We are pleased to welcome new and existing students to the University from Monday 14 September. We are managing access to our buildings and providing face-to-face teaching wherever possible in line with a number of UK Government Covid-19 Secure documents, guidance from Public Health England and the Health & Safety Executive.

The past few months have demonstrated that there are some benefits to working in a virtual environment. We will continue to work with some new practices alongside the traditions on which our University was founded and which have grown and developed over our history. One-to-one contact with staff and opportunities to work in small groups, with and without staff, are central to our teaching and learning and these opportunities can be facilitated both online through video conferencing and face-to-face.

We understand that students will have many questions about how teaching and learning, and University life more broadly, will be impacted by coronavirus. Below we have outlined some of those.

Here we provide an overview of key questions that students may have. More detailed information is available to staff and students in the Coronavirus Student Safety Information and Guidance which students can download from the homepage of our student intranet, eStudio

Students also have access to a number of avenues for support including Student Welfare, the Student Union and teaching staff.

Further Information

Will the University be open as normal in the autumn?

The University buildings will open to students from Monday 14 September. Face-to-face teaching is important to us. One-to-one contact with staff and opportunities to work in small groups, with and without staff, are central to our teaching and learning so we will continue with this wherever possible. Where this is not possible we will use the best of the online methods we have found to work well, this includes video conferencing for tutorials, live video briefings and events and recordings of lectures that are backed up by live discussions.

If the risk levels drop and special measures are no longer required in the UK, we will allow normal access to our buildings to resume.

How will teaching and learning be delivered for 2020/21?

For 2020/21 we are planning for our timetables to be a blend of online, via video conferencing, and face-to-face teaching within the buildings. We will continue with aspects of teaching that have suited working outside the buildings, as well as allowing access to the buildings and face-to-face contact as much as possible within government guidance. The teaching and support that we have found works best online will continue to be carried out in this way, including tutorials and lectures. On-site teaching will include seminars and practical sessions.

Essential introductions to workshops will take place face-to-face. We will be providing additional online support and materials that will assist later drop-in use of workshops and for external working. We will be making drop-in workshop access available through online booking as circumstances allow.

We have received student feedback on the benefits of recording lectures. While formal lectures are only a small part of our teaching, providing these online has allowed students to pause, rewind and replay, reflect and then discuss them during live seminars, making learning deeper and more sustained.

Talks from visiting creative professionals outside students’ main taught hours will continue and are often likely to be organised via video conferencing, with the opportunity to engage in live question and answer sessions at the end. Our careers team have organised some very high profile international speakers in this way and we have found these to be of huge benefit to those who have attended.

What health and safety measures are in place in the University to prevent the spread of Covid-19?

Opening safely is our absolute priority. Since March we have been planning the reopening of our buildings in line with a number of UK Government Covid-19 Secure documents, guidance from Public Health England and the Health & Safety Executive.

We have mapped out every room in the University with the maximum number of people who can be in them while ensuring social distancing. Entrances, corridors and other spaces have also been mapped out and these will be clearly marked so it is easy to understand how to access the buildings and the areas within them. There will be increased cleaning of areas and protocols to follow for accessing certain shared facilities or using equipment. These protocols will also include guidance to ensure groups can be asked to isolate if there is a suspected case while testing is carried out. The staff will manage all of this process so there is no need for students to be concerned about any of these aspects and all students will be briefed fully at the start of the year. Detailed information is also available on eStudio.

How can I help prevent the spread of the virus within the University?

There are basic things that everyone can do across the building, such as keeping at least a metre apart from others; observing maximum room capacity and one-way systems; using hand sanitiser provided on entry and throughout the building; washing hands for at least 20 seconds regularly; and wearing a face covering if you are able to, in communal areas where additional precautions such as screens are not appropriate to introduce.

You can also help prevent the spread of the virus within the University and within the communities you live in by continuing good practise outside of our buildings, such as limiting group meetings to no more than six people, walking or cycling to University and following government guidance.

Do I need to wear a face covering in University buildings?

We ask that staff and students who are able to wear a face covering do so while moving around the University buildings, in shared toilet facilities, workshops, libraries and the gallery.

Face coverings can be removed in café areas to eat and drink whilst seated.

We ask everyone to be mindful and respectful that not everyone is able to wear a face covering and the reasons for this may not be visible.

What if Government guidance changes?

We have the flexibility to adjust if social distancing rules are relaxed and we will amend our protocols and allow more people into our workshops and studios. Should more restrictive measures be introduced we are also prepared for this and we are able to support our student community as necessary. 

Will my accommodation be safe?

We have been in discussion with our main accommodation providers who are responsible for ensuring that halls can be accessed safely and in line with the guidance. We are fortunate that Leeds is a relatively compact city centre and the majority of students who live away from home stay in accommodation that is within walking distance from the University, limiting the need for these students to use public transport.

Further information on the steps our accommodation providers are taking can be found below:

Hepworth Lodge - www.unitestudents.com/campaign/book-with-confidence 
(information for international students)


Carr Mills - "We have a 2m social distance policy on site at the moment and hand sanitisers in all blocks and entrances. In the lifts its one person per lift unless you are in with your household and on the stairs is a keep left policy."

Students with questions regarding accommodation should contact the accommodation provider directly.

My finances have been affected by Covid-19, does the University offer any financial support?

Some students will find themselves in a different financial position than when they applied for student loans. For UK undergraduate students the Student Loan Company has changed its processes where a change in circumstances may jeopardise a student’s ability to go to University. There is further information on their website: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/student-loans-company.

Our hardship fund is also designed to help where circumstances jeopardise a student’s ability to continue their studies.

What if there are further lockdowns or I have to self-isolate?

In preparing for our academic year 2020/21 we have looked at how the University will operate under different scenarios, such as further national or local lockdown.

We have followed certain principles when timetabling for this academic year so we can move to a purely online mode of teaching in the event of a further lockdown, or in circumstances where students (or staff) have to self-isolate, such as:

  • Briefs not dependent on specific facilities but designed to develop the core skills, knowledge and understanding required by module specifications;
  • Where outputs in the form of made artefacts or work are required, carefully considering their form in order to minimise the cost to students of producing them;
  • All submissions for assessment will be digital to ensure that courses can operate under any of the circumstances that the changing environment may bring. This does not mean that outcomes will not be practical, but that the actual submission will be digital, for instance photographs of an artefact or a recording of a performance.

We are working closely with colleagues at other Leeds universities, Leeds City Council and Public Health England to ensure that if a national or local lockdown were to be introduced advice on next steps would be clear and consistent across the whole of the Leeds student community. Students would receive advice and support with the aim of minimising disruption to teaching as far as possible and protecting their wellbeing. 

What do I do if I develop symptoms of Covid-19?

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should not come into University or go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital:

  • A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • A new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

You should notify the University as soon as possible using festudentabsence@leeds-art.ac.uk for students based at Vernon/Rossington Street or hestudentabsence@leeds-art.ac.uk for students based at Blenheim Walk. You must also notify your student accommodation, get a test and self-isolate.

Once you have notified us of your absence you will be sent a link to an internal track and trace form that you should complete immediately. Student Welfare will contact you following this.

If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do. You can also call NHS 111 direct.

Call 999 for an ambulance if you or someone you care for:

  • is struggling to breathe
  • is coughing up blood
  • has blue lips or a blue face
  • feels cold and sweaty with pale blotchy skin
  • has a rash that doesn’t fade when you roll a glass over it
  • collapses or faints
  • becomes confused or drowsy
  • has stopped peeing or are peeing much less than usual

Tell the operator you might have Coronavirus symptoms.

What if someone I live with has symptoms of Covid-19?

If you live with someone who has symptoms you must self-isolate until they get a test result. If their test is positive you must self-isolate for 14 days from the date when they first suffered symptoms unless you develop symptoms too, in which case you should get a test. If the result is negative you no longer need to self-isolate. It is important to inform the University absence line if you live with someone who has symptoms. We will contact you for further details.

How will the University be monitoring the spread of the virus within the student population?

We are carrying out our own track and trace system alongside national efforts. When you notify us that you have symptoms or are self-isolating because someone you live with has symptoms we will send you a link to an online form to complete and this will be followed up with a phone call.

How will I buy food if I am self-isolating?

When you notify the University that you have symptoms or are self-isolating, you will receive help and advice for your situation to ensure that your needs are met and you are supported appropriately. 

Where should I go for testing in Leeds?

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should get tested. All testing sites operate on an appointment only basis – please do not attend without an appointment. Appointments can be booked via the NHS online booking system or by calling 119.

Leeds has a number of testing centres that can be booked through the NHS site. The recommended testing centre for students is at the Gryphon Sports Centre (University of Leeds campus, Woodsley Road, LS2 9LZ). The Gryphon walk-through testing centre is open seven days a week from 8am until 8pm.

Please read the information leaflet to find out more and watch this video to find out what you need to do before your appointment and what will happen when you arrive for your test.

Will there be a freshers’ week for new students?

Yes. Freshers’ week begins on Monday 14 September with online and in-person welcome events and activities provided by course leaders, teaching staff and the Students’ Union in your first weeks to help students settle in quickly and get to know people.

Starting at University is a very exciting experience, but it can also be daunting, particularly in the current situation. We understand that for new students getting to know us, making new friends and for many, moving to a new city and student accommodation are all important to how students settle into this new experience.

Students can find out more about what is planned on eStudio and the Student Union website.

Will I be able to socialise with other students at University?

New restrictions come into force on Monday 14 September limiting social gatherings to no more than six people. It is now illegal to meet to socialise in groups of more than six indoors and outdoors. This includes at places like pubs and restaurants and house parties within student and private rented accommodation. We ask that students respect these rules and measures introduced by the government to stop the spread of coronavirus. The new rules do not apply to groups meeting for the purposes of education therefore within the controlled environment of the University buildings there will be plenty of opportunities to get to know other people on your course. 

What do the current local restrictions in Leeds mean for students?

The Government has announced further restrictions for residents in Leeds following an increase in rates of transmission of coronavirus in the city. Please view the Leeds City Council website to ensure you understand the restrictions and advice that will be in place from 26 September 2020.

We want to reassure you that this does not change life on campus. All of our buildings are Covid-19 secure and students and staff can and should continue to attend the buildings for face to face teaching activity where timetabled, use the workshops, facilities, library and study spaces and carry out work if you are required to be on site. Students can still socialise with people they live with either in private accommodation or a hall of residence. Current working arrangements continue to remain in place until further notice. We will be working hard to ensure any key national announcements and adjustments to lockdown measures are carefully reviewed and that any changes at the University are shared with you in advance.

Will I be able to buy food and drink at the University?

The Vernon Street and Blenheim Walk cafés are both now open with some revision to how their services are used. Water fountains, supplying hot and cold water with foot pedal controls are installed throughout our buildings. 

What support is available for overseas students?

The International Team is here to help students transition safely and smoothly into life in the UK. We’re available on Skype or the phone to students who have questions or are feeling isolated and would like some additional support. Please reach out to us on international@leeds-art.ac.uk to let us know how we can help.

I'm an overseas student. What if I have to quarantine on arrival in the UK?

There is a now a requirement for arrivals from many countries to quarantine for 14 days after arriving into the UK. If you are arriving into Leeds Bradford Airport or Leeds train station and are concerned about how you will make the journey to your accommodation please contact the International Team. We can also deliver a food parcel to your accommodation with some groceries to help you through the first few days – please let us know if you have any dietary requirements. Please refer to your Welcome Booklet for details on how to set up accounts with local supermarkets and food delivery services so you can have food delivered while you quarantine.  

I’m an overseas student. Can I choose to study remotely in the first semester?

Some overseas students may wish to be taught purely online for a period of time. These may include students who live outside the UK and have travel restrictions or have to quarantine when they arrive. We may be able to accommodate this on a case-by-case basis. Any student who would like to apply for this should contact the Academic Registrar or the International Team in the first instance. 

As an overseas student, how will my Tier 4 (General) visa be affected if I delay my journey to the UK?

If you are a current student and have decided to study online for a short time or even the whole of the first semester, this will not affect your visa. While you continue to study and engage with your course then your UK leave remains valid. If you are a new student studying online for the first semester and plan to join us in Leeds at a later date, we will issue your CAS so you can make your application for a visa when you let us know your intended date of travel. Please remember to give us plenty of notice so you have enough time to apply for your visa (the UKVI service standard for a visa application is three weeks from submitting your application to receiving your visa).

Are you currently holding any open days?

We are hosting a number of online open days this autumn for all levels of study. We are aiming to make the open day events as close to the experience of visiting our buildings as possible. They will include live course talks and the opportunity to ask questions of tutors and student ambassadors as well as representatives from our admissions, accommodation, student welfare and careers teams.

Booking is open for our undergraduate and further education open days and will open in October for postgraduate open days via this link www.leeds-art.ac.uk/open-days.

Wednesday 2 December

Saturday 3 October
Saturday 31 October
Saturday 28 November

Further Education (Foundation and Extended Diploma)
Thursday 8 October
Saturday 21 November
Wednesday 16 December

We hope to host some open days at the University in the spring and summer and this will be confirmed in the New Year.

Will the end of year show take place in 2020/21?

Due to the Government ban on public gatherings, for 2019/20 we celebrated our final year students’ work with a digital end of year show, supported by a printed publication. We also ensured our students’ creative talent was showcased to the creative industries and arts community through as many industry channels open to us as possible and we invested substantially in this.

We hope to return to staging a final year show of students' work within the University buildings in June 2021 but this will be dependent on government guidance.