Important COVID-19 / Coronavirus information and FAQs

IMPORTANT CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION AND FAQS

Updated on 6 April 2020

The Architectural Association is continuing to closely monitor the outbreak of coronavirus and seek advice from the UK authorities. We are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our staff and students during the current situation.

On 23 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced further, stricter measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

It is very important that you familiarise yourself with this message and follow its guidance.

Updated government advice can also be found here:


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. WHAT IS THE AA’S RESPONSE PLAN?
  2. DO I NEED TO INFORM THE AA OF MY LOCATION OVER THE EASTER BREAK?
  3. WILL THE AA BUILDINGS BE OPEN OVER THE EASTER BREAK?
  4. WILL THE AA BE CLOSED DURING TERM 3?
  5. I HAVE NOT YET BOOKED MY FLIGHT TO RETURN FOR TERM 3. SHOULD I BOOK IT NOW?
  6. WHAT IF I CAN’T COME BACK TO THE UK IN TIME FOR THE START OF TERM 3?
  7. I’M WORRIED ABOUT MY TIER 4 VISA IF I AM NOT ABLE TO ATTEND IN PERSON – WHAT SHOULD I DO?
  8. I RENT MY ACCOMMODATION. WHERE CAN I FIND ADVICE ON MY STUDENT HOUSING RIGHTS?
  9. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS? WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS?
  10. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I OR SOMEONE IN MY HOUSEHOLD HAS SYMPTOMS?
  11. SHOULD I INFORM THE AA IF I’M ILL?
  12. WHERE CAN I FIND SUPPORT FOR MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING?
  13. AA VISITING SCHOOL: I HAVE PAID THE DEPOSIT/FULL FEE FOR DLAB/SUMMER SCHOOL/AA SESSIONS. WILL I BE ISSUED A REFUND IF THE PROGRAMME IS CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT COVID-19 SITUATION?
  14. AA VISITING SCHOOL: I HAVE PAID THE DEPOSIT FEE FOR A GLOBAL VISITING SCHOOL PROGRAMME. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE PROGRAMME IS POSTPONED BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT COVID-19 SITUATION?
  15. AA VISITING SCHOOL: I HAVE PAID THE FULL FEE FOR A GLOBAL VISITING SCHOOL PROGRAMME. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE PROGRAMME IS POSTPONED BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT COVID-19 SITUATION?
  16. AA VISITING SCHOOL: I AM INTERESTED IN APPLYING TO ONE OF YOUR PART-TIME UK PROGRAMMES THIS SUMMER. DO YOU STILL INTEND ON HOLDING THEM?
  17. AA VISITING SCHOOL: I AM INTERESTED IN APPLYING TO ONE OF YOUR GLOBAL VISITING SCHOOL PROGRAMMES THIS SUMMER. DO YOU STILL INTEND ON HOLDING THEM?
  18. AA VISITING SCHOOL: WHERE CAN I FIND UPDATES ON ALL AA VISITING SCHOOL PROGRAMMES?



1. WHAT IS THE AA’S RESPONSE PLAN?
You can find the Response Plan in full here: AA Covid-19 Response Plan


2. DO I NEED TO INFORM THE AA OF MY LOCATION OVER THE EASTER BREAK?
Yes please. Even if you are remaining in London, the AA would like to know. We have established a register for two purposes:

  • to document all travel arrangements in order to support individuals who are facing disruption or difficulty;
  • to build a picture of our global AA Community so we can better interact and support staff and students around the world. This is also helping us continue to enact operational planning and response on matters that could impact on the student and staff experience. 

The fastest and easiest way to let us know where you are is to fill in a quick online survey:

Alternatively, you can email us at the addresses below. Please remember to confirm your location and travel date(s); students should also include their Student ID:



3. WILL THE AA BUILDINGS BE OPEN OVER THE EASTER BREAK?
No. Following an assessment of the situation, the decision was taken to close AA buildings from the evening of Friday, 20th March. Term 3 will commence as planned either online or on-site on Monday, 20th April.

Administrative departments are continuing to work remotely in the following periods:

  • Monday 23rd March to Friday 27th March
  • Wednesday 15th to Friday 17th April

Additionally, we will continue to monitor the following email address throughout the Easter break (Saturday 28 March to Tuesday 14 April) in case your email is urgent:



4. WILL THE AA BE CLOSED DURING TERM 3?
The AA is committed and prepared to deliver all its academic programmes in Term 3 online and/or on-site, depending on how the current situation evolves. In all circumstances Term 3 will commence as scheduled on Monday 20th April. The AA buildings are currently closed on UK government instruction, and will remain so until further announcement. Anticipating that this will extend into Term 3 we are working on the various contingencies to enable students to complete their studies in this academic year online, and we are developing new academic resources to support each one of you wherever you are. While the AA facilities in Bedford Square are currently closed and will only re-open when UK government instruction permits, the AA remains open throughout.

We want to reassure you that we are doing everything possible to support your education. Please make sure you fill the Student Location Survey to make sure we can support you in this journey.



5. I HAVE NOT YET BOOKED MY FLIGHT TO RETURN FOR TERM 3. SHOULD I BOOK IT NOW?
Not at this time. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have issued an Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice that advises against all but essential international travel. At present, any country or area (including the UK) may restrict travel without notice. If you already have return flights booked, keep yourself updated on the developing situation and regularly check your airline’s website for notices on potential delays or cancellations.

You should also set up FCO travel alerts for your location so you can be kept aware of the UK government’s travel advice.



6. WHAT IF I CAN’T COME BACK TO THE UK IN TIME FOR THE START OF TERM 3?
We understand that students will find themselves in different circumstances in April (some might be abroad, in isolation, or prevented from travelling for a period of time). We will accommodate each student to make sure that everyone completes this academic year.



7. I’M WORRIED ABOUT MY TIER 4 VISA IF I AM NOT ABLE TO ATTEND IN PERSON – WHAT SHOULD I DO?
So far, the UK Home Office has made relatively few specific policy changes to the Tier 4 rules as a result of COVID-19. Please be assured of two things though:

  • there’s a team at the AA who are monitoring government updates daily so we can act quickly on any policy changes;
  • we will always act in the best interest of the students and take as flexible an approach to any policy changes as we possibly can. For example, if the UKVI decides to relax the rules in certain areas, we will take full advantage.

On 27 March and 3 April, Assistant Registrar Lauren O’Brien and Compliance Officer Krishna Songara ran sessions on Teams to answer questions around visas and compliance issues with all information available from the government so far. We will run more of these sessions (time TBC) as new policy guidelines are released.

All Tier 4 visa holders should have received an email with the FAQs that have arisen from these sessions, but please get in touch if you have not received them, or have more questions: 

Email: compliance@aaschool.ac.uk

Join AA Visas & Compliance on Teams

In the meantime, another good source of information is the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) who are updating their advice to student visa holders regularly.



8. I RENT MY ACCOMMODATION. WHERE CAN I FIND ADVICE ON MY STUDENT HOUSING RIGHTS?

The AA has partnered with the University of London Housing Services (ULHS) to assist all students with accommodation support and guidance throughout the academic year. From 18th March 2020, all housing and legal advice appointments will be scheduled as telephone appointments.

ULHS are compiling guidance in response to enquiries received about COVID-19; the following link is updating as these enquiries increase and broaden – please retain for ongoing reference: https://housing.london.ac.uk/housing-advice/legal-advice/covid-19-coronavirus-private-housing-rights

AA students can contact ULHS to discuss their specific situation:
Email: housing@london.ac.uk
Telephone: 0207 862 8880



9. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS? WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS?
The NHS is advising that the symptoms of coronavirus most commonly are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature) and/or
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

Though these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness, in order to protect others, if you have them you must stay at home and seek medical advice. Please see the NHS’s advice on what to do if you have these symptoms.



10. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I OR SOMEONE IN MY HOUSEHOLD HAS SYMPTOMS?
Please follow these key messages circulated by Public Health England:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance



11. SHOULD I INFORM THE AA IF I’M ILL?
Over the Easter break: Students are not required to inform us of any illness during the holiday period, but please do keep in touch and let us know if you are in need of any particular support. Please also see ‘Where Can I Find Support for Mental Health & Wellbeing’ below.

Staff who have working arrangements should inform their line manager and HR in the usual way.

During term-time: You should inform us if you are unwell or unable to attend scheduled academic events (whether online or in person), just as you would in the usual way. Please keep the AA informed by emailing:



12. WHERE CAN I FIND SUPPORT FOR MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING?

We understand that this is a troubling and uncertain time. It is of the utmost importance that you look after yourself; not just in terms of your physical health but your mental wellbeing too.

Though the AA premises will be closed over the coming weeks, please remember that there are several sources of online support available to you. We’d like to draw your attention to the following services, websites and apps that you may find helpful:



AA’s Student Care Centre
The Student Care Centre continues to be open throughout this challenging period and opening hours have been extended to cover the Easter break. Until further notice, all appointments are taking place online rather than in person. If you would like to make an appointment, please email: aawellness@aaschool.ac.uk.

The Student Care Centre aims to support students and help you gain understanding and insight into any difficulties you may be experiencing, to develop emotional resilience and put into effect real change.

Opening hours:
Mondays: 10am-1pm & 2pm-5pm
Wednesdays: 10am-1pm & 2pm-5pm
Thursdays: 10am-1pm

The Centre offers free and confidential support, however it is not an emergency service. If you need to speak to someone immediately, you can find contact information at the bottom of this section.



AA Community
We are building our AA Community in the form of various forums on Teams where you can reach out to students and staff in your city or region for support, tips or a just a chat.

You can join Teams using your AA email account: https://teams.microsoft.com/start



Office for Student Affairs
Remember, you can also email studentaffairs@aaschool.ac.uk for assistance. This inbox will be checked at regular intervals throughout the Easter break and can offer advice and support on practical matters, e.g. visas, housing, travel arrangements, etc.

Student Affairs can also arrange referrals for over the phone Consultant Psychotherapy sessions.



Supportive Resources
Below are listed some resources you may find helpful when thinking about any challenges that you may be facing and what you can do to address these. You may find some resources more helpful than others, as different resources suit different individuals and circumstances. Please note: the AA is not responsible for the content displayed on external links.



Online information, advice and support

  • The NHS has topic-specific Self Help Leaflets available as e-booklets, covering a range of topics related to mental health such as anxiety, depression, abuse and anger: https://web.ntw.nhs.uk/selfhelp/

Apps for meditation, mindfulness and wellbeing


Books recommended by the AA’s Student Care Centre

  • Finding Peace in a Frantic World* by Mark Williams & Danny Penman (available as audiobook, paperback & CD or ebook here)
  • The Happiness Trap* by Russ Harris (available as paperback or ebook here)
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn (available as audiobook or paperback)

*These are also available via the AA Library Catalogue


If you are feeling down or desperate and need to speak to someone immediately

If you are in the UK:

Samaritans
Call 116 123
Open 24 hours a day
https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men aged 15-35
Call: 0800 58 58 58
Open 5pm to midnight everyday
www.thecalmzone.net

Papyrus - for people under 35 years old
Call 0800 068 41 41
Text: 07860 039 967
Open: Mon-Fri 9am to 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm to 10pm.
https://papyrus-uk.org

If you are in an emergency situation, call 999.

If you are outside of the UK, you can find help here: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/



AA VISITING SCHOOL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

13. I HAVE PAID THE DEPOSIT/FULL FEE FOR DLAB/SUMMER SCHOOL/AA SESSIONS. WILL I BE ISSUED A REFUND IF THE PROGRAMME IS CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT COVID-19 SITUATION? Yes, the deposit/full fee will be refunded to you if the programme is cancelled. We are monitoring the situation closely and will be making updates that are publicly accessible. Please check this page for updates.

14. I HAVE PAID THE DEPOSIT FEE FOR A GLOBAL VISITING SCHOOL PROGRAMME. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE PROGRAMME IS POSTPONED BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT COVID-19 SITUATION?
If you have paid the £60 Visiting Membership deposit fee and your selected Visiting School programme is postponed until a later date you will have the following options: hold your place in the programme and attend during the new dates; transfer to another Visiting School programme; or discontinue your Visiting Membership and have the deposit fee refunded. Please note that your £60 Visiting Membership deposit lasts for one-year from the date of registration.

15. I HAVE PAID THE FULL FEE FOR A GLOBAL VISITING SCHOOL PROGRAMME. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE PROGRAMME IS POSTPONED BECAUSE OF THE CURRENT COVID-19 SITUATION?
If you have paid the full fee and your preferred Visiting School programme is postponed until a later date you will have the following options: retain your place in the programme and attend during the new dates; transfer to another Visiting School programme; or be offered a full refund.

16. I AM INTERESTED IN APPLYING TO ONE OF YOUR PART-TIME UK PROGRAMMES THIS SUMMER. DO YOU STILL INTEND ON HOLDING THEM?
With the first of our UK programmes taking place towards the end of June, we remain hopeful that the programmes will take place during their scheduled dates. We are monitoring the situation closely and will be making further announcements on the AA website. Please check this page for updates.

17. I AM INTERESTED IN APPLYING TO ONE OF YOUR GLOBAL VISITING SCHOOL PROGRAMMES THIS SUMMER. DO YOU STILL INTEND ON HOLDING THEM?
We are constantly monitoring the global impact of the COVID-19 situation. We still hope to run our global programmes during their scheduled dates. If you are interested in participating, we would suggest paying the minimal £60 Visiting Membership deposit, which lasts for one year. This will guarantee your place in the programme.

18. WHERE CAN I FIND UPDATES ON ALL AA VISITING SCHOOL PROGRAMMES?
Further updates on all of our programmes will be available and regularly updated on our AAVS homepage. Please stay in touch via our social media pages: FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and sign up to our AAVS Newsletter that can be found at the AAVS webpage on the right-hand column found here

Date Submitted: 3/3/2020

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THE AA RECEIVES THE POWER TO AWARD ITS OWN DEGREES

The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.

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