Dear Colleagues,

Although we have entered a new phase of enhanced restrictions, we’re pleased that the College is continuing to function through the “second lockdown”. We hope that you are faring well and appreciate your commitment to deliver our education and research and your resilience. We are very grateful for all the hard work everyone is continuing to undertake throughout this pandemic, and we hope that the additional College closure days around Christmas will allow you to reenergise for the new year. 

We are writing to update you on the College plans for the end of the year and our test, trace and contain programme. As you will be aware, the Department for Education is providing new guidance for universities about how to ensure students can continue to study safely and return to their families and loved ones at Christmas.

We know that some students will need to remain in London over the holiday, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to those working throughout to support our students. We will ensure that you also have a chance to recuperate.

Those of us working from home will continue to do so into the new year so we can safely accommodate social distancing for those who need to be on campus for research and education.  Please visit Imperial@Home webpages for provide support and resources for remote working. We will be launching a pilot to determine how we can bring more staff into campus in the coming months. We are grateful for everyone’s patience and sacrifice to benefit our teaching and research.

End of term

In accordance with new government guidance published today:

  • Students will be able to travel once the national lockdown restrictions have been lifted on Thursday 3 December.
  • We are required to suspend all on-campus teaching from Wednesday 9 December. Departments are working on plans to stagger the end of in-person activities and will communicate directly with students.
  • We expect students to continue their coursework remotely until the end of the autumn term on Friday 18 December. This includes participating in remote assessments. We will provide support to students who need access to digital or physical facilities for their studies.

We strongly encourage all students to take an asymptomatic COVID-19 test before they plan to travel. The government has published detailed guidelines on what our students should do based on their test results and we will be advising them based on this information.

Students undertaking clinical placements in the Faculty of Medicine are considered essential workers and should remain in their placements until the end of term.

Our MRes and PhD students can also continue with their research activities under their current working arrangements.            

Our research and teaching activity has been designed to be safe and consistent with social distancing rules and our research laboratories remain open. We are hopeful that we can resume on campus teaching with a phased approach in the new year and we appreciate all the efforts made to move to remote learning at the end of term.

We will provide our most updated information about our approach here.

Test, trace and contain

Asymptomatic testing, contact tracing and isolation, coordinated by the College COVID-19 Contact Tracing Hub (CCT Hub) is our most powerful tool to contain COVID-19.  We welcome and encourage staff to book a test and ask you to encourage students to participate also. We are reassured by the modest numbers of positive tests tracked daily on the College testing data page. Our on-campus safety measures, including wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing are also playing an important role in keeping our community safe.

We will continue to keep you informed; please read our weekly COVID updates for the latest guidance.

Best wishes,

Alice and Ian

Professor Alice P. Gast, President

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost