What Goldsmiths is doing around Covid-19

Goldsmiths has been planning for the impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) since January.

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See our changes to provision and facilities page for details of what is happening at Goldsmiths.

Responding to a global pandemic

On 9 March, as the scale of Covid-19 became clear, Goldsmiths activated its Business Continuity Plan, which covers how the College should operate in extraordinary situations.

On 24 March we closed our campus following measures announced by the UK Government. Since then we have regularly reviewed our response to a rapidly-changing situation to ensure that we are taking all appropriate measures to protect the Goldsmiths community.

Our campus remains closed but starting on 29 June we are beginning to prepare our buildings and facilities for reopening.

Our approach for planning for next academic year

Goldsmiths will be open for learning this autumn. Our twin priorities are keeping students safe and delivering a great learning experience while they are with us.

Our decisions will be informed by both UK and global official guidelines and requirements as they are updated in response to the evolving situation with Covid-19.

We will make sure the student experience is the best it can be in the circumstances, is available to all our students, and we will ensure the quality of our teaching is maintained.

Maximum resilience

This means that they will be suitable for whatever phase of social distancing/lockdown we find ourselves in at the start of the academic year and as the year moves on.

This resilience will enable us to adapt to last-minute changes as quickly and effectively as possible. This will ensure we can support our students to the best of our abilities whatever changes occur next year.

Quality and standards

We will prioritise the quality and standards of the education that we provide, ensuring a focus on delivery of education that is of our usual high quality.

Any temporary adaptations to the curriculum we deliver and the way in which we deliver these will have been subject to careful scrutiny through our usual internal and external standards.

This will ensure that our students are receiving the same quality and standard of education even where it differs from how we would previously have provided learning and teaching.

Parity for students

This means that whatever social distancing/lockdown situation a student finds themselves in they should be able to access our education in some form, whether online, in person or a combination.

Health and safety

For everything we do we will ensure that the health and safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount.

Teaching and assessment

As part of the closure of campus, the College moved all remaining teaching online. These changes were approved through the necessary College processes to ensure the teaching and learning experience remained equitable and supported students to meet the learning outcomes of their programmes.

We made a number of changes to our assessments and examinations. These included changes to our academic regulations around calculating module and degree outcomes and how students tell us that their ability to study has been impacted.

See the changes to provision page for details of these changes.

Student support

Our student support teams continue to be available 7 days a week. All our student support services can be accessed remotely via email, phone, Skype or instant messenger. This includes wellbeing and counselling appointments.

We have partnered with Fika, a mental fitness app, to provide a dedicated series of programmes around themes related to the challenges Covid-19 has brought to being a student.

Goldsmiths fast-tracked applications to its student hardship fund to provide financial assistance to those students who wanted to return home but could not afford to travel.

On 7 April Goldsmiths launched a Covid-19 Online Learning Access Fund to enable students in financial difficulty to access a computer or broadband to complete assessments. The fund closed on 6 May. At least 300 students benefited from the scheme.

Our support teams are arranging food parcels for students self-isolating in halls accommodation managed by Goldsmiths (Dean House and Loring Hall).

Student accommodation

We are very aware that some of our students call Goldsmiths home and have been unable to leave. We will continue to do everything we can to support these students.

Once the severe impacts of Covid-19 became clear, Goldsmiths asked all students who could return to their parental home to do so.

On 3 April we announced that students with accommodation contracts with Goldsmiths, who had left their accommodation, had the opportunity to end their agreements and not pay rent for the summer term, with the College underwriting this cost. We also urged provider Campus Living Villages to do the same and they wrote to all residents on 8 April to advise them on the next steps.

Staff on campus

During the lockdown period most of the buildings on our campus have remained closed apart from those where students remain in residence and where we need facilities to be open to support them and maintain our estate.

With the easing of some aspects of lockdown, from 29 June up to 130 colleagues from our estates and facilities teams will resume working on campus to deep clean our buildings and prepare them for the start of the new academic year.

These colleagues will not all be on campus at the same time and we have a range of measures in place – including staggered arrival and departure times, teams working in ‘bubbles’, improved facilities for cyclists, and provision of PPE wherever appropriate – to support those undertaking this essential work.

All Goldsmiths employees, including cleaners, security staff, and other essential workers, are receiving the full pay for their contracted hours. The majority of our staff continue to work remotely.

Admissions and school exams

This is an unprecedented situation and, along with other UK universities, we are awaiting further details of the new assessment procedures due to replace school exams. Once we have this guidance we promise to work closely with the government, UCAS, exam boards and institutions across the sector to ensure that our admissions approach is clear, efficient, and fair.

See our page for prospective students for further information.

Working with Public Health England (PHE)

At every stage we have been in regular contact with Public Health England, the UK’s official organisation for protecting the public’s health, and have followed government guidance.

Managing the impact

Workstreams have been drawing together staff from across Goldsmiths. They have been looking at steps we can take to mitigate the impact Covid-19 has on Goldsmiths.

HR and staffing

Including review of policies including absence and sick pay, frontline services and how we can support individuals with caring responsibilities. We recently updated our policies around flexible working, sickness, and annual leave. These changes reflect that the majority of our staff will be working from home and some may be unable to work for a prolonged period due to illness or have to care for dependents at short notice.

On 22 April we formally ended the Evolving Goldsmiths programme to concentrate on working with our community to develop a dedicated Covid-19 recovery plan.

On 1 May a new programme of online training and assessment was rolled out to help staff access additional equipment they might need to support home working.

Business critical services

This group is identifying and reviewing priority services, including student and research services.

Infrastructure

This is focusing on students and staff being able to work from home and access the materials they need.

Teaching, learning and student support

This is a major area looking at assessments and alternative platforms for learning.

Immigration and international

Looking at visa arrangements for current and potential students, as well as supporting our students who are abroad.

Communications

How we keep everyone informed about what is happening.

Facilities and estate

Ensuring our buildings are clean and services are in place for good hygiene.


Last updated 1 July