- The Courtauld Institute of Art

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Additional FAQs

Teaching and learning

How do you define small group seminars and what will be delivered face-to-face?

Small group seminars are classes that are taught in a group for less than 20 people, and these will be delivered face-to-face wherever possible. Personal tutor sessions and meetings with supervisors will be delivered online, to avoid use of small and enclosed office spaces, and in order to keep the number of staff and students in Vernon Square to a safe minimum.

Do I have to live in London?

We believe that our students will get the most from small, face-to-face teaching, and that this is done best in person. We also do not know how long social distancing will be in place for – positive changes in the situation with COVID-19 may mean that we can return to delivering physical group lectures during the next academic year. Our degrees and the resources we have for you to benefit from (our libraries, the other research libraries we are affiliated with in London, as well as the array of museums and galleries in the city) are designed for you to be present in London.

These are all important areas to bear in mind when deciding where to live. We will be offering student accommodation, both in Duchy House, and in the University of London intercollegiate halls.

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-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.

What about exams and assessments?

In 2020, Courtauld students took their exams remotely. We are proposing to continue this in 2021 to give maximum clarity to students, and will 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.

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

This is something we are currently looking at in more detail – we will know more once museums and galleries in the UK start to open. We hope to 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. However, we are also exploring digital means of engaging with artworks, in order to deliver the same content and quality of teaching.

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. However, if we need to go fully online because of local or national infection concerns, this can be achieved within days, as a model is already in place.

Access to facilities

Can I access the Library at Vernon Square?

The Library’s digital publications have been greatly enhanced in 2020, with a huge range of content available remotely. However, the physical library at Vernon Square will also reopen in time for the 2020/21 academic year, offering a Click and Collect service, as well as spaces to work – both of which will need to be pre-booked to maintain social distancing – as well as a scan-on-demand function. Library staff will be protected by a screen and PPE such as face coverings and disposable gloves; and hand sanitiser will be available at the entrance and the main desk. Online versions of required readings for courses will also be made available via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

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

At the moment, it’s difficult to say – however, we work closely with colleagues across the Library community, and will share information about openings when available.

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

The Witt Library at Somerset House will reopen in time for the next academic year – as long as Somerset House itself does – 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.

What if I can’t work at home?

Pre-bookable work spaces will be available in the Library. There will be three bookable sessions per day, at work stations spaced 2m apart, with work stations being fully cleaned between users. We are also currently also looking at what other spaces in Vernon Square can be used as additional safe study areas, and will share additional information on this ahead of the next academic year.

Will there be food and drink on site?

The Common Room will be closed and used as a teaching space until at least January 2021. However, we are looking at what other food and drink options we might be able to safely provide in its place, and will share further updates.

What about student social spaces?

With the loss of the Common Room we are aware that we will lose our usual student community space. We are looking at additional options to see if we can provide a space for students to meet safely, and will share further updates when we have them.

Health and safety

Do I have to wear a face covering?

Everyone must wear a face covering when travelling on public transport, when moving around Vernon Square, or in enclosed spaces or situations where staying 2m away is not possible. If students or staff wish to wear face masks at all times – including in seminars – we would support this.

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.

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.

What about student accommodation?

Further discussions are now being had around Duchy House, and more information will be available in July. However, we will be offering accommodation at Duchy House next year, and we will be able to accommodate those students who need to arrive ahead of term – most likely from early September.

Extenuating circumstances and support

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

Although we believe safe face-to-face teaching and small group seminars are the best approach, if some students are unable to participate due to specific COVID-related circumstances, we will look to include them where possible via online routes. Our Library also has a huge range of online materials which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and our Research Forum events will also be shared online, as well as posted on YouTube.

What about students who need to shield or self-isolate?

The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. If you need to shield or self-isolate, please contact advice@courtauld.ac.uk so that we can ensure that you receive online teaching and support. Our Library also has a huge range of online materials which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and our Research Forum events will also be shared online, as well as posted on YouTube.

What about staff who need to shield or self-isolate?

If staff need to shield, this will be taken into account in planning their workload, so that they can work in line with Government guidelines – as a result, it may be that their course is delivered fully or largely online. 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 one of my classmates or teachers is ill with COVID-19?

If you have been in close contact with them, you will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days in line with the UK Government’s Track and Trace programme. We would ask all students and staff to ensure we have up-to-date contact details, to make sure this process can be quick and efficient. During this time, teaching and learning support will be provided online wherever possible.

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

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

How can I self-isolate in student accommodation?

Our processes for self-isolation in student accommodation are currently being updated, and we will be able to share more in July – however, we are committed to keeping our students safe, and supporting them if they do need to isolate.

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. Further detail on our plans to address this will be available in July.

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

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.

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