Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information for Current Students
SOAS University of London continues to keep its staff, students and partners updated about Covid-19 risks facing the UK, following best advice from Public Health England (PHE), the National Health Service and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
We are encouraging all of our SOAS community, to follow best practice preventive health advice from PHE.
SOAS moves to remote delivery of teaching and services
We have now moved our services fully online. This means that access to teaching and assessments, and support services for our students and staff is done remotely.
SOAS buildings access
All SOAS buildings are now closed. There will be no in-person delivery of services during this period.
For the summer term, all teaching and student support will be delivered remotely including, summer term exams. We have made provision for continued support to our staff and students from academic departments and professional services as we continue to operate remotely, with guidance and access across all our services that we keep actively under review and development. We will review this position on a regular basis and provide further updates when circumstances change. We want to re-open our buildings as soon as it is safe to do so.
Access to buildings in this period will be only for staff who need to ensure buildings and equipment remain secure and safe while buildings are physically closed, or if emergency access is needed.
Library Opening Times
The Library will be closed to all visitors including SOAS staff and students. Enhanced online services will be available as detailed on Library pages.
Special Collections will continue to offer Reading Room services remotely, including a full enquiry service. Our librarians will offer a full enquiry service.
Our electronic resources remain fully available.
Information for students
For latest updates for students, including on assessments, visas, and library information, see our intranet pages:
We continue to support any students on study abroad years in other countries which might be affected by Covid-19 measures.
SOAS has taken the difficult decision to change the delivery of our graduation ceremonies scheduled for the 22nd - 24th July this year. This decision is to ensure the health and safety of all students, guests and staff. We know this news will come as a disappointment to students, their families and SOAS staff.
Rest assured that the postponement of the ceremonies does not affect the award of a SOAS degree: all eligible students will still graduate. Although the physical ceremonies will not take place in July, degrees will be awarded at the end of that month as usual to all eligible students, and we currently hope to be able to send physical degree certificates in the month following.
For further information please refer to the Coronavirus advice for graduating students webpage.
We are also keen to shape what we offer over the coming months to meet student's needs, so please fill out our short survey. We'll let you know the results by the end of this academic year.
We know that students returning to SOAS in the autumn might be anxious about their safety and wellbeing given the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19. We want to reassure you that your safety is our highest priority and here at SOAS, we are committed to ensuring that in managing Covid-19 risks we ensure the least amount of disruption to your academic experience.
We are looking forward to welcoming you back to SOAS and putting our plans together for the Welcome Season this autumn, where you will be able to e-meet with academic staff and your friends and peers in interactive sessions.
Our aim for the autumn is that SOAS in September should offer our students a safe and secure learning and research community, with remote access to all teaching and to all services where necessary, and to plan for in-person access for specific services where it is appropriate and safe to do so.
We will continue to provide teaching remotely and continue to deliver all services remotely for both staff and students – building on what we now do. This will allow students wherever they are based to access a fulfilling SOAS experience, even if you cannot travel to the UK for some period in the autumn.
In addition, we will offer in-person access to some 1-1 academic and student services where needed and where we can deliver them safely. We will also provide spaces on campus which students can use for study and access to WiFi and printers, including carefully controlled access to the physical resources in the Library.
To support in-person access, our campus buildings will be open with social distancing measures strictly in place, ensuring that we offer an environment that complies with government advice on all aspects of health and safety.
Delivery of our services for the autumn term
All lectures and seminars will be delivered online in Term 1, combined with a range of online and on-campus appointments with academics and student support.
Teaching and learning
- Online delivery of teaching, drawing on what we have learned this term
- Remote and, where possible, in-person access to 1-1 academic support for students
- Online access to Library services and physical access to the library building for obtaining and returning materials, and for strictly controlled numbers to use learning spaces
- Online access to study skills support and advice from the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching
- Physical access to learning spaces on campus to access WiFi and printers in a strictly controlled manner
- Remote access to all student services for all students, including Enrolment and registration, Fees and funding, Student Advice and Wellbeing, Careers, Visa and Immigration advice, Mentoring programme, Accommodation and Disability support.
- In addition, in-person access for 1-1 support, including counselling and advice, where we can offer this safely and students wish to access it in person.
- To support the operation of the limited in-person access to services, all our on-campus services such as cleaning and security will be in operation with enhanced hygiene checks in place.
- We will make sure there is necessary IT support to ensure printers on campus can be used and access to the WiFi and our licensed software is good.
- There will be strict hygiene measures for access to campus facilities, including the entry and exit to the buildings, use of toilets etc.
- Catering services will only be resumed when it is perfectly safe to do so.
London wide coordination for safe travel and access to campus
We are also actively in discussion with other London institutions through the umbrella body London Higher about common approaches and arrangements to ensure our institutions are safe and secure places in relation to the new academic year and the services we provide. Through this group, we are liaising with London lead bodies such as the Mayor’s Office and Transport for London to support a safe approach to travel to and from our campuses. The mayor has announced that large areas of the city will be car-free to allow people to walk and cycle safely.
The arrangements that we have in place will necessarily have to be in accordance with the regulations which are in place within the UK for arrangements in relation to safe travel, health and safety, social distancing. Should arrangements by the UK government necessitate a return to more stringent controls then we would of course operate within those and modified plans accordingly.
As well as all their work with us on current arrangements for teaching and learning, and to help and plan for the autumn, our Students’ Union (SU) has worked hard to create a virtual SU space on Facebook called the SOAS Quarantine Qrew for the SU, societies and other SOAS groups to hold events, run campaigns, discuss life in quarantine and provide each other with useful resources. The group aims to keep students active and engaged with SOAS.
Plans for Term 2
We hope to transition to on-campus teaching from Term 2 in January 2021, in line with health and safety guidance at that time. If government guidelines are relaxed during Term 1, we will aim to be as flexible as possible in adapting to those new guidelines and, where possible, expanding student contact on the campus. We will set out plans for January 2021 onwards during the autumn term as we aim to move back onto campus to a greater degree, consistent with the government advice.
This page was last updated on Friday 29 May 2020.