Coronavirus: Updates and FAQs - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Coronavirus: Updates and FAQs

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Coronavirus: Updates and FAQs

The Courtauld is monitoring the outbreak of a new coronavirus (COVID-19), and is closely following the advice of Public Health England.

We understand that you may have concerns, and we are taking steps to ensure the safety of our students, staff and visitors during the situation. We understand that our applicants and offer holders will also have questions about the ongoing outbreak, and you can read more about our plans to return to small group teaching in September 2021 here.

The Courtauld can confirm that we have complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 – read our Staying COVID-19 Secure statement.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. About the virus

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Based on current evidence, typical symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • New and continuous cough
  • Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
  • Loss of taste or small

Generally, COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long‐term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

What should I do if I experience any of the symptoms?

As per NHS guidance:

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started.

If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

Read further guidance about self-isolating here.

What can I do to protect myself from the virus?
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work.
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Adhere to social distancing guidelines, and ensure that you maintain 2 metre distance from anyone outside your household.
Should I wear a face covering?

It is mandatory to wear face coverings in the following settings:

  • public transport
  • indoor transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which are open to the public and that wholly or mainly offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • indoor shopping centres
  • banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)

When students and staff return to our Vernon Square campus in September, they must wear a face mask while moving between rooms, and in smaller spaces where they cannot be 2 metres apart.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.

You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose. It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

How should a face covering be worn?

A face covering should:

  • cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
  • fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
  • be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
  • ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
  • unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged

When wearing a face covering you should:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
  • avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
  • avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
  • change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • avoid taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession (for example, when leaving and entering shops on a high street)

When removing a face covering:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
  • only handle the straps, ties or clips
  • do not give it to someone else to use
  • if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
  • if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed

Find out more.

What is the NHS Test and Trace service?

The NHS test and trace service ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus. The service also helps to trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

Find out more information about the NHS test and trace service

2. Travel

I am planning to travel soon - what should I do?

We strongly recommend that all students and staff follow FCO guidelines.

The Courtauld has cancelled all non-essential international travel for Courtauld work / study-related purposes. If you have Courtauld-related travel plans that you believe are essential, please contact Student and Academic Services if you are a student, and contact Human Resources if you are a member of staff.

If you are planning to travel internationally in a personal capacity, please be reminded that travel restrictions could change at short notice, possibly curtailing your ability to travel and / or requiring you to self-isolate in the country you have travelled to, or on arrival back in the UK.

I am planning to travel to the UK - what should I do?

Coronavirus regulations mean that you must self-isolate for 14 days if you return to the UK from a country outside the countries listed in the travel corridor exemption list.

From 10 July 2020 you will not have to self-isolate when you arrive in England, if you:

Find our more here.

3. Buildings and libraries

Are Courtauld buildings open?

Vernon Square campus: is currently opened for limited purposes.

Somerset House building: remains closed.

Duchy House: From 12 July, will no longer be housing students.

Libraries in Somerset House and Vernon Square remain closed. A ‘drop box’ has been set up outside our Vernon Square campus to return books, Monday to Friday, 11.00 – 15.00 from Monday 29 June to Friday 6 July.

Off-site collections store is accessible only to staff for essential visits.

The Courtauld Connects building site is currently operational, but on a much reduced scale in line with health and safety best practice and government guidelines on working practices such as distancing. Additional welfare facilities and parking have been made available for those who travel to site. This situation will be kept under review and amended as guidelines change.

Aside from on-site essential staff, Courtauld employees are currently working from home, and teaching for the summer term has been moved online.

For the wider public, we will be looking at ways in which we can continue to share our research, academic expertise and collection, using online and remote channels until it is safe to reopen.

How can I access Courtauld Library resources?

The Library has transitioned to a remote service providing students and staff with access to:

Library staff will support students and staff by email:

  • Helping them to identify other open access material
  • Suggesting alternative resources where the materials they are looking for are not available online
  • Purchasing new online resources recommended by students and staff where possible and cost-effective
  • Giving guidance around search strategies, evaluating online resources and referencing them

The Library team will update their web pages and increase their presence on the Virtual Learning Environment to enable students and staff to access this information directly. We will also explore allowing students to book one-to-one sessions via Skype or similar services.

How do I return my library books?

If you are graduating this year, please return any Library books as soon as you can, and as soon as is safe. If you are in London and able to safely return them to Vernon Square in person, our “drop box” will be available Monday to Friday 11.00 – 15.00 – it is just inside Reception, and is likely to remain in place throughout the summer and in to the Autumn Term.

If you would prefer to post or courier them back to us, please address them to: Library, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square, Penton Rise, King’s Cross, London WC1X 9EW. Please make sure that you have a certificate of posting.

If you are returning next year, including to another programme, you do not need to return your books until the start of the autumn term. All books have automatically been renewed until 19 October. If you have any questions or concerns about returning books, please contact

How can I access Senate House?

Senate House Library have:

  • Launched an online support “Library WebChat”
  • Will continue to monitor all email inboxes
  • Will continue automatically renewing books
  • Will launch new Library Guides around online resources.

More detailed information is on the Senate House website.

What other libraries can I use?

You can find a A-Z of the online resources you can access through Senate House Library, and details of its Library’s Click, Collect & Return service on its website.

4. Events and Schools Outreach

I am due to attend an event at The Courtauld - will this be affected?

We have had to cancel, postpone or move online a number of events due to the ongoing situation.

Please find further information on our event pages: Research Forum and Public Programmes.

Are your partner exhibitions still open to the public?

In light of the current situation with the Coronavirus in the UK, our partner exhibitions are temporarily closed to the public until further notice, in line with advice from Public Health England.

Please view the latest information.

Are you continuing your outreach programme with schools?

Whilst our Learning outreach programmes have been temporarily suspended and all participating schools and colleges notified, our work continues and we will be trialling new ways of supporting engagement shortly. Please get in touch to discuss future opportunities at

In the meantime, you can take advantage of our online Learning Resources to discover something new about our collection.

5. Current student queries

Is on or off-site teaching affected?

All scheduled teaching (lectures, seminars, supervisions) will take place remotely in the summer term.  There will be no off-site visits during this period.

Are assessments affected?
I am due to go on an overseas study trip - how will this affect me?

We have taken the difficult decision to cancel all non-essential international travel on Courtauld business, including scheduled teaching trips.

Covid-19 is a rapidly changing situation and our priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff, to ensure no-one finds themselves in a situation of restrictions on travel being imposed whilst in an overseas location.

Staff and students are reminded travel restrictions could change at short-notice requiring you to either self-isolate in the country or on your return to the UK.

I need to access Wellbeing services - what should I do?

Our Wellbeing services can still be accessed – please email

We are offering remote appointments through Zoom or telephone, and will be providing support over the Easter period.

Can I still access the Careers Service?

Yes, we are still providing support to currents students and alumni who have graduated within the last 2 years, as usual.

Please email

Will the graduation ceremony still take place on 8 July?

Unfortunately, the planned Graduation Ceremony will not take place on 8 July. Further discussions are being held about this, and we will update students once we have more information.

In the meantime, you will be invited to a Virtual Graduation Ceremony  by email.

Do I still need to pay my summer term tuition fees?

Yes. UK Government guidance states that students should not expect any fee refund if they are receiving adequate online learning and support. The Courtauld will be delivering all teaching and learning via online channels over the Summer term. Additional support services, such as academic skills and  counselling services with also be delivered online.

I am a student / parent / guardian with further queries - who should I contact?

Please contact our Student and Academic Services at

6. Student accommodation queries

Can I return to Duchy House for the summer term?

No. As summer term teaching will all be delivered online, there will be no requirement for residents who left to return to live at Duchy House.

I need to return to collect my possessions - what should I do?

UK-based students: we have been confirming timeslots for students to collect and clear possessions from your rooms.

International students: packing is now almost completed and shipping is underway. We will be in touch with individuals directly to confirm shipping details.

When will my tenancy deposit be returned?

We will settle payment of your tenancy deposit (subject to the terms of the Licence Agreement) in the week commencing 22 June 2020.

What is happening with the gesture of goodwill payment?

We will settle the gesture of goodwill payment, now that the third rent installment is not due to be paid, as outlined in the letter dated 7 February 2020 from the Head of Estates and Facilities, in the week commencing 22 June 2020.

I have library books in my room. What will happen with these?

During the process of clearing rooms, we will check for Library books, and will collect these and return to The Courtauld and other Libraries on your behalf.

What should I do with my room key and ID / Access card?

For UK students, you will be asked to hand your room key in on the day your return to clear your room.

For UK and International students who are not able to return, you must return your room key via recorded delivery to: Thaddeus Bebb – Estates and Facilities Office – The Courtauld Institute of Art – Somerset House – London – WC2R 0RN.

All ID / Access cards have been deactivated for use at Duchy House.  These do not need to be returned to The Courtauld.

I live in private accommodation - what are my rights?

7. Prospective student queries

I have questions about the impact of the outbreak on my application / offer?

8. Staff queries

Should I work from home?

We expect staff to work from home, unless you are on a front line line / a  role with a requirement to be physically on site to carry out your job.

For more information, please see SharePoint.

I am unwell, in self-isolation, or have childcare responsibilities - who should I inform?

If you are unwell, in self-isolation due to another member of your household being unwell, or your childcare responsibilities change or affect your ability to work your normal hours, please inform your line manager and

9. Further information and questions

Further information
I have additional questions - who should I contact?

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

Students: Please contact Student and Academic Services by email in the first instance:

Phone: Our switchboard is available Monday to Friday during the following hours (BST):

10:30 until 12:30
14:00 until 16:00

Switchboard number: +44 (0) 203 9477 670

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)


The Department for Education: has launched a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Please email or phone 0800 046 8687. The helpline is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

This page will be reviewed on a regular basis.

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