Update on teaching and learning at The Courtauld in the 2021/22 Academic Year

1 Jun 2021

Current Government plans state that before the start of our next Academic Year (October 2021), social distancing measures should have come to an end, thanks to a largely vaccinated UK adult population. To support this, The Courtauld is encouraging all our students – current and incoming – to take up their full course of vaccinations when it is offered to them.

Provided that social distancing restrictions have been lifted, The Courtauld is planning that:

  • Most lectures, seminars and tutorials will be delivered in-person in the 2021/22 Academic Year Libraries, study and social spaces will be open for student use. MA History of Art Methodologies will be delivered online, as well as some content from the Conservation Department, such as guest lectures.
  • Student support services will be available in person, though may be supplemented through online services where this is more appropriate.
  • In-person events to be part of programmes such as Welcome Week, the Research Forum and the Students’ Union – although certain events will be online where this is appropriate.

However, much can change in the next six months. Student support for self-isolation and testing will be important in order to avoid outbreaks, and even small changes in government guidance could impact on use of space, and could mean that aspects of this plan have to change.

Should social distancing be retained or reintroduced, The Courtauld would move to deliver lectures and tutorials online rather than in person; restrictions may also be introduced to library study and social spaces; and events and support services moved online.

There is also still much uncertainty about international trips or research travel which will need careful monitoring; international trips should not, at this stage, be counted on. A reintroduction of social distancing or travel restrictions may also mean the postponement or cancellation of trips or visits within the UK.

In the worst-case scenario of another lockdown, all teaching would be moved online and access to Vernon Square and to the libraries further restricted. However, even under these extremely difficult circumstances, The Courtauld has shown it can still deliver outstanding teaching and learning.

New situations that might fall between these examples and require a different response – but any changes will be communicated as early as possible, and consulted on with The Courtauld Students’ Union and Trades’ Unions.

Additional FAQs

Teaching and learning

Will I be able to access lectures online?

Lectures will be available online, for those students who might have to miss them due to illness, or would benefit from watching them again. However, we would encourage students to attend lectures in person where this is possible. Some content from the Conservation Department may be delivered online, such as guest lectures.

Do I have to live in London?

As long as we are offering face-to-face teaching and student facilities, yes, you will need to live in London (or within a commutable distance).

Can I choose to attend seminars remotely?

We believe that our students will get the most from small, face-to-face teaching, and that this is done best in person. If you are unable to attend seminars for medical reasons or because of Covid-19 related extenuating circumstances such as travel quarantine, we will do our best to support you with online teaching – however, we would strongly recommend you attend your seminars in person wherever possible. Seminars will not be recorded, as we want students to feel comfortable to express their views.

What about visits and trips?

As long as there are no restrictions on social distancing, group size or travel within the UK, UK-based trips and visits should go ahead. Social distancing, a return to the Rule of 6 or travel restrictions may all mean UK-based trips and visits have to be suspended.

The situation is much more complex with international trips. Trips would only be considered to ‘Green List’ countries and even then, might not be possible due to restrictions, or make specific requirements of students such as testing or vaccination. At this stage, international trips should not be counted on.

How would social distancing affect how The Courtauld delivers teaching and learning?

Should social distancing be retained or reintroduced, we will move to delivering lectures, tutorials and supervisions online rather than in person; restrictions may also be introduced to library study and social spaces; conservation studio teaching would become socially distanced; UK trips and visits would be cancelled or postponed; and events and support services would move online. Depending on the exact nature of the restrictions and guidelines, further changes may also be required.

How would a further lockdown affect The Courtauld’s teaching and learning?

In the worst-case scenario of another lockdown, all teaching and learning would be moved online and access to Vernon Square and the libraries restricted in line with Government guidance. We do, however, know from the past year that even under these extremely difficult circumstances, we can still deliver outstanding teaching and learning.

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

We would endeavor to give you as much notice as possible, but experience has shown that sometimes these decisions need to be made very swiftly, to help keep our staff and students safe.

Access to facilities and support

Will I be able to browse the Library at Vernon Square? Will I need a booking?

Subject to all restrictions being lifted, yes students will be able to browse the library. For NHS Test and Trace purposes, we may still need to keep bookings in place.

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

We would expect this to be the case, but each library will have their own rules and processes.

What about the Witt Library at Somerset House? And the Book Library at Somerset House?

The Witt Library at Somerset House should reopen in time for the next academic year but attendance will need to be pre-booked. The Book Library will remain closed – but if you need a publication from there, it can be ordered and viewed either in the Witt or in Vernon Square.

Will there be study space available?

We have offered study space at Vernon Square for almost all of the pandemic period, to support students who could not work at home. We will continue to ensure student study space is available, unless we are instructed specifically that it must be closed.

Will there be food and drink on site?

Yes – there will be food and drink available in the Common Room.

What about student social spaces?

As long as restrictions are lifted, students will have access to indoor and outdoor social spaces.

What about events?

Although some events will still be held online – especially when they are accessible to more people through online delivery – as long as all restrictions are lifted, we expect Welcome Week, the Research Forum programme and Students’ Union activity to all include some in-person events.

Can I access student support service in person?

Student advice and support will be available in person at Vernon Square, but may be supplemented by online support – for example counselling services – which we know from the pandemic has worked well for some students.

Covid-prevention measures

How will The Courtauld help keep me safe?

We are committed to following the latest government guidelines and regulations and will ensure they are implemented across all of our buildings, particularly around ventilation, cleaning, hand hygiene, contact tracing, testing and isolation.

How can I help keep everyone safe?

Guidance will be regularly issued to students. Even if all restrictions are lifted, please do not come to The Courtauld if you feel unwell or have been in contact with anyone with Covid-19. We expect testing to still be in place, and would ask students to be part of this programme. Most importantly, we encourage all of our students to take up their full course of Covid-19 vaccination when it is offered to them.

 Will I have to wear a face covering?

This will depend on the latest government regulations and guidance, which we will expect all staff and students to follow. If face coverings are optional, we would also support any student or staff member who wished to wear them.

Will I have to be vaccinated against Covid-19?

We strongly encourage all students to take up the full course of Covid-19 vaccinations when they are offered to you, in order to keep everyone safe.

Extenuating circumstances and support

What will happen if international students need to go home, or can’t get here for the start of term?

If some students are unable to participate due to specific Covid-19 related circumstances, we will look to include them where possible via online routes. Our Library also has a huge range of online materials. However, we would strongly encourage you to plan to be here for the start of term.

To best support our student body, it is really helpful for us to know as early as possible about any challenges you might be facing – please do email  sas@courtauld.ac.uk if this affects you, so that we can make this part of our planning.

What about students who need to self-isolate?

The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. If you need to self-isolate, please contact advice@courtauld.ac.uk so that we can ensure that you receive online teaching and support where possible.

What about staff who self-isolate?

If staff need to self-isolate, but are well, we will look at rescheduling teaching or delivering this online. If staff are unwell, teaching will either be rescheduled or delivered by someone else.

What if I’m unwell and miss teaching?

We will provide you with every opportunity to catch up – information from each class or lecture will be posted on the VLE.

What if I have a disability – can I get extra support?

We are fully committed to supporting students with disabilities. Please contact wellbeing@courtauld.ac.uk to discuss how we can best support you.

How can I self-isolate in student accommodation?

We have detailed protocols in place for self-isolation in our student accommodation – if you are staying in Duchy House, this will be provided to you.

How can I quarantine in student accommodation?

We have detailed protocols in place for quarantine in our student accommodation – if you are staying in Duchy House, this will be provided to you.

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

Yes, there will.

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