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. 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. 

You can find out more about our response from the links below, and in our FAQs.

vernon square Building

Student responsibility agreement

Read the agreement here

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. End of term travel arrangements and asymptomatic testing
  2. New national restrictions (5 November – 2 December 2020)
  3. About the virus
  4. Health and safety
  5. Travel
  6. Buildings and facilities
  7. Teaching and learning
  8. Events and schools outreach
  9. Current student queries
  10. Student accommodation queries
  11. Prospective student queries
  12. Staff queries
  13. Extenuating circumstances and support
  14. Further information and questions

1.End of term travel arrangements and asymptomatic testing

I’m intending to travel home for the winter break. When should I aim to travel?

In order to travel home safely, students in England will be required to continue to follow the current national restrictions in place until Wednesday 2 December, completing this four-week period in their term-time accommodation. Coinciding with the end of the period of national restrictions, students intending to travel home for Christmas will be encouraged to do so between Thursday 3 December and Wednesday 9 December (the ‘student travel window’).

Students will be free to travel home at any point during the travel window.

How will the remainder of term 1 teaching be affected?

Fully online teaching is expected by the UK Government by no later than 9 December 2020. Thus to support this, Conservation and Technology teaching will move entirely online from 3 December.

The Courtauld’s Autumn Term ends on Friday 11 December. Lectures and seminars will continue online during this period.

Although individual study spaces will still be bookable in the Library at Vernon Square, group study bookings will be suspended.

Can I travel home after 9 December?

UK Government advice is to encourage all students who intend to travel home for Christmas to do so between Thursday 3 December and Wednesday 9 December. This is for two reasons:

Firstly, it immediately follows the end of national restrictions in England. This should make travelling safer due to limited social contact in the weeks prior to travel.

Secondly, students are advised to travel on or before the Wednesday 9 December because, if a student develops symptoms of Covid-19 or is identified as a close contact or household member of someone who tests positive for Covid-19, this would allow the student to complete the period of self-isolation (up to 14 days) and still travel home before Christmas day.

Students are permitted to travel home after 9 December, however please note the above risk. Planning to travel after 9 December could mean that, if you develop symptoms/are identified as a contact/household member of someone that tests positive, you would have to self-isolate for up to 14 days which would include Christmas day.

What is the asymptomatic testing scheme for university students?

The UK Government has outlined its intention to support asymptomatic testing of students wishing to travel home during the student travel window. The Courtauld is and remains in discussions with the Department for Education, Public Health England, and members of the University of London group to offer such testing to Courtauld students where possible.

The asymptomatic testing scheme would be entirely optional for students. Its aim to provide students who opt to partake in the scheme with reassurance that they can safely rejoin their family members. Those who opt to be involved will take two Lateral Flow Antigen tests three days apart. Those who test negative, along with those who opt not to take a test, will be expected to travel home during the student travel window. Those who test positive will be advised to complete their period of self-isolation at their term-time address.

This is a complex and involved logistical operation for universities and a number of practical hurdles remain before any concrete details can be provided to you. Please be assured that we will keep you updated on the progress of these plans.

Will all Courtauld students be able to get tested under the scheme?

Precise details on The Courtauld’s involvement, and the extent of testing availability remain to be determined. Please note that the initial priority will be to make the testing available to students in university accommodation, those attending in-person teaching and front-line operational staff. It is possible but not guaranteed that there will be broader availability for the rest of our student body.

How can I register my interest in being tested under the scheme?

The initial priority will be to make the testing available to those students living in university accommodation, those attending in person teaching and front line operational staff (including those supporting in-person teaching). However, testing may be available to students and staff more widely (we are waiting for further clarification on this). If you are not in one of the groups previously mentioned and would like to be tested, can you please let us know by e-mailing by 5pm on Wednesday 18 November. This will enable us to get a broad sense of likely numbers and plan appropriately, if this option is available.

2.New national restrictions (5 November – 2 December 2020 inclusive)

When are the new national restrictions in force?

New national restrictions implementing an England-wide lockdown are due to run from 00:01 hours on Thursday 5 November to 24:00 on Wednesday 2 December 2020.

What do the new restrictions say?

You can find full details on the new restrictions here.

A summary of key points is included below:

Stay at home

You must not leave your term time address but for specific purposes such as:

  • To exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place with the people you live with, members of your support bubble or, when on your own, with up to 1 person from another household;
  • To shop for basic necessities such as food and medicine;
  • For any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of harm or injury;
  • To attend an educational setting.

This list is not exhaustive and UK Government advice will be updated in due course.

Social distancing

You should minimise the time spent outside of your term-time address and ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your Household or support bubble. Social mixing of households indoors is not permitted.

Meeting family and friends

You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting (including homes and private gardens etc.) unless they are members of your ‘Household’, i.e. the people you live with.

You may exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people in your Household, support bubble or 1 person from another Household.

Closure of non-essential shops and venues

Various shops and venues will be closed during the second lockdown period. This includes:

– Non-essential retail stores;

– Gyms and outdoor leisure facilities;

– Entertainment venues such as museums, galleries, cinemas etc;

– Bars and pubs;

– Restaurants (though takeaway services may still be provided).


Travelling to education i.e. Vernon Square, for visiting venues that are open and for exercise (if a short journey is required) remain permitted. Overnight stays away from your term-time residence are not permitted.

Where should I be staying during this period?

UK Government advice is clear that students at university should remain at their term-time address. This is to prevent any further spread of COVID 19 resulting from movement around the country.

To support you in this endeavour, the UK Government has also encouraged universities to keep learning spaces open. Therefore, you will still be able to book study spaces in the Vernon Square library and we are exploring options to open up further spaces at Vernon Square for study purposes.

How will teaching be affected?

Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching will continue to be provided online throughout this period, with the exception of in-person Conservation studio sessions.

Will library services remain available?

Yes. You can access the Library’s online resources (including those available through Senate House Library) and physical resources through the Click and collect and Scan on demand services. Senate House Library is offering its own Click, collect and return service. The Library team are available Monday – Friday, 0930 – 1730 to answer any questions or, you can book a one-to-one with a librarian.

Can I still book study spaces at Vernon Square?

Yes. You can book study spaces at Vernon Square through the Library’s Stay and Study service.

To increase availability, seminar rooms 7, 8 and 9 at Vernon Square have been added as bookable spaces through the service.

3. About the virus

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

Read more about the symptoms here.

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?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started.

Please inform us at 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.

You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19. You can book a test online here or by calling NHS 119. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

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. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.

After 10 days, if you still have a temperature you should continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice. You do not need to self-isolate after 10 days if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone. See the ending isolation section below for more information.

If you live with others, all other household members 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 household became ill or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appear, regardless of what day they are on in their original 14-day isolation period.

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 or university.
  • 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 wherever possible.
  • Wear face coverings, unless exempt, in busy areas where social distancing might not be possible.
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

How does The Courtauld define self-isolating?

Self-isolation is when you stay at home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19).

You should self-isolate if:

  • You have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • You’ve tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
  • You live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive
  • Someone in your support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive
  • If you’ve been informed that you’ve been in contact with someone with COVID-19, either by the NHS Test and Trace programme or by The Courtauld

For more information on self-isolating, visit

For more information on NHS Test and Trace, visit

How does The Courtauld define shielding?

Shielding refers to people who are extremely clinically vulnerable, and have been contacted by their Dr. or GP and advised to take additional precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to official guidance, clinically extremely vulnerable people may include:

  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • People with specific cancers:
    • People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
    • People with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
    • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
    • People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
    • People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
    • People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  • People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • People with rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell)
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
  • Other people who have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs

For more information about who has been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, please visit the NHS Digital website.

The UK Government updated its advice on shielding on 4 November 2020.

During the period of national restrictions (5 November – 2 December inclusive), those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to:

  • stay at home as much as possible, except to exercise outdoors or attend essential health appointments;
  • work from home. If this is not possible, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should not attend work during this period of restrictions;
  • avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport; and
  • shop online for groceries and medicines.

For more information on shielding, please consult the updated government guidance.

4. Health and safety

How many confirmed cases of COVID-19 are there at The Courtauld?

From 1 September – 18 November 2020, we have received eight confirmed reports of Covid-19 affecting members of The Courtauld community. This includes direct staff, students and visitors. Of these, one had attended The Courtauld’s sites within the relevant period.

We encourage all staff members, students and visitors to inform as soon as possible if they develop any symptoms of Covid-19. We will be able to provide advice, alert any potential contacts at The Courtauld and engage with our local Public Health England teams. In doing so, we can reduce the likelihood of the spread of the virus. A case number is assigned to each notification of symptoms in order to preserve anonymity throughout the process.

Do I have to wear a face covering?

Unless you are exempt, all staff, students, volunteers and visitors must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth whenever on property or in buildings occupied by The Courtauld. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • all buildings and external grounds
  • seminar rooms
  • lecture theatres
  • conservation studios
  • libraries
  • offices
  • communal spaces ie common rooms (unless eating and drinking)
  • corridors

Wearing a face covering does not alter the requirement to adhere to social distancing. All staff, students, volunteers and visitors should continue to maintain social distancing in line with UK Government guidance.

If you have a disability or health condition that means that you are exempt from wearing a face covering, please do contact, who will be able to share further information on how to get an exemption card – or you can print your own using this link.


  • Individuals are not required to wear a face covering when alone in a room, cubicle or when the only other individuals present are part of their household.
  • Individuals are not required to wear a face covering outdoors if they are able to maintain physical distancing of at least two metres from others with the exception of a member of their household.
  • Residents of Duchy House (The Courtauld’s Hall of Residence) are not required to wear a face covering when in their own living space ie their bedroom and whilst using the communal kitchens. However, face coverings are required in common spaces, including but not limited to, common rooms (unless eating and drinking), corridors and staircases, unless alone in these spaces. Residents are required to wear a face covering in their living space when Courtauld staff must enter the space for maintenance, inspection, emergency response or other services.
  • Faculty, ie those conducting face-to-face teaching, are expected to wear a face-covering whilst teaching unless they themselves are distanced at least two metres away from the nearest student/s in the room – this would be applicable in for example the lecture theatres at Vernon Square but not seminar rooms and conservation studios based on current socially distanced layouts.
  • Faculty, ie those conducting face-to-face teaching, are expected to wear a face-covering whilst teaching unless a student/s in their class is known to be of hard of hearing in which case, the removal of the face covering may be permitted so that the student/s can lip read. Where this is necessary the staff member should alternately wear a plastic face shield/visor (which The Courtauld will supply).
  •  If wearing a face covering impedes the ability to complete a job or task, contact the Head of Estates and Facilities and/or Deputy Estates and Facilities Manager for an assessment and evaluation of alternative solutions.
  • Individuals for whom wearing a face covering would inhibit their health may be exempt from wearing one. This includes, but is not limited to, the existence of a medical condition, such as difficulty breathing or inability to place or remove the face covering without assistance.

In England, you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings (a list of examples for each is included in the brackets):

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • auction houses
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services (post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • exhibition halls and conference centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • storage and distribution facilities

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.

Will you provide face coverings for staff / students?

We will have a stock of face coverings available for students, staff or visitors who have forgotten their own, as well as for those staff who need them due to their front line role. However, as face coverings are needed for many other aspects of London life – including travel – we would recommend that staff and students also buy a supply of their own.

What impact will 1m + have? 

In a small number of our seminar groups, we slightly reduced spacing from 2m distance to 1.5m distance.

5. International travel

I am planning to travel to the UK - will I have to self-isolate?

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.

Find our more about travelling here.

You can read the guidance on self-isolating after travelling to the UK here.

UKVI have confirmed that Tier 4 visa holders required to collect their BRP from the Post Office will have until the end of 2020 to do so. 

You should still attempt to collect your BRP as soon as your quarantine has ended, but you must not attempt to collect it if you are subject to quarantine restrictions. 

The most up-to-date list of countries exempt from quarantine can be found on the UK government’s website: 

Exempt countries and territories 

Please be aware that this list can change overnight, so it is important to check it before travelling. 

I am planning to travel outside the UK 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.  This is to protect the Courtauld community from the risk of COVID-19 transmission and to reduce the impact on students & the workplace caused by quarantine requirements on return (bearing in mind the list of exempt countries is constantly changing).

If you have Courtauld-related travel plans that you believe are essential for work or study and cannot reasonably be postponed or cancelled, you must request exceptional approval for this travel.  Please contact Student and Academic Services if you are a student, and contact your line manager, cc Human Resources if you are a member of staff.  All Faculty must request permission from their Head of Department and the Dean & Deputy Director.

If approved, this must be processed through the travel insurance portal.

6. Buildings and facilities

Are Courtauld buildings open?

Vernon Square campus: is currently opened for essential staff only. The Book Library is open for use of pre-booked study spaces for use of pre-booked study spaces, Click-and-Collect and Scan and Deliver services – find out more about book library services.

Somerset House building: remains closed.  The Witt Library and Conway libraries at Somerset House will be closed to visitors from Thursday 5 November until 3 December.

Duchy House: remains open to students who live there.

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

The Courtauld Connects building site is currently operational, and following health and safety best practice and government guidelines on working practices such as distancing. Additional welfare facilities 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.

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 travel to The Courtauld?

The Courtauld is within walking distance of our student accommodation and the other University of London Halls of Residence, and we also have bike parking space for those students who wish to cycle. There are many public transport options, but students must wear a face covering, and where possible, we strongly recommend avoiding rush hour and busy interchange stations. There are also a small number of car parking spaces at Vernon Square which we will be making available via a booking system, with priority going to those staff and students who need to drive in for health and disability reasons. Please note – Vernon Square is on the edge of the Congestion Charge Zone, which applies from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday. There is also an NCP public car park at London Kings Cross.

Is there parking available at The Courtauld?

For staff who wish to avoid public transport, there will be an increased number of car parking spaces available at Vernon Square.

Priority will be given to staff with disabilities or other health conditions. Should you not be able to book a space at Vernon Square, there is also paid car parking available at NCP Kings Cross St Pancras.

Are there cycle racks at Vernon Square?

Yes, for staff or students who wish to cycle, bike racks will be available. Further information on routes, parking and training for cyclists can be found on the TFL website.

Can I access the Library at Vernon Square?

The Vernon Square Library is now open for pre-booked study space. You should book online using before travelling to Vernon Square as social distancing requirements will limit the number of spaces available for each session. Please make sure you use your Courtauld email address when booking as the spaces are reserved for Courtauld students.

You can arrive any time after your booked session begins but will need to leave when the session ends so we can clean the spaces between uses – you will also need to wear a face covering while in the Library. You should request any books you want to use through our Click and collect service as you will not be able access to the shelves to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Bookings can now be made through our Book Library web pages.

How does the click-and-collect service work?

The Library has launched a Click-and-Collect service so Courtauld students and staff can still borrow books while we have to limit access to the shelves. The procedure is simple: you search for book that you need on our online catalogue – you request it – we email you that is ready – you come to collect it. You can find out how to make a request and more about the service on our Click-and -collect web page. It is requested that you wear a face covering in communal areas of Vernon Square, and the Library.

If you only need an article or chapter from a print book or journal, the Library is providing a Scan and deliver service. We have created a simple online form you can use to tell us what you need. We will then source the scan for you and email it to your Courtauld email address. You can access the form and learn how the service works on our Scan and deliver web page. It is requested that you wear a face covering in communal areas of Vernon Square, and the Library.

Will I be able to access Senate House and other libraries?

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.

Find out more here.

What about the Witt Library and the Conway Library at Somerset House?

The Witt Library and Conway libraries at Somerset House will be closed to visitors from Thursday 5 November until 3 December.

What if I can’t work at home?

Pre-bookable work spaces will be available in the Library, at work stations spaced 2m apart, with work stations being fully cleaned between users.

It will also be possible to study in the Common Room and in the Study Room on the Group Floor. However, students should remain socially distanced at all times (ideally 2m apart) and must wear face coverings unless exempt, as these are communal areas.

Will there be food and drink on site?

Our catering Hub at Vernon Square, offering light snacks and drinks, will be functioning from 5 October. We are currently reviewing the food and drink on offer with the Students’ Union, as a result of student feedback.

There are also a number of coffee shops and cafes in the surrounding area, which we hope will be open and available to everyone.

What about student social spaces?

The Common Room on the third floor of Vernon Square will be available for use from 5 October for students to study or to eat and drink. The furniture will be configured to allow for proper social distancing, and we would ask all students to abide by social distancing rules when in the Common Room. When not eating or drinking, students must also wear face coverings unless exempt, as this is a communal area.

The outdoor social spaces at Vernon Square will also be in operation, and tables will be appropriately socially spaced. Again, we would ask all students to follow social distancing guidelines and stay 2m apart wherever possible.

What’s happening with the PhD workspace? 

The PhD workspace is available for use. Please book your space here.

There are 4 spaces available in the PhD Study Room based on current distancing rules.

Students using the spaces should remain socially distanced at all times (ideally 2m apart) and must wear face coverings unless exempt, as these are communal areas.

7. Teaching and learning

What will the start of term look like?

The Courtauld originally planned to return to face-to-face teaching from September 2020. However, with London having moved into Tier 2 and classes as an area of high Covid-19 risk, The Courtauld has taken the difficult decision to move the majority of our teaching and learning online for the rest of the Autumn Term. We believe this decision prioritises staff and student safety. It has been taken after consultation with a wide range of people in our community, including the Students’ Union and Trade Unions.

At this time, our Conservation and Technology students will continue to undertake face-to-face studio practice. Vernon Square, the Library and Common Room will also remain open for pre-booked workspace and Click and Collect services.

We believe this decision will give our students greater certainty, and reduce the potential impact of self-isolation or illness. It should also provide students with more teaching time, due to lack of building restraints, and support equality of access to learning for all students – we remain confident that we can deliver online learning of the highest standard.

We are however aware that we need to do everything we can to support students with online learning, and prevent isolation. As well as providing support with IT equipment, we will be surveying all students about their engagement with online learning. We are looking at how else we could open up Vernon Square to students who feel comfortable using it, and have an active Students’ Union programme. We will also continue to support students living in Duchy House, our accommodation, as well as to promote our wellbeing and hardship services to all students.

We still hope to return to face-to-face teaching in the Spring Term, but unfortunately, we are not yet in a position to provide absolute clarity on whether this will be possible. We believe we could do so safely if wider conditions change – but these are difficult to predict right now. We are now working on a roadmap to show how we would make decisions about potentially returning to face-to-face teaching in the Spring Term, and will share our plans with staff and students by the end of this term.

What about exams and assessments?

In 2020, Courtauld students took their exams remotely. We will continue this in 2021 to give maximum clarity to students, and will provide support to students who have problems with technology or appropriate work space at home. All assessments will continue to take account of any restrictions in available source materials – including if these are affected by personal circumstances such as needing to shield.

Will languages at LSE still go ahead? If so, how will lessons be structured?

Yes, the language courses will be going ahead and will be delivered online. 

The LSE will email students in the first few of weeks of term to provide information on their language courses and how to sign up.

What about visits and trips? How can I engage with works of art as physical objects?

We may be able to carefully plan some trips and visits during the next academic year, though these will most likely be UK based, with no overseas trips taking place for the Autumn Term at least.

We are also looking at alternatives to group visits – for example, individual visits which can then be shared with the rest of the group. These trips will work within the social distancing policies of individual museums, as well as take into account requirements such as wearing a mask on public transport. However, we are also exploring digital means of engaging with artworks, in order to deliver the same content and quality of teaching. Funds for teaching and visits are currently ringfenced, as this remains an important area of study that we wish to support.

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

The process of moving back to physical lectures would not be an overnight one. We would wish to discuss this both with staff and with the Student Union before making a decision, and changing mid-term would not be possible, both in terms of operational planning and also disruption to students. A change to physical lectures would therefore happen the term after the decision had been made that it was safe to do so.

8. 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 our events online 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?

Visit our website to find out the latest about our partner exhibitions and when they will reopen.

Please view the latest information.

Are you continuing your outreach programme with schools?

As a result of COVID-19 our schools and young people’s workshops have moved online and will be delivered live via Microsoft Teams, or similar streaming platform.

These interactive and exploratory workshops will continue to be run by our specialist educators and have been adapted to maximise the online experience.

For more information, please see our website:

Schools Programme – streamed live into your classroom

Young People’s Programme – streamed live, wherever you are

Please contact us directly on or 0203 947 7589 to discuss how this will work best for your group.

You can also take advantage of our online Learning Resourcesvirtual gallery tour, and family activities to discover something new about our collection.

9. Current student queries

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.

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

Please contact our Student and Academic Services at

10. Student accommodation queries

What is happening with accommodation at Duchy House?

Offers for Duchy House accommodation have been be issued in the week commencing 24 August.

Please read the Duchy House handbook for further information.

How can I self-isolate in student accommodation?
How will 'households' operate in Duchy House?

Your floor will be your household and you are not permitted to visit other floors including rooms, kitchen and common rooms that are not on your floor.

11. Prospective student queries

Will the coronavirus outbreak delay my application being reviewed?

Our Admissions team are working to process all applications and provide decisions as soon as possible

What is happening to Open Days and Campus Tours?

Our Open Days been moved online – please explore our Undergraduate Open Day Hub and Postgraduate Open Day Hub.

Unfortunately, we will not be delivering campus tours in 2020. We will update the campus tours page when they resume.

I have further questions about a current or future application - whom should I contact?

Email: Please contact us at: for undergraduate applications or for postgraduate applications.

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

12. 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

13. Extenuating circumstances and support

Has the Extenuating Circumstances Policy been updated due to COVID-19?

Due to the continued impact of COVID-19 and implementation of a second lockdown, The Courtauld has reviewed its Extenuating Circumstances (EC) policy.

You will not be required to submit independent evidence to validate requests for extenuating circumstances due to the impact of COVID-19. To submit an extenuating circumstances request, please follow the steps below:

  • As with all requests for ECs, you should submit the appropriate form, which can be found on The Courtauld website here. Please submit your EC form as soon as possible. Ideally before, or on the due day of the assessment, if possible.
  • Please outline on the EC form how the impact of COVID-19 has resulted in you requiring an extension, or not being able to complete an assessment. We have changed the EC policy, so you do not need to submit independent evidence to substantiate your request if it involves COVID-19.
  • We will operate a flexible and supportive approach to granting EC requests as we understand that COVID-19 is having a significant impact. Extension requests are typically granted for one week, but we can provide additional time in certain cases if you need it due to the impact of COVID-19.
  • If you are not able to submit an assessment, or sit an exam due to the impact of COVID-19, then you will need to attempt the assessment again during the September re-sit period. We will clarify these dates at a later stage for those who require to re-sit assessments.
What if I have a disability – can I get extra support?

We are fully committed to supporting students with disabilities. Please contact to discuss how we can best support you.

What if you don’t have the technology to access online lectures?

We do not want anyone to be disadvantaged by their personal circumstances, and are committed that no one is impacted by inequalities of digital access. We will be providing a computer hardware loan scheme for those students who need it most – please contact if you would like more information.

Will there still be a quiet reflection room available onsite for prayer on campus?

Yes, there will – as with other small spaces, there will be a limit to how many people can be in this room at a time. There will not be a booking system for this room, so staff and students will need to be considerate and collaborative in their use of this space.

How will we ensure community spirit when so much is being delivered online? 

This is very much at the front of our minds, and we have extensive plans in place. We delivered a fully online Welcome Week, which gave everyone the opportunity to meet people on line and find out more about life at The Courtauld. Throughout the Autumn Term, we will also be running online ‘Meet the Faculty’ sessions, to enable students to find out more about the academics they’ll be working with.

Students in seminar groups will be encouraged to set up a buddy system to support each other, and we’re also building an online Student Hub to better share information – there’ll also be a weekly Student Newsletter in term time. Finally, we have an active Student Union, who are planning a range of student support activities and social events.

How will you support people with their writing skills?

The Courtauld will be supporting students with their writing skills by setting up an online Writing Centre. The Writing Centre will provide training and resources for students, including one-to-one support. It will also offer opportunities for volunteer mentoring of ‘writing buddies’ and a student ‘language pool’ to share language skills among the student body.

I’m not familiar with technology like Teams, Zoom and the Virtual Learning Environment – can I get help?

The Courtauld has IT Support available Monday to Friday during standard working hours, and will be able to offer advice and help – but please be reassured, the systems are very simple to use!  Please contact for help and advice.

14. 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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