COVID-19 Face Coverings Policy

This policy offers staff and students guidance on wearing face coverings and will remain in effect until at least 9 January 2022, or until further guidance is received from the UK Government.

Face coverings are no longer mandatory for students, staff and visitors in teaching rooms or in communal areas according to UK Government policy. However, the UK Government strongly recommends that face coverings should be worn in enclosed and crowded spaces. Note: it is mandatory to wear them on London public transport, if this is how you are, travelling to and from campus.

General principles

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, 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
  • Feel comfortable and able to wear a face mask in any space not listed above, and be supported in making that choice.


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, whilst 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.

Further advice

  • 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 should 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.
  • Face coverings should be worn over both the nose and mouth. Cloth face coverings or disposable masks will be suitable. Cloth face coverings should have at least two layers of fabric and be regularly washed. We do not recommend plastic face shields – please contact the Head of Estates and Facilities if you have a specific need to use one.
  • 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.
  • Clean hands before and after touching your face covering – including to remove or put them on. Where a face covering becomes damp, it should not be worn, and the face covering should be replaced. Staff and students may consider bringing a spare face covering to wear whilst on Courtauld premises, if their face covering becomes damp during the day.

These recommendations are here for everyone’s safety, and to help you make decisions about the best way to protect your health.

Updated: 20 September 2021