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Guidance for current students

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

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 and adhere to two metre social distancing on campus. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

From September 2020, our focus is on providing space for music-making activities on campus and in-person delivery of as many activities as possible. To support this, we have a flexible curriculum for the autumn that will enable students to benefit from our world-leading teaching and facilities while keeping safe, as well as taking advantage of our digital learning environment.

Our autumn events season features a range of performance opportunities with social distancing measures in place. The programme includes visits from internationally renowned musicians, a wide variety of repertoire to explore and an innovative film series promoted via the RCM’s digital platforms. Some performance projects will use blended approaches to learning with both live and digital interaction, harnessing all the additional benefits that online resources can bring. Our expanded programme of streaming and recording will allow us to share all our performances, masterclasses and other activities with global audiences.  

By January 2021 we are planning to return to teaching all classes onsite, except where we think digital delivery is better for students.  

The Royal College of Music is a highly creative and adaptable community of exceptional students, professors and staff. 

The content below reflects operational changes brought into effect on 15 March and further changes following nationwide Government instructions coming into effect on 14 September.

This page was last updated on 10 September 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.

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 to senior College students and professors between 8am and 11pm six days a week, and open to the RCM Junior Department only on Saturdays.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.

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

Anyone returning from a country that is not on the UK exempt list must self-isolate at home for 14 days and must not, therefore, come into College until after the 14 days. The list of exempt countries can be found here.
 
If you have Covid-19 symptoms, or cold or flu symptoms, you must not come into the College. Call the NHS immediately on 111 and take a test. If you test positive, you will be contacted by NHS Track and Trace to track your contacts. 
 
Please also contact the College immediately to tell us you have tested positive and to report your recent contacts at the RCM – we will then contact them to ask them to self-isolate; email us at coronavirus@rcm.ac.uk.

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.
  • From Monday 10 August, 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

  • From September 2020, we are resuming our performance programme with social distancing measures in place, prioritising the health and wellbeing of our community at all times. The programme will initially focus 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 will include 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 the operational changes affect my studies from September 2020?

We have made plans for the autumn term that will enable all students to return to their courses in September 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 spring 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 using a blended approach to learning during the autumn term 2020. This allows delivery of all aspects of your programme in a safe and flexible way. For those of you who experience travel difficulties returning to London for the start of term, 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 lessons in September?

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 start studies remotely sympathetically.

Students starting new courses should email registration@rcm.ac.uk to make a request to study remotely, outlining your circumstances. It is helpful if you can let us know when you think you may be able to arrive in the UK, although we understand this may change.

Students returning on the same course should submit a Leave of Absence form, specifiying that they need to begin this year's studies 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. The government will be reviewing these plans every three weeks and the list of exempt countries could change before September.

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?

We expect most one-to-one lessons to take place in the College, although some professors may prefer to continue delivering lessons remotely online in September.

A small number of professors may prefer to teach principal study lessons from home (or another location) in the present circumstances. This will only be permitted where professors have the approval of their Head of Faculty and if they have completed a risk assessment which shows that their home is Covid-secure. It will only be allowed if students are willing to travel to the professor’s home for lessons and are willing to pay any travel costs.

If you would prefer a remote lesson, instead of travelling to your professor’s home, that is ok and is your choice. You should inform your professor (or your Head of Faculty, if you prefer).

  • Teaching from home will only be permitted where the professor lives within the London area (defined as Transport for London zones 1-6)
  • Timing of lessons must not clash with academic zones and must allow time for a student to travel to and from the College
  • Any other teaching/coaching is not permitted from home

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 visas

  • We appreciate that students on Tier 4 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 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 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 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 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 as a Tier 4 student. Please make sure you notify your teacher as normal. 

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 studentservices@rcm.ac.uk 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: elly.taylor@rcm.ac.uk.

Students can contact Student Services at studentservices@rcm.ac.uk.

Further questions

If we have not answered your question please email coronavirus@rcm.ac.uk.

 

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