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. The UK government has introduced coronavirus restrictions, otherwise known as a “lockdown”, which will last in its current form until at least 31 May 2020.

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 concerns about the ongoing outbreak.

A number of our buildings have closed, all teaching will take place remotely for the summer term, and events have been cancelled, postponed or moved online.

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 7 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.

If you are residing in Duchy House, please contact: 07719 305771 or

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?

If you can, wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops.

Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

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.

It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose.

Read more about face coverings.

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 through to end April. 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. In addition, many countries have imposed travel restrictions on people travelling from the UK.

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

From 8 June, there will be new rules in place for residents and visitors entering the UK.

When these rules are in place, you will:

  • need to provide your journey and contact details when you travel to the UK
  • not be allowed to leave the place you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK except in very limited situations (known as ‘self-isolating’)

Read more here.

3. Buildings and libraries

Are Courtauld buildings open?

In light of the current situation with the Coronavirus in the UK, a number of our buildings have now closed. We have taken this decision in order to protect the health of our students, staff and visitors, and it builds on our previous decision to move all teaching online from week commencing 16 March. This closure may be for a significant period of time, with any decision to reopen being based on national health advice.

As a result of this:

  • The Libraries in Somerset House and Vernon Square closed on Friday 20 March.
  • The Somerset House (East Wing) and Vernon Square buildings closed on Sunday 22 March.
  • Aside from essential on site staff, Courtauld employees will work from home until it is considered safe to return to work.
  • After a pause for review, 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.

However, some areas will remain open for essential activity, as long as this is supported by public health advice:

  • Duchy House – our student accommodation – will continue to operate as normal.
  • Our off-site collections store will close to external visitors, but essential visits by Courtauld staff will continue.

Teaching will also be delivered online for the summer term.

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.

Staff and students do not need to contact the team about any books they currently have on loan. The Library Team will be automatically renewing everything you currently have on loan. We are looking at a range of options to allow you to return those items to us once the UK Government has eased the current restrictions and will waive any penalties for overdue material – until then, please hold on to your books.

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?

Details of other relevant libraries and archives are available on the Library web pages. A further list of libraries with collections relating to the history of art and architecture is available on the ARLIS 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.

How is the Young People’s Programme affected?

Applications for Art History Summer University 2020 remain open, and will be moving online this summer.

For further information please contact

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.

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. At present, travel restrictions within the UK remain in place until 7 May 2020.  As summer term teaching will all be delivered online, there will be no requirement for residents who left prior to, or during the Easter break, to return to live at Duchy House.

I want to return to Duchy House later in the summer term?

It will not be possible to return and live in Duchy House in the second half of the summer-term.

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

For UK students, you will be aware travel restrictions remain in place in the UK and thus, you are not permitted to return to Duchy House at the present time, as this is not essential travel.

Pending Government updates on or around 7 May 2020, the Head of Estates and Facilities will write to you week commencing 11 May 2020 to outline arrangements for allowing you to return to pack and clear your room.  You will be asked to attend on specific dates only.

For International students, we will liaise with you regarding entering your room to pack and ship your contents back to your home country.  A separate set of FAQ’s regarding this process are being drafted and will issued to in the week commencing 27 April 2020.

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.

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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