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 PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) 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 for at least 10 days, starting from the day the test was taken.

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.

Coronavirus vaccination clinics are available between 10am and 5pm at King’s College London this September and October, and Imperial College London this October. Walk-in appointments are available, but booking is recommended to guarantee your appointment.

Please bring your student ID with you. There is no requirement to have any other ID or an NHS number.

It is important that you have both doses of your vaccine. The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine offers a level of protection, but to get the maximum protection you must get a second dose. Your second dose must be at least 8 weeks after your first.

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

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

NHS England and DfE (Department for Education) are aware of concerns around international students with approved vaccines still having to self-isolate if they have contact with a positive case, even if they have an approved vaccine.

The vaccination status of those vaccinated outside of the UK, including international students, is not recognised for the purpose of contact tracing. The vaccination status of international students is reliant on self-reporting, as paper certification cannot be verified through the contact tracing process, which is online or telephone based.

For the foreseeable future, anyone vaccinated outside the UK, including EU and US students, are legally required to self-isolate if they are notified as having contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. There is ongoing work to align this policy and policy at the borders, which accepts a wider range of international vaccines. DfE are liaising with NHS England to revise their HE student FAQs to provide more information on this matter.

If you have any questions, please contact DfE at HE.COVIDPLANNING@education.gov.uk

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.

I have recently tested positive for coronavirus. Should I still access free lateral flow tests, too?

If you have recently (within 90 days) tested positive for COVID-19, you are likely to have developed some immunity.

You are exempt from testing by both PCR and LFD within 90 days of a previous positive test, unless you develop new symptoms.

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.

Find out more here

Health and safety at The Courtauld

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

We are asking everyone who comes to The Courtauld Gallery to:

  • Not enter with Covid-19 symptoms, if you have tested positive or have been told to isolate or quarantine – please see our refunds policy for details of how to move or refund your ticket
  • Stick to your timed ticket slot, to help us manage the number of visitors in the building
  • Download the NHS COVID-19 app and scan it when entering the building
  • Keep your distance from staff, students and other visitors, wherever possible
  • Use contactless payment methods where ever possible
  • Make use of hand sanitiser located in our entrance foyer, ticketing hall and locker area and the hand washing facilities in our toilets
  • Avoid using the lifts unless you need to for access or mobility reasons

We would also recommend that visitors:

  • Wear a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces – for example our lifts, toilets and smaller galleries the Bloomsbury Gallery or Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Prints and Drawings Gallery
  • Take a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Test the day before or day of your visit
  • Follow suggested routes through The Courtauld Gallery to avoid congestion

All staff, students, visitors and contractors attending Vernon Square, Somerset House or Duchy House should:

  • Respect appropriate physical distancing, where practical
  • When in the presence of others indoors, ensure that that at least one window in the room is open for fresh air and ventilation
  • Follow good hand-hygiene rules, with sanitiser and regular hand washing
  • Not come to site with COVID-19 symptoms, if you have tested positive or have been told to isolate or quarantine
  • Follow a regular programme of Lateral Flow Device 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

Wearing face coverings is recommended, especially in busy environments where it is difficult to physically distance. Our Face Coverings policy contains a number of exceptions, including teaching and working in offices with colleagues following a regular testing regime. We will be supportive of all colleagues, students, visitors and contractors who wish to wear a face covering.

Do I have to wear a face covering?

All staff, students, volunteers, visitors and contractors coming into a Courtauld building are recommended to:

  • Wear a face covering in communal spaces where physical distancing is difficult – for example, reception areas, corridors and lifts, or the communal areas of Duchy House
  • Wear a face covering in busy environments, where physical distancing is difficult such as:
    • Lecture theatres and Seminar rooms
    • Libraries
    • Conservation studios
    • The Common Room
    • The Courtauld Gallery
    • The Learning Centre
    • The smaller galleries within The Courtauld Gallery
  • Feel comfortable and able to wear a face mask in any space not listed above, and be supported in making that choice.

Exceptions

Whilst we recommend face coverings be worn, we acknowledge there will be circumstances where exceptions apply such as but not limited to:

  • If you are eating and drinking in the Common Room or in Duchy House kitchens
  • Academic staff, whilst delivering and or during lecturers and seminars may remove their face covering to better support teaching.
  • Learning Staff delivering activity in the gallery and Learning Centre and Curatorial Staff, whilst giving talks in the gallery may remove their face covering.
  • Students are asked to wear face coverings while attending lectures except in the event of interacting with the lecturer if and when they are invited to do so and if wearing a face covering makes this difficult.
  • Students are 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 12 years.
  • If you are working with The Courtauld’s collection.

The Courtauld will continue to make available disposable face coverings to all staff, students volunteers, visitors and contractors. In addition, The Courtauld has purchased a stock of KN95/FFP2 masks and will make these available to essential staff if this enhanced type of face covering has been identified in Personal Risk Assessments.

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.

Teaching and learning

What will teaching and learning look like in autumn 2021?

Current Government plans state that before the start of our next Academic Year (October 2021), social distancing measures should have come to an end, thanks to a largely vaccinated UK adult population. To support this, The Courtauld is encouraging all our students – current and incoming – to take up their full course of vaccinations when it is offered to them.

Provided that social distancing restrictions have been lifted, The Courtauld is planning that:

  • Most lectures, seminars and tutorials will be delivered in-person in the 2021/22 Academic Year Libraries, study and social spaces will be open for student use. MA History of Art Methodologies will be delivered online, as well as some content from the Conservation Department, such as guest lectures.
  • Student support services will be available in person, though may be supplemented through online services where this is more appropriate.
  • In-person events to be part of programmes such as Welcome Week, the Research Forum and the Students’ Union – although certain events will be online where this is appropriate.

However, much can change in the next six months. Student support for self-isolation and testing will be important in order to avoid outbreaks, and even small changes in government guidance could impact on use of space, and could mean that aspects of this plan have to change.

Should social distancing be retained or reintroduced, The Courtauld would move to deliver lectures and tutorials online rather than in person; restrictions may also be introduced to library study and social spaces; and events and support services moved online.

There is also still much uncertainty about international trips or research travel which will need careful monitoring; international trips should not, at this stage, be counted on. A reintroduction of social distancing or travel restrictions may also mean the postponement or cancellation of trips or visits within the UK.

In the worst-case scenario of another lockdown, all teaching would be moved online and access to Vernon Square and to the libraries further restricted. However, even under these extremely difficult circumstances, The Courtauld has shown it can still deliver outstanding teaching and learning.

New situations that might fall between these examples and require a different response – but any changes will be communicated as early as possible, and consulted on with The Courtauld Students’ Union and Trades’ Unions.

Will I be able to access lectures online?

Lectures will be available online, for those students who might have to miss them due to illness, or would benefit from watching them again. However, we would encourage students to attend lectures in person where this is possible. Some content from the Conservation Department may be delivered online, such as guest lectures.

Do I have to live in London?

As long as we are offering face-to-face teaching and student facilities, yes, you will need to live in London (or within a commutable distance).

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.

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 the start of term, or have concerns about the impact of illness or self-isolation on their studies. We are working hard to make teaching in the Autumn Term as flexible as we can, so that if you are unable to attend in person (for example, because of a requirement to self-isolate, or international travel constraints) you will be still able to participate as fully as possible in academic life online.

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. Social distancing, a return to the Rule of 6 or travel restrictions may all mean UK-based trips and visits have to be suspended.

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.

How would social distancing affect how The Courtauld delivers teaching and learning?

Should social distancing be retained or reintroduced, we will move to delivering lectures, tutorials and supervisions online rather than in person; restrictions may also be introduced to library study and social spaces; conservation studio teaching would become socially distanced; UK trips and visits would be cancelled or postponed; and events and support services would move online. Depending on the exact nature of the restrictions and guidelines, further changes may also be required.

How would a further lockdown affect The Courtauld’s teaching and learning?

In the worst-case scenario of another lockdown, all teaching and learning would be moved online and access to Vernon Square and the libraries restricted in line with Government guidance. We do, however, know from the past year that even under these extremely difficult circumstances, we can still deliver outstanding teaching and learning.

If you moved to online lectures, how much notice would I get?

We would endeavor to give you as much notice as possible, but experience has shown that sometimes these decisions need to be made very swiftly, to help keep our staff and students safe.

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, unless we are instructed specifically that it must be closed.

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.

What about events?

Although some events will still be held online – especially when they are accessible to more people through online delivery –  Welcome Week, the Research Forum programme, and Students’ Union will include some in-person events.

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’m unwell and miss teaching?

We will provide you with every opportunity to catch up – information from each class or lecture will be posted on the VLE.

If you are unwell 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 10 October 2021.

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