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Information regarding Coronavirus COVID-19

Last revised: October 21, 2020

Important Announcement regarding all Winter Programming at the BISC

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we have taken the difficult decision not to run an in-person experience at the BISC this coming Winter Term.   Health and safety is paramount, and conditions are now such that any in-person experience students would have this Winter at the Castle simply would not be at the standard that either they or we would expect.  The Fall Term has been off to a strong and successful start, and so we will continue in January in an online format.  We will continue to provide the excellent academic and student service programming that BISC students have come to expect in this remote environment.

We know that this will be a very disappointing outcome for everyone.  We commend all our students for their hard work and resilience to date, and appreciate all their support and patience during these difficult times.

If you have questions, please see our FAQ section below, or contact your academic counsellor or course instructor as appropriate.

FAQs - Winter Programming for 2021 during Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

There are a number of reasons.  The health and safety of our students is paramount.  Universities in the UK are facing significant challenges in managing health and safety on campus as a result of COVID-19. Currently, there are significant limitations on flight availability and insurance that will increase costs to students.  Once in the UK, students would have significant limitations on their movement off campus, and faculty may not be able to access campus at times.

Therefore, the BISC leadership team, with the concurrence of the Principal, believe that there are considerable risks in having students come to the Castle in January.  While we may be able to manage risks to students’ health and safety, the experience they would have this Winter at the Castle simply would not be at the standard that any of us would expect.  Many students have chosen the Castle for its intimate class size, the possibility of travel, and the ability to study in an international setting.  We have heard students’ aspirations and their concerns about coming to the Castle, and we believe that under the current conditions, the best way we can serve students is to continue in our online and remote format for the remainder of the school year.  A similar conclusion has already been reached for students on the main Queen’s campus.

If you are already registered for courses in the Winter Term, you do not need to take any further action.  We will continue all first year courses this Winter in an online or remote format.  If you want to change your course registrations, SOLUS will open on November 9, at which point you can make changes.  We strongly recommend that you speak with an academic advisor before making any course changes.

If you are registered as an upper year BISC student in the Winter Term, or if you had been registered and subsequently chose to move your registration back to main campus, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. should have already contacted you to provide detailed instructions on your next steps.

The tuition fee will be the same as in the Fall Term (i.e. reduced from what you would normally pay).  Please see the the Faculty of Arts and Science tuition fee rates for details.

Our BISC 101 and all upper year courses will now be open in a remote format to all students at Queen’s.  We have a wide range of course options available.    Details may be found on the BISC website. Registration on SOLUS will open on November 9.  Register early, as spaces are limited!

Our online course offerings and BISC Online+ student service offerings will continue into the Winter Term.  Based on student and instructor feedback, our year is off to a great start, albeit under difficult circumstances.  We hope you are enjoying your courses so far, but there is always room for improvement.  We have been listening:  through our recent student town hall, through our academic advisors and counsellors, and from individual student feedback.  There is always room for improvement though, and with your help and feedback, we hope to make continuous improvement as we move along in the year, and continue to provide the academic and student service programming that you have come to expect.

BISC offers many upper year course options for students, both during the Fall and Winter terms, and during the summer.  You may want to review our web pages to see what options are available.  All BISC class of 2024 students will be given registration priority should they choose to come for an in-person experience at the Castle in future years.

There can be little doubt that there will be some tricky times ahead. The future though remains bright, despite the challenges of our immediate situation. As part of his Report on the Conversation with the Queen’s Community, Principal Patrick Deane reiterated recently that he hopes to see the BISC thriving on its own terms and fully integrated into his pan-university strategy for internationalization at Queen’s. We shall continue to prepare for the eventual re-opening of campus and the implementation of many exciting new teaching and research opportunities.

Information regarding Coronavirus COVID-19

Staff policies for working during isolation

Revised versions of the following policies have now been placed on the website:

  • Working from home policy
  • Lone working policy
  • Lone working guidelines

All of our policies can be found in the public domain under the About Us section of this website (https://www.queensu.ca/bisc/about-us/policies). We regularly add new policies as and when they are written, revised and released. Please take a moment, should you have time, to familiarize yourself with our policies, and if you have any questions about specific policies, please do ask the responsible contact officer who is always listed at the end of each policy. Thank you.

A message from Patrick Deane

Dear Members of the BISC Community,

I am writing in the first instance to thank everyone at the Bader International Study Centre for rising so admirably to the challenge posed to the whole Castle community by the COVID-19 crisis. Although I have not been with you to experience first-hand the difficulties particular to your situation, I can understand very well the entirely reasonable anxieties you must all be feeling. It is ordinarily a challenge to be so remote from each other, but in these new circumstances there is an increased danger of feeling disconnected as well.

I want to tell you that Queen’s University remains fully committed to the success of the BISC. Indeed, despite current public health issues and their unfortunate consequences for programming in the summer and possibly enrolment levels in the fall, we will not cease to think ambitiously about what we hope to achieve at Herstmonceux. The BISC is an extraordinary asset for Queen’s and an integral part of the bold future I envision for our institution. That potential of the BISC is further fueled by the admirable and talented team of people we are privileged to have working there.

It may seem a cruel irony that, in the very month the COVID crisis took hold, Queen’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to forgive the debt owed by the BISC since 1994. Please see the latter decision for what it is: a vote of confidence in the future of the Castle, in the vision of the Baders, and in the work of the Castle community over the last twenty-six years. As I hope you all know, I am deeply committed to your success, and despite the challenges of our immediate situation, intend to see the BISC thriving on its own terms and also fully integrated into a pan-university strategy for internationalization at Queen’s.

To that end, Provost Mark Green and I have agreed that, effective immediately, primary strategic responsibility for the BISC will be transferred to the Principal. I will assume the Chair of the Board of the BISC and of HCE, and will work closely with all of you on future directions for the BISC and on your role in relation to our university’s long-term goals. The Provost’s Office will continue to provide operational guidance and support for the BISC.

I hope I can count on your continuing commitment and support. An opportunity is being arranged for us to talk about all of these issues by Zoom a week from today. Please do join the call. I am very eager to hear your thoughts. I also sent a note to our campus community in Kingston today. In it I asked the community to use this time to demonstrate the values without which our university could not succeed, even in the best of times: compassion, understanding, trust and selflessness. I ask the same of all of you, as together we will face the challenges that lie ahead, and I am confident we will not just survive this crisis but emerge better and stronger for the future.

Patrick Deane

Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen's University


Queen’s University and BISC administrators are actively monitoring reports on the evolving outbreak, originating in Wuhan, China, of Coronavirus COVID-19 that can cause acute upper respiratory illness and pneumonia. Protecting the health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty is a primary concern, and we are continuously assessing what may be required in response to any spread of the virus.

Latest Public Health updates

  • For health information on the coronavirus (COVID-19), including preventative measures, symptoms, and seeking medical assistance, visit the National Health Service (NHS) website.
  • For the latest information on the UK government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), including the number of cases, risk level, travel advisories, and more visit the government’s public health website.


The BISC has implemented a new protocol of more frequent cleaning and sanitizing, placing sanitizing stations in public areas and encouraging their frequent use. However, prevention remains the best defense and there are measures you can take to protect yourself. To help prevent all respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus COVID-19:

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm, not into your hand.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes with your hands.
  • Stay in your room or home when you are sick and avoid contact with other people until your symptoms are gone.
  • Clean objects and surfaces that a lot of people touch, such as doorknobs, phones, and television remotes.
  • Get your influenza vaccine.
  • Eat healthy foods and stay physically active to keep your immune system strong.
  • Get plenty of rest or sleep.
  • If you suspect you are sick, avoid visiting people in long term care, or individuals with health concerns.


Many symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19 are similar to seasonal influenza. If you are experiencing:

Fever, cough, difficulty breathing…

  • AND have travelled to an affected area in the 14 days before the start of illness
  • OR have had close contact with a person with an acute respiratory illness who has been to an affected area within 14 days prior to the onset of their illness
  • OR have had close contact with a case of Coronavirus COVID-19

Please do the following:

  • Immediately self-isolate and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can get you prompt medical advice and support and assist if self-isolation is required.


Queen’s University is suspending all university-sponsored travel outside of England for the duration of the term. Due to the evolving situation across Europe, and under an abundance of caution, the university feels it is prudent to limit travel and ensure that students, staff, and faculty do not find themselves unable to return to BISC should they have visited affected areas. We will be monitoring the situation carefully and will inform the community if any further restrictions are to be imposed.

Queen’s cautions all members of the BISC community to think carefully about any personal travel outside of England. Travel at this time carries risks and the situation with the virus changes daily

BISC community members with questions or concerns can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Back to Winter FAQs at top of page.

Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
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