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 will be closely following the advice of Public Health England (PHE) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

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.

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 coronavirus?

Based on current evidence, typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Generally, coronavirus 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.
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Should I wear a facemask?

Current Public Health England advice does not stipulate that you should wear a facemask. Whether you choose to do so is a matter of personal choice.

2. Travel

I have just returned from travelling - what should I do?

If you have returned from these specific areas in the last 14 days:

Category 1 areas:

  • Wuhan city and Hubei Province;
  • Iran;
  • Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea)
  • Italy

You should call NHS111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms.

If you have returned from these areas in the last 14 days:

Category 2 areas:

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

And are experiencing symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses for a period of 14 days after your return. Contact NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the area.

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.

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.
  • Work on the Courtauld Connects construction site is currently paused for further assessments.

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.

We will update both staff and students on our plans for the summer term by 6 April (or sooner if the situation changes), and issue regular updates in between.

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 is now transitioning 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.

We have temporarily increased the number of items that staff and students can borrow:

  • BA and MA students may borrow up to 15 items
  • PhD candidates may borrow up to 25 items
  • Staff may borrow up to 30 items

Staff and students do not need to contact the team about any books they currently have on loan. We are renewing all current loans so they are due on 22 April. We will continue to renew them until the physical libraries reopen. We will waive any penalties for overdue items.

Can I access Senate House?

Senate House Library closed on 19 March. Senate House Library will be:

  • Will be launching an online support “Library WebChat” the week beginning 23 March
  • Will continue to monitor all email inboxes
  • Has increased the number of items staff and students can borrow:
    • BA and students may borrow up to 15 items
    • MA students may borrow up to 20 items
    • PhD candidates and staff may borrow up to 25 item
    • 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?

Many public, research and university libraries have now closed. Please check individual libraries’ websites for the most up to date information about whether they are open and accepting external visitors.

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, a number of 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?

While we have cancelled our Insights into Art History: Women and Power on Saturday 28 March, we aim to launch an online alternative in early April.

Applications for Art History Summer University 2020 remain open. We will continue to develop our plans for this course and will create an online version, if required.

For further information please contact

5. 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

I am living in Duchy House - how will this affect me?

We will continue to support the students living there. Please note that current Government advice is that students who are living in halls must now stay there, as travel is restricted.

We have increased cleaning hours for all communal areas, and have made toilet paper and water bottles available for those who may need it. We are maintaining a 24/7 security staffing presence at Somerset House, and our staff are available, both at Somerset House and remotely, to support you.

If you develop any symptoms, please stay in your room and:

1) Inform Student and Academic Services at

2) Get in touch with the Estates team, to provide further support and assistance:

Duchy House Duty Manager – Tel: 07719 305771

Head of Estates and Facilities – Tel: 07774 5858156

I am no longer staying at Duchy House - what happens next?

We will be in touch with residents to confirm arrangements for offering to release  you from your License Agreement so that you do not have to pay for the summer term, also to set out the procedures and support that will be put in place for vacating rooms and getting back any possessions that have been left there.

Until you receive these instructions from us, you must not travel to Duchy House.

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.

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

Please contact our Student and Academic Services at

6. 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.

7. 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: If you are travelling overseas and / or your studies are affected by the coronavirus, please contact Student and Academic Services

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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