/TA/Lecturer) has Covid-19 or has to isolate during weeks 2,3 or 4?

If you have Covid 19 or are having to isolate in weeks 2,3 or 4 and feel well enough to participate in teaching, you will be able to ‘zoom’ into your seminars (otherwise known as hybrid teaching).

If 2 or more members of your seminar are having to ‘zoom’ into a seminar, the seminar may take place online for everyone (your teacher will be in touch to confirm).

Can I use Vernon Square?

Vernon Square campus and facilities (the Library, study and recreation spaces, the Students Union) remain open to students. Please follow mask and testing requirements to use these areas.

Is the Gallery open?

The Courtauld Gallery, shop and café also remain open.

 

What about 1-2-1 supervisions or tutorials?

These will take place online.

Can I choose to attend seminars remotely?

We believe that our students will get the most from small, face-to-face teaching, and that this is done best in person. If you are unable to attend seminars for medical reasons or because of Covid-19 related extenuating circumstances such as travel quarantine, we will do our best to support you with online teaching – however, we would strongly recommend you attend your seminars in person wherever possible. Seminars will not be recorded, as we want students to feel comfortable to express their views.

Are Society, Student Union and Social events taking place in person?

The SU is running a mixture of online and in-person social events over the next few weeks. We are assessing the Covid risks and wellbeing harms on a weekly basis. Societies are welcome to run in-person event and have the SU’s full support in doing so. All In-person Soc and SU events will require mask wearing where appropriate, ventilation, a track&trace register and a negative LFT on entry.

I am unable to be in London at the start of term and / or have concerns about illness or self-isolation - what do I do?

We are aware that some of you might be facing obstacles that might prevent you being here for in-person teaching or have concerns about the impact of illness or self-isolation on their studies.

To best support our student body, it is really helpful for us to know as early as possible about any challenges you might be facing – please do email  sas@courtauld.ac.uk if this affects you, so that we can make this part of our planning.

What about visits and trips?

As long as there are no restrictions on social distancing, group size or travel within the UK, UK-based trips and visits should go ahead.

The situation is much more complex with international trips. Trips would only be considered to countries not on the red list, and even then, might not be possible due to restrictions, or make specific requirements of students such as testing or vaccination. At this stage, international trips should not be counted on.

What is The Courtauld doing to ensure our campus as safe as possible when we return to onsite teaching?

We are working to implement a range of safety measures including air filters in classrooms, improving ventilation, and ensuring that we have a sufficient supply of Lateral Flow Testing for Week 2.

Access to facilities and support

Will I be able to browse the Library at Vernon Square?

Yes, students will be able to browse the library.

What about the Witt Library at Somerset House? And the Book Library at Somerset House?

The Witt Library at Somerset House should reopen in time for the next academic year but attendance will need to be pre-booked.

Will there be study space available?

Ye, we will continue to ensure student study space is available.

Is food and drink on site?

Yes, food and drink available is available in the Common Room.

What about student social spaces?

Students will have access to indoor and outdoor social spaces.

Can I access student support service in person?

Student advice and support is available in person at Vernon Square, but may be supplemented by online support – for example counselling services – which we know from the pandemic has worked well for some students.

Extenuating circumstances and support

What will happen if international students need to go home, or can’t get here for the start of term?

If some students are unable to participate due to specific Covid-19 related circumstances, we will look to include them where possible via online routes. Our Library also has a huge range of online materials. However, we would strongly encourage you to plan to be here for the start of term.

What about students who need to self-isolate?

The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. If you need to self-isolate, please contact advice@courtauld.ac.uk so that we can ensure that you receive online teaching and support where possible.

If you are self-isolating because you have Covid-19, pease inform us at COVID@courtauld.ac.uk as soon as possible, stating when you first displayed symptoms and who you have been in contact with at The Courtauld in the 48 hours prior.

What about staff who self-isolate?

If staff need to self-isolate, but are well, we will look at rescheduling teaching or delivering this online. If staff are unwell, teaching will either be rescheduled or delivered by someone else.

If you are self-isolating because you have Covid-19, pease inform us at COVID@courtauld.ac.uk as soon as possible, stating when you first displayed symptoms and who you have been in contact with at The Courtauld in the 48 hours prior.

What if I have a disability – can I get extra support?

We are fully committed to supporting students with disabilities. Please contact wellbeing@courtauld.ac.uk to discuss how we can best support you.

How can I self-isolate in student accommodation?

We have detailed protocols in place for self-isolation in our student accommodation – if you are staying in Duchy House, this will be provided to you.

Will there still be a quiet reflection room available onsite for prayer?

Yes, there will be.

 

Contact us

I have additional questions - who should I contact?

General: If your question relates to the coronavirus, please contact Anthony Tyrell at: Anthony.Tyrrell@courtauld.ac.uk or phone 020 3947 7593.

Students: Please contact Student and Academic Services by email in the first instance:  advice@courtauld.ac.uk

Staff: If you are travelling overseas and / or your work is affected by the coronavirus, please contact Human Resources

Visitors: Please get in touch with the event organiser – contact details of our departments can be found here.

Local community: If you live or work in the community around our Vernon Square campus and your question relates to The Courtauld’s response to the coronavirus, please contact:

Telephone: 44 (0) 20 3947 7717 (office hours, Monday to Friday)

Email: Vs.security@courtauld.ac.uk

This page was last updated on 21 January 2022.

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