SOAS University of London

SOAS and COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for students and staff

COVID-19: summer term at SOAS

SOAS offers a safe and secure learning and research community, with online access to teaching and to services where necessary, access to our campus and virtual social network, and some in-person access for study spaces, specific student services.

Activities in the summer term

We had planned to put in place a range of additional in-person academic activities for the summer term, from 26 April. This was to be in addition to the already planned online teaching, assessment and support.

This planning for resuming in-person academic activities on campus was dependent on the UK government continuing to lift restrictions in line with their detailed roadmap. We understand that information relating to universities may not be released until Friday 16 April, and that may not allow resumption of in-person activities in universities before 17 May (Step 3 of the roadmap) - beyond those already in place for practical subjects in UK HEIs.  

We will continue to provide additional support in-person where we can under current restrictions. This means that we will:

  • continue as planned to extend Library opening hours, from Monday 19 April;
  • continue as planned to provide additional study spaces on campus, also from Monday 19 April.

We continue as planned to deliver teaching, assessment and support activities online for the summer term. 

In relation to the range of in-person academic activities which we had planned to offer in-person from 26 April onwards, we plan to deliver as many as possible in online form.  

Please refer to MySOAS for these plans and continue to refer to MySOAS in the first instance for the latest Covid updates. 

Student travel

We have already shared with students the government advice that international students should delay returns to the UK if they can do so. 

The government has also explicitly said that if you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. 

Further changes to assessment rules

We have in place a series of measures to reflect the impact of covid restrictions on the learning and teaching environment faced by students - including no detriment policies, arrangements for mitigating circumstances, and adjusted assessments and marking criteria. 

We updated our community on Friday 19 February on the further set of changes  we have put in place to these policies so that we can better respond to the needs of our students during these current challenging circumstances.  

Additional hardship funds

We continue to have access to additional hardship support from Government which is available through our SOAS Hardship Funds. Updates with all this information continue to be sent out to our students. 

SOAS facilities

We are offering a some Student Services on campus such as physical access to study space and library facilities, which will remain in place for the students remaining in London who need such access to support their learning. This continues to be required under the new restrictions. We are of course keen to ensure that we provide the right level of access to study space and library for students who need to access it, whilst ensuring that movement of staff and students is kept to the minimum necessary.

Library study spaces will continue to operate from 9.30am-5pm for students who need access. The PWW study spaces will remain open but restricted to the ground floor areas only, along with the bookable printer/scanner stations in the cloisters. 

Instructions for booking can be found on MySOAS.

Click and Collect services which allow students to order library books to borrow or to read in the library will continue to operate and more information about the service can be found on MySOAS or by contacting ReaderServices@soas.ac.uk.

We will keep provision under review to ensure access remains safe and appropriate, and provide updates if these change.

Asymptomatic testing 

Asymptomatic testing continues to be available at Student Central in partnership with the University of London. Students who are in London already or who do return to London are being strongly advised to take two tests before accessing any university facilities in person. These tests are also available for staff who need to come on to campus.   

Tests can be booked at the University of London website.

Please note, the system now allows bookings to made up to five days in advance only, but also within an hour of the appointment. This is to ensure adequate spaces are available so that appointments pre-booked students not now returning are removed. If you have booked further ahead and do need the test please cancel and re-book.

Resumption of any face to face teaching

We want to affirm now that as and when any return to face-to-face teaching is planned, the approach will be done in a staged manner, and any such return would be contingent on three principles:

  • How we protect the SOAS staff and student community including those most vulnerable
  • How our students get the best possible education and experience under the circumstance
  • How we support the wider community and actions by the UK government to manage infection rates
Protocols for COVID management and reporting

We have protocols in space for students and staff reporting symptoms:

We are offering support and help to any students with positive results and those self-isolating.

Our COVID-Safe Community Charter below also sets out the expectations that apply to all students and staff during the pandemic and what you can expect from SOAS and SOAS Students' Union.

Accomodation

Where SOAS students live in student accommodation in central London, we are liaising closely with accommodation providers to ensure they are operating in COVID-secure ways and to ensure students are given support to manage well in the event of experiencing symptoms and testing positive, or otherwise needing to self-isolate.

Information for our staff and students

The intranet MySOAS for students and staff, and our Moodle/BLE, provides the most up to date COVID-19 information for our SOAS community.

SOAS COVID-Safe Community Charter

The SOAS COVID-Safe Community Charter aims to support the safe operation of the campus and our wider community, we have created with our students’ union. While this sets out important general principles and approaches, we will keep this updated over time as the government’s rules and protocols and requirements of safe operation of the campus.

This page was last updated on Friday 9 April 2021.