Dear students,

This is a very uncertain time for us all, both because of the threats posed by COVID-19 virus to ourselves and people we are close to, and the rapid changes in the external world in attempting to minimize the risks to us all. As you know, at College, we have now moved to remote working for all but the most essential operations, including supporting students’ needs on campus and our own colleagues’ research into tracking and combatting the virus.

I am immensely grateful to all of you for accommodating the changes to your education and research that have been made necessary by these events. Our objective is to ensure that you will not be disadvantaged by the changes, able to complete your degrees on time and to the same standards as you are expecting. I am also very grateful for the commitment and dedication of your supervisors, tutors and lecturers, Directors of Studies and Heads of Sections and Departments, who have been working tirelessly to make sure you can continue and complete your degree courses.

Remote teaching and assessment are new for many of you, and it will take a little time to work out all of the details for how these will be delivered. You will hear more from your tutors, Departments and Faculties this week on how assessments will be managed. 

Many courses were already using online lectures and exams before the current situation arose, so there is a great deal of experience on which to build. Lectures, classes and examinations that are normally given in person, and now online, will benefit from this knowledge.

If you are a research degree student who is undertaking laboratory-based research, the closure of buildings might mean a change in your experiments or a delay in completing them. We will ensure that your degree progression is not compromised by this, as far as possible, and will look at ways you can continue albeit by remote working, and work with funders to extend grants to enable work to finish.

The stresses that these changes impose are massive for everyone, causing strains to mental health and on relationships. I wanted to assure you that our paramount objective is your health, well-being and education. We are listening to your concerns about these changes and urge you to take advantage of help available in your Departments and in the College to support you during this very trying time.

Imperial’s community is resilient and resourceful. The College will support you as we all get used to the new, and temporary, way of going about education and research. I know we shall continue to help and support one another in these very difficult times, and we shall come through it as a stronger community.

Best wishes,


Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost