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Guidance for current students

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The RCM campus is open with protective measures in place for individual music-making, one-to-one teaching and small ensemble rehearsals and performances.

The RCM will remain open for educational activities with our current robust safety measures in place for the remainder of the autumn term and Christmas vacation. RCM Junior Department activities are currently being delivered digitally.

The health and wellbeing of the RCM community is our top priority and protective measures have been put in place to help ensure the safest possible use of the building at this time. This includes requiring all staff and students to wear facemasks, avoid mixing households and adhere to two metre social distancing on campus. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Covid-19 – what to do if you have symptoms

If you are an RCM student, professor or staff member and you experience symptoms of Covid-19, you should take the following steps as promptly as possible:

If you think another student or member of staff might have symptoms, you should encourage them to do the same. Further information is available in each of the guidance sections below.

The content below reflects operational changes brought into effect on 15 March 2020 and further changes following nationwide Government instructions coming into effect on 5 November.

This page was last updated on 18 November and will be updated again in the event of further changes.

Please check your email, Asimut and Learn.rcm regularly for specific updates relevant to you and your work.

Latest Covid-19 updates from the RCM

The RCM has plans in place for a number of scenarios including coronavirus cases on campus and changing government restrictions. The following plans are in line with guidance from the UK Government.

RCM students, RCMJD students, professors and staff members who experience symptoms of Covid-19 must self-isolate, notify the RCM using the COVID SELF-REPORTING FORM and book a test. More information can be found below.

In the instance of confirmed or suspected cases, NHS Test and Trace and the RCM will communicate with individuals directly. No wider communications will be sent to the College community. Students and staff who are self-isolating will be fully supported by the RCM.

In the event of several confirmed cases at the College, action may be taken to reduce activity on campus and further teaching may move online. Students and staff affected by these measures will be communicated with directly by their Head of Faculty.

Operational changes will be communicated via RCM Notices so please continue to check your College email.

What should I do if I have Covid-19 symptoms?

If you experience symptoms of Covid-19, you should take the following steps as promptly as possible:

If you think another student or member of staff might have symptoms, you should encourage them to do the same.


Government guidance requires that anyone showing symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, or anyone who has received a positive test result, must self-isolate.

If you're a student living in PCV you will have been allocated a 'household'. If one member of the household (whether in halls, private shared accommodation or other) experiences symptoms or has a positive Covid-19 test, all members of that household must self-isolate for 14 days, unless they receive a negative test result and isolating is no longer necessary.

Those who have been in close contact with someone showing symptoms should also self-isolate for 14 days, unless they receive a negative test result. Close contact means:

  • direct close contacts - face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 meter, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin)
  • proximity contacts - extended close contact (within 1 to 2 meters for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual
  • travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person


You must complete the RCM COVID SELF-REPORTING FORM.

This means we can take prompt action to request any additional cleaning, notify household members and provide support. This also means we will have early awareness of possible and confirmed cases, and can put in place additional measures if needed.


If you think you have Covid-19, you should book a free test through the NHS. If you drive, you will be directed to the NHS drive-in testing facility. For those who do not drive, the NHS will mail you a self-testing kit.

You should continue isolating while waiting for your test results.

Travelling home for Christmas

The UK government has asked that students who want to travel home do so from Thursday 3 December and should aim to have reached their destination by Wednesday 9 December.

RCM teaching is already planned to be finished before 9 December, so there will be no implications for your studies.

The RCM had hoped to participate in the government’s rapid response testing programme by partnering with a local university, but this has unfortunately not been possible. There is no requirement for a student to have a test or self-isolate if they have not accessed testing prior to travelling home. If you are not symptomatic, you can travel home between 3 and 9 December. If you are symptomatic and have been advised to isolate by NHS Test & Trace, you can travel home after completing your period of self-isolation.

These measures aim to reduce the risk of transmission to family and the wider community as students travel across the country. Full guidance regarding safe travel is available here.

Can I travel home before or after the student travel window?

In line with existing government guidance, students are advised not to return home or travel between addresses during the current lockdown period, which ends on Wednesday 2 December.

If you wish to travel after Wednesday 9 December, you will be required to self-isolate at your term-time address for seven days before you travel, or the full 10 days if you develop Covid-19 symptoms. This means you could risk not being at home for Christmas.

Do I need to self-isolate when I arrive at home?

If you are returning to an address in England, you will not need to self-isolate on arrival, unless you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace, or if a member of your term-time household develops symptoms. You will need to follow any local guidance, keep social contact to a minimum and take personal responsibility for your actions to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible.

If you are travelling internationally, you should follow the Public Health England guidance on the website and check local restrictions to find out whether you will need to self-isolate on arrival. Please be aware that UK travel advice may change while you are overseas; you are advised to check the website regularly for updates.

I am planning on travelling abroad – what do I need to know?

Students travelling abroad should check the entry requirements for their destinations on the website.

We suggest that you check back there regularly as well as contacting your chosen airline and the embassy of the country to which you are travelling. They will be able to advise whether you need to take a Covid-19 test before you fly and advise on test providers. The RCM is unable to provide this information.

Please ensure you give yourself enough time to make these arrangements.

Can I stay in my student accommodation over the Christmas vacation?

We know that many more students than usual will be staying in London over the Christmas vacation and we will do what we can to support you. The College will be open on most days over the vacation period for practice and private study.

The RCM Students’ Union will be hosting a variety of festive in-person and online events. As well as their annual Christmas Concert, there will be several online games nights, a festive pub quiz and a Christmas cook-along and bake-along. The SU will also be safely grouping students for local Christmas dinners.

Prince Consort Village residents will be supported 24/7 by PCV staff and will have opportunities to socialise with fellow residents in a socially distant manner. This includes weekly get-togethers for chatting over hot chocolate, a Christmas jumper day, carols in the courtyard and a Christmas Day breakfast.

What support is available over the Christmas vacation?

As well as the usual support from Student Services and the SU, please remember that a range of online support is available to you at all times, including 24/7 mental health support from Togetherall and the UK government’s Student Minds initiative.

RCM buildings and services

RCM campus

  • The RCM campus is open for individual music-making (including with an accompanist), one-to-one teaching and small ensemble rehearsals and performances.
  • Campus is open for educational activities between 8am and 11pm seven days a week.
  • You must only come to campus if you have a specific activity or room allocated in advance via Asimut.
  • You must wear a facemask on entering the College, when moving around campus and in any spaces where two metre social distancing is not possible.
  • Always wash your hands on entering the building and regularly throughout your time on campus.
  • You must not socialise in groups in the communal areas on campus; these areas are open for solo study only. Small ensembles can rehearse on campus with the appropriate social distancing.
  • If you feel unwell, you must stay at home. 
  • All practice rooms must be booked in advance via Asimut and performance spaces can be booked via P&P. Signs on the doors display the maximum occupancy of each room.
  • Please wipe down surfaces and pianos when leaving a practice room.
  • The buildings are subject to enhanced cleaning regimes and rooms are being ventilated via open windows and air conditioning which circulates air from outside.
  • Most professional services continue to operate and provide support remotely. 

Prince Consort Village (PCV)

  • Prince Consort Village is open and residents continue to be fully supported by the PCV team. 
  • You must stay within your own household and not socialise in groups in the communal areas at PCV.
  • If you will be arriving at PCV from overseas and need to self-isolate, you will be fully supported. The building is designed so that students can practice in their rooms and special arrangements have been made for pianists and percussion students who need to self isolate.

The Royal College of Music has undertaken all necessary risk assessments for reopening the RCM, maintaining social distancing and other public safety measures.

Learning and teaching

One-to-one teaching (principal, second and related studies) and academic classes

  • The RCM campus is open for one-to-one teaching for senior College students and professors. We have implemented robust social distancing and cleaning measures in the buildings, including a one-way route and maximum room capacities.
  • You must wear a facemask in all public areas on campus, including teaching rooms where two metre social distancing is not possible.
  • Teaching and practice rooms must be booked in advance.
  • Faculty classes will normally be split between online and in-person delivery, except conducting and composition faculty classes, which will be delivered online. Classes that take place onsite will be recorded and published on Learn.rcm.
  • During 2020/21, academic and contextual teaching will be delivered using a blended approach that combines in-person and online delivery. During the autumn term, most modules will be delivered through Learn.rcm, with online classes delivered with Microsoft Teams. We plan to return to in-person delivery of all teaching as soon as possible. 

Performance programme

  • Our performance programme is live with social distancing measures in place, prioritising the health and wellbeing of our community at all times. The programme initially focuses on solo and chamber performances, broadening out to orchestral music, festivals and fully staged operas as the academic year progresses.
  • We have found ways to facilitate student music-making both with classmates and the roster of celebrated visiting artists who will be coming to the College to work with us.
  • Visiting artists for 2020/21 include Rafael Payare, The Harlem Quartet, Martyn Brabbins, Jac van Steen, Jon Wilson and Gianandrea Noseda.
  • Many of our upcoming projects will use blended approaches with both live and digital interacting, harnessing all the additional benefits online resources can bring.
  • Our autumn events season includes specially commissioned films based on celebrated RCM composers, including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Elizabeth Maconchy, and an expanded programme of streaming and recording to share our performances, masterclasses and other activities with global audiences.

How will Covid-19 affect my studies at the RCM?

We have robust safety measures in place to enable all students to return to their courses and benefit from our world-leading teaching and facilities in London while keeping safe.

Our new Performance Hall and Performance Studio are now open and will be joined by our new Museum in 2021. The building development also includes a new café and bar around a large atrium and a new courtyard.

Like many other universities and colleges, we are currently using a blended approach to learning. This allows delivery of all aspects of your programme in a safe and flexible way. For anyone experiencing difficulties with coming to campus, we have ensured that you have access to online teaching and resources to keep on track with your studies.

We recommend that all students have access to a personal laptop or tablet for engaging with all aspects of their studies, both in-person and online. As a reminder, all RCM students can download Office 365 (including Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Teams, Outlook and OneDrive) for free.

Do I have to come to campus for my lessons?

Most students have now returned to London to study on campus. However, we realise that some students may have had problems travelling to the UK or may have health issues that make it difficult for them to come on campus, therefore may have no choice but to study remotely by on-line distance learning for a short period in the autumn. We are considering requests to study remotely sympathetically.

Students should submit a Leave of Absence form, specifiying that they need to study by distance learning.

The College is providing digital teaching to ensure that you do not fall behind with your studies. This includes online lessons, comprehensive digital resources and support, and recordings of on-site classes. However, we are unable to offer equivalent, interactive digital provision for all practical activities (eg conducting or chamber music.) In some cases, we may ask you to change your options/modules to accommodate an extended period of distance learning.

I am currently overseas and planning on returning to the UK to resume lessons on campus. What do I need to consider?

The UK government is currently asking travellers from many countries to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. Some countries are exempt from these requirements – these are listed here. Essential travel is permitted and this includes travelling for educational or work purposes.

The key points in the government’s self-isolation guidance are:

  • You need to complete a contact details form on-line before your flight
  • On arrival, if you do not have other means of transport, you can use public transport to get to where you will be living
  • If you need to, you can leave your accommodation to get basic necessities, like food, but you should try to get someone to get these things for you, such as through our Buddy Scheme. 

The full guidance is here.

We will provide as much support as possible to students who are self-isolating – both with practical help and to provide learning and social support to keep you occupied so that the time goes as quickly and pleasantly as possible until you join us on campus.

Can I attend one-to-one lessons at my professor's home?

One-to-one principal study lessons in-person at your professor’s home (or an alternative location) are now not permitted. Your professor will contact you to rearrange either as in-person lessons on campus or virtual lessons. Technical support is available from the RCM Digital Team; please email


I have lost work due to coronavirus and am worried about paying my fees – what should I do?

We recognise that some students will have been relying on gigs, teaching and other work to both pay their fees and to cover their living costs and most of this work will have been cancelled. You may be eligible to apply to the Community Jameel Hardship Fund. Application forms will shortly be available on the Student Services pages on Learn.rcm.

More detailed information on changes to our learning, teaching and assessment are available on Learn.rcm. Please refer to this regularly for the latest guidance and procedures relating to your studies.

Find out more

Students on Tier 4/Student Visas

  • We appreciate that students on Tier 4 Visas and Student Visas have specific concerns if you are studying remotely from your home country or if you are unwell and unable to study. There are large numbers of international students at UK universities in this situation and the Home Office is regularly updating its guidance.
  • The Home Office has confirmed that, due to the exceptional circumstances, the RCM can continue to sponsor you on your Tier 4 or Student Visa even if you are currently studying via distance learning from your home country, provided you continue to engage with your studies.

How will my Tier 4/Student Visa be affected if I am studying remotely from my home country?

The Home Office has confirmed that, due to the exceptional circumstances, the RCM can continue to sponsor you on your Tier 4 Visa or Student Visa even if you are currently studying via distance learning from your home country. This includes if you need to be away from the UK for more than 60 days. 

How will my Tier 4/Student Visa be affected if I am unwell and unable to participate in classes?

If you are required to miss classes because you are unwell or because of other disruption caused by coronavirus​, this will be classed as an authorised absence and will not negatively affect your attendance record. Please make sure you notify your teacher as normal. 

I am an international student and I have not yet travelled to the UK because of coronavirus travel restrictions. How does this affect my visa?

If you have already applied for a visa and been issued with your entry clearance vignette, you should aim to travel to the UK before the vignette expires. If you will not be able to travel before the expiry date, contact for advice. You should be able to extend your vignette, depending on how long you intend to delay your travel date.

On 5 October 2020 the new Student visa route opened, replacing Tier 4. If you applied for your visa before 5 October, you will be granted a Tier 4 visa. If you apply after 5 October you will be granted visa a Student visa. Most of the rules and application processes for the new Student route are the same, or very similar, to Tier 4.

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals moving to the UK from 1 January 2021 will be subject to the new Student visa route. If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss student studying remotely and you have not already established residence in the UK, we encourage you to do so before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, in order to benefit from the EU Settlement Scheme. This will enable you to work and study in the UK visa-free during and after your studies.

The Registry international team has contacted EU/EEA students directly, so please check your RCM emails for more information. If you are an international student with questions or concerns, please email for advice and support.

Support for students

Accessing support remotely

Student Services are providing advice and support remotely with a range of issues, including accommodation, counselling, disability, finance and more until further notice. If you are concerned about coronavirus or worried about friends and family, please use the resources on the Student Services learn pages and do not hesitate to email for advice and support.

Students are also encouraged to use online mental health support services such as Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall), which is available 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

Prejudice connected with coronavirus 

The Royal College of Music has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism. If you witness or experience bullying or harassment, your voice will be heard and taken seriously.

Students should report any misconduct to the Academic Registrar:

Students can contact Student Services at

Further questions

If we have not answered your question please email


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Guidance for current RCMJD students

Our latest information for RCM Junior Department students and their parents about blended learning and how we are keeping our students safe.

Read our guidance for RCMJD students

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Guidance for 2021 applicants

Our latest information for those applying to the RCM for 2021 entry.

Read our guidance for 2021 applicants

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The facade of the RCM's Blomfield Building on a sunny day

Guidance for staff

Our latest information on how the current situation affects the work and pay of RCM staff, how to stay safe and advice on remote working.

Read our guidance for staff

The facade of the RCM's Blomfield Building on a sunny day
RCM singers mid-performance with an RCM orchestra accompanying them behind

Guidance for visitors

Our latest information on how the current situation affects public activities at the RCM, including performances.

Read our guidance for visitors

RCM singers mid-performance with an RCM orchestra accompanying them behind