SOAS University of London


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for students and staff

COVID-19: spring 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.

The SOAS spring term will resume on 11 January 2021 as planned, with access to teaching, assessment and support services all taking place online and available throughout the academic term. 

Face-to-face activities in the spring term

We are not planning for any face-to -face activities to start until Monday 22 February at the earliest (i.e the week following reading week). This is in line with government guidance that such activities should not resume at universities until mid-February at the earliest.

We will keep this position on any face-to-face activities under review and by Monday 1 February at the latest we will provide an update on these plans.

What this means for students - travel

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

In line with latest government guidance, we are now advising our students who have returned to family addresses over Christmas, not to travel back to their term-time addresses at SOAS until any face-to-face activities resume in mid-February at the earliest.

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. 

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

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

Asymptomatic testing 

Asymptonatic testing will continue to be available at Student Central from Tuesday 5 January in partnership with the University of London. Students who are in London already or who return during January 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.


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 Tuesday 5 January 2021.