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Guidance for current students

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Face-to-face teaching and other activities have now resumed on campus with protective measures in place.

Everyone who plans to come to campus should have a negative Covid-19 test result before entering the College. The RCM community is expected to participate in free twice-weekly testing using home-testing kits available to all students and staff or at one of many local testing centres. Order coronavirus (Covid-19) rapid lateral flow tests here.

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 expecting all staff and students to wear facemasks when moving around the building and when in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don't normally meet. 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.

Complete the Covid self-reporting form

The content below reflects operational changes brought into effect on 15 March 2020 and further changes following nationwide Government instructions coming into effect on 19 July 2021.

This page was last updated on 30 November 2021 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, RCM Junior Department 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.

Complete Covid self-reporting form

In the instance of confirmed or suspected cases, 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.

If there are several confirmed cases at the College, action may be taken to further reduce activity on campus. Operational changes will be communicated via RCM Notices so please continue to check your College email.

Twice-weekly and home- Covid-19 testing

The RCM community is expected to participate in free twice-weekly testing using home-testing kits available to all students and staff or at one of many local testing centres.

How to get regular home tests

  • You can order home testing kits to your home address here. You can also collect these kits from the blue trays at reception.
  • Collect test kits from a local pharmacy using a collect code.
  • Pick up from a local test site.
  • Prince Consort Village residents will receive their test kits at PCV.

 
If you do not wish to self-administer home tests, then you must continue to be tested at a local testing facility.

TESTING INSTRUCTIONS

  • Test yourself at home or visit a testing centre twice a week

If testing at home, you are asked to self-administer the test at least twice a week (every three to four days) and wait at home for a negative test result before coming to College. The tests are quick and simple and are provided with easy-to-follow instructions. You can watch video instructions here. Your test should be ready within 30 minutes.

  • Log all your test results

You should report your test result to the NHS. You should report every result as soon as you get the result. To make this easier, set up an account so that you don’t need to register each time. You can register and report your results to the NHS here:

Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you receive a positive test result, as well as the NHS, you should also report your test result to the RCM using the form below. You should log a positive test result whether you used the home-testing kit or were tested as a local facility. Try to plan your week so that you take the test on the morning you plan to come to College, unless you have taken a test in the previous few days.

Complete the test results form

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.

Complete Covid self-reporting form

1. ISOLATE

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

Since 16 August, the government does not require close contacts of someone who tests positive to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated via the NHS in the UK. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will be required by law to self-isolate for 10 days. There is a great advantage to being fully vaccinated, as it means your studies and social life will not be interrupted. 

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

2. NOTIFY

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.

Complete Covid self-reporting form

3. TEST

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. Once you receive your result, log it using this simple form.

When do I need to self isolate?

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (Covid-19).

When to self isolate

You should self-isolate if you experience any of the symptoms of Covid-19 and book a PCR test as soon as possible. You should also notify us using the Covid self-reporting form.

If at any point you receive a positive result, you must begin self-isolating immediately and arrange a confirmation test via the NHS. This NHS test will confirm your result. You must self-isolate at your term-time address for 10 days (or until you receive a negative result from your NHS test) and notify the RCM using the RCM COVID SELF-REPORTING FORM.

If you have been in close contact with a person who tests positive for Covid-19, you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace who will confirm whether you are legally required to self-isolate. Full details on who is required to self-isolate can be found here.

If you are a close contact of someone who is suspected of having the Omicron variant, you will be required to self-isolate even if you have been vaccinated.

If you are not legally required to self-isolate you will be provided with advice on testing and given guidance on preventing the spread of Covid-19. Even if you do not have symptoms, you will be advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible As well as getting a PCR test, you should:

  • limit close contact with people outside your household, especially in enclosed spaces – consider taking a lateral flow (LFD) test beforehand if you do need to be in close contact with others
  • wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and where you are unable to maintain social distancing
  • limit contact with anyone who has an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe illness if infected with Covid-19

This advice applies until 10 full days after your most recent contact with the person who has tested positive for Covid-19.

If you are a close contact of someone who is suspected of having the Omicron variant, you will be required to self-isolate even if you have been vaccinated.

What do I do if I receive a positive result?

If at any point you receive a positive result, you must begin self-isolating immediately and arrange a confirmation test via the NHS. This NHS test will confirm your result. You must self-isolate at your term-time address for 10 days (or until you receive a negative result from your NHS test) and notify the RCM using the RCM COVID SELF-REPORTING FORM.

If I test positive, do I continue asymptomatic testing?

If you test positive for Covid-19 and have this result confirmed by an NHS test, you will be exempt from being retested within a period of 90 days from the test, unless you develop new possible Covid-19 symptoms. This is because fragments of inactive virus can be persistently detected by the swab test in the respiratory tract for some time following infection. If you are found to be positive for Covid-19 by swab test within 90 days from your initial illness onset, depending on your symptoms and advice from an infection specialist, you may need to self-isolate again.

I have been fully vaccinated – do I need to take these twice-weekly tests?

Even if you are fully vaccinated, we ask you take regular lateral flow tests at least until the end of September.

Vaccination against Covid-19

Vaccination is free for everyone in the UK, including international students. Young people in the UK are being offered the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against the risk of serious illness.

You do not require an NHS number or GP registration to receive the Covid-19 vaccination and you should not be denied vaccination on this basis. However, we strongly encourage you to register with a GP if you have not already done so.

If I have not been fully vaccinated - will I have access to a coronavirus vaccine as an international student?

Yes. Vaccination is free for everyone. If you are not already vaccinated, the UK government has confirmed that the NHS will offer the vaccine to all students.

If you haven't already registered with a GP, please do so either at Imperial College Health Centre or with a local GP close to where you live in London.

Register online with Imperial College Health Centre

All residents at Prince Consort Village qualify for the full NHS registration; others who are not in the large postcode catchment area can register as out of area NHS patients or visit the NHS website to find your local practice.

If you are not already vaccinated, the NHS will be providing free vaccination for all students in the autumn.

How can I get vaccinated?

You can book your Covid-19 vaccination appointments online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy.

Alternatively, you can get vaccinated at a walk-in vaccination site without an appointment. 

If I am fully vaccinated, will I need to self-isolate if I come into contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus?

Since 16 August 2021, the government does not require close contacts of someone who tests positive to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated via the NHS in the UK. If you are not fully vaccinated you will be required by law to self-isolate for 10 days. There is a great advantage to being fully vaccinated, as it means your studies and social life will not be interrupted. 

If you are identified as a close contact of someone who tests positive for Covid 19, Government guidance for England states that you do not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:

  • you're fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a Covid-19 vaccine given by the NHS
  • you're under 18 years, 6 months old
  • you're taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you're not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

If I have been vaccinated overseas, will my vaccine be recognised in the UK?

If students have been fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by the EMA in Europe and the FDA in the USA, these will be recognised in the UK. Students  from Europe will need to produce the EU’s digital Covid certificate as proof of their inoculation. American citizens will need to show the CDC card they were given when they were vaccinated.

RCM buildings and services

RCM campus

  • Room capacities at the College have returned to normal.
  • The College's facilities are open as normal.
  • Prince Consort Road: Open Monday - Friday from 8am-11pm, Saturdays from 6-11pm and Sundays from 8am-11pm 
  • Library: Open Monday – Thursday, from 9am-7pm and Fridays from 9am – 5.30pm 
  • ICT Helpdesk: Open Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm 
  • RCM Café: Open Monday to Friday from 08:30am – 4.30pm and 8.30am - 4.30pm on Saturdays during term time.
  • RCM Studios: Open Monday – Friday, 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm
  • RCM Jay Mews: Open Monday to Friday from 8am-9pm

Prince Consort Village (PCV)

  • Prince Consort Village is open and residents continue to be fully supported by the PCV team.
  • If you need to 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.

Safety on campus

Mask wearing at the RCM

  • You must wear a face-covering whenever you are moving around campus and when seated in the café. The only exception is when eating or drinking; after which masks should be worn again.
  • Masks must be worn in all ensemble music-making activities, rehearsal and performance. The only exceptions are where an instrument cannot be played while wearing a mask (wind and brass) and for singers.
  • Masks must be worn is class-based activities, such as academic and faculty classes.
  • Masks are not required in one-to-one lessons unless it is the preference of either the professor or the student.
  • All audience members and external visitors should wear a mask unless exempt. 
  • Masks should be worn in offices and meetings if people are close together.
  • Some people cannot wear a face-covering, so it is important to be respectful of others. If you cannot wear a mask for health reasons, please speak to your Head of Faculty or line manager as appropriate. 

Cleaning and ventilation

  • Always wash your hands on entering the building and regularly throughout your time on campus, using soap and water or hand sanitiser. 
  • Meet in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with the windows open.
  • Please wipe down all surfaces and pianos when leaving a practice room.
  • If you feel unwell, you must stay at home.
  • The buildings are subject to enhanced cleaning regimes and rooms are being ventilated via open windows and air conditioning which circulates air from outside.

Learning and teaching

One-to-one teaching, faculty classes and academic classes

  • From September, the curriculum is being delivered in-person for practical activities, including lessons, faculty classes, and ensemble rehearsals
  • Most academic classes are being delivered in person. However, in response to positive feedback, we have redesigned some elements of the BMus Historical Studies curriculum to be delivered in a blended format.
  • Our Performance Programme is now fully in operation, with concerts and performances to live audiences. This includes all our usual ensembles – orchestras, chorus, opera, along with faculty ensembles, chamber and solo performances.
  • Students can work with accompanists on campus and external accompanists are allowed without applying for permission.

I am currently in the UK but am planning on returning overseas. What do I need to consider?

It is a good idea to get your second vaccination before you travel home, but if this isn't possible then you should contact your healthcare provider in your home country to arrange your second vaccination. 

You are encouraged to take a Covid-19 test before travelling anywhere. 

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

There is also further information here.

What happens if there are changes to the current travel restrictions?

Students are advised to check the latest travel guidance published by the UK Government before they travel.

From 4am on Tuesday 30 November, several southern-African countries were added onto the UK’s red list of countries for travel. The UK Government keeps this list under constant review and countries may be added or removed at any time. This webpage will be updated with any changes to the red list.

If you are travelling from a country which is added onto the red list and you are a British or Irish National or have residency rights in the UK (which includes Student visa holders), you must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days on arrival. Before you travel, you must book and pay for your hotel room and book two Covid-19 tests to take on days two and eight of your quarantine.

Read the full guidance here. 

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 not permitted. This policy will be reviewed as and when government guidance changes. 

Technical support with virtual lessons is available from the RCM Digital Team; please email ICThelp@rcm.ac.uk.

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 are available 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.

Support for students

Accessing support remotely

Student Services provides advice and support both in person and remotely with a range of issues, including accommodation, counselling, disability, finance and more. 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) and Student Minds, which are 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 and staff can report incidents anonymously using this form or directly to the Academic Registrar: elly.taylor@rcm.ac.uk

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

Further questions

Contacts as follows

Heads of Faculty

Heads of Programmes

Personal Advisors

Student Services (studentservices@rcm.ac.uk)

Students’ Union (SU.President@rcm.ac.uk)

If you are an international student with questions or concerns about visas, please email the Registry international team at international@rcm.ac.uk for advice and support.

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Guidance for current RCMJD students

Our latest information for RCM Junior Department students and their parents about the delivery of the RCMJD programme, and how we are keeping our students safe.

Read our guidance for RCMJD students

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Guidance for 2022 applicants

Our latest information for those applying to the RCM for 2022 entry.

Read our guidance for 2022 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
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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