What Goldsmiths is doing

Goldsmiths continues to respond to the changing Covid-19 situation, putting in place appropriate measures at the right time.

Primary page content

Goldsmiths is open for learning in line with guidance for higher education, with a range of Covid-19 safeguards in place to prevent the spread of the virus, protect and support our students, staff and the local community and shield the NHS.

Spring term operations

With a third national lockdown announced by the government on 4 January 2021 we have made changes to the way we operate in Spring term.

This phase of the pandemic sees Goldsmiths, like all higher education institutions, balancing two main responsibilities as set out in government guidance published on 7 January.

  • Actively supporting public health measures by preventing the spread of the virus and protecting our students, staff and local community
  • Delivering academic and pastoral support to our student community

Our campus remains open and we have substantially scaled back in-person provision to reduce the number of people on our estate. This includes suspending face-to-face teaching for nearly all of our programmes until 22 February at the earliest.

Alongside this, we also have a duty to provide opportunities for in-person academic activities and pastoral support, for example for those students who are in our halls, students who returned to their term-time address before 5 January and students who do not have access to appropriate study or practice spaces in their accommodation.

This means giving access to facilities like the Library and study spaces and practice spaces like art and design studios, music rehearsal spaces and labs. It also means offering face-to-face wellbeing and counselling support should an individual need this.

Students have a legal right to, and the College has a legal duty to provide, this level of academic and pastoral support.

To keep our campus safe for those who need access to our facilities the minimum number of cleaning staff required to clean the College will be working on site. All cleaning staff are provided with training and PPE relevant for their tasks and adhere to our risk assessments and procedures that incorporate the latest government public health advice.

The College is ensuring all colleagues can carry out their duties in the safest possible way, with a range of Covid-19 safeguards in place both on and away from campus.

Some of the steps we are taking

People on campus

  • Reducing the number of people on campus to minimal levels
  • Telling students and colleagues that they should not come to campus unless they have a critical requirement
  • This includes asking students to remain at the accommodation where they spent the winter break, if this is different from their term-time address and they are able to remain at this address. An example of this would be a student who returned to a family home for the winter break and who is able to remain there and continue their studies
  • Moving student-facing services like the Student Centre, Wellbeing and Counselling and Careers to remote delivery with in-person appointments on a case-by-case basis
  • Delivering NHS Covid-19 testing on campus for students and staff – it is essential people get tested before using campus
  • Clear Hands, Face, Space guidance for people using campus
  • Adapting Library and study space provision so we can continue providing students with access while reducing staffing requirements
  • Reducing on-campus staff numbers in Estates and Facilities teams – for example, the cleaning team is working at 30% of usual workforce on a rota basis. See a joint statement from Goldsmiths UNISON and the College about our collaborative approach during the pandemic


  • Suspending nearly all of our face-to-face teaching until 22 February with this now delivered remotely. Only those programmes exempted by the government will have face-to-face teaching – at Goldsmiths this means three programmes

Students in accommodation arranged through Goldsmiths

  • The College has set aside up to £500,000 to go towards up to six weeks of accommodation fees for those students who have a place in our student halls accommodation managed by Goldsmiths or its nomination partners and who have been unable to use their rooms after the Christmas closure as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. This funding is intended to reflect costs incurred for the period 4 January-15 February 2021
  • The Warden has written to the Universities Minister asking the Government to offer more financial support to students including making additional student hardship funding available and writing-off this year’s tuition loans

Staff unable to work

  • Furlough for colleagues who are unable to undertake their duties remotely and who cannot come to campus: these colleagues will continue to receive their full salary with Goldsmiths topping up government payments

Keeping Covid-secure

  • Provision of PPE items and training in how to use PPE, appropriate to people’s roles
  • Updating risk assessments and keeping them under review, as we have throughout the pandemic. See our organisational risk assessment.
  • Since April 2020 we have been working closely with our local authority, Lewisham Council, and local NHS partners to develop a plan to manage further outbreaks in the area

Operating principles

Throughout the pandemic the College is following four operating principles:

Maximum resilience

This means that they will be suitable for whatever phase of social distancing/lockdown we find ourselves during the academic year.

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 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.