UCL's planning and response

Information on UCL's planning and response during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Visit the Government and NHS websites and download the NHS COVID-19 App for the most up to date information about what to do if you feel unwell and what you can do to avoid spreading the virus.

Report a case of coronavirus

Please let us know if you, a student, or a member of your team has symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus.

Report a case of coronavirus

Leadership and communications

What is UCL doing to plan and keep people informed during the current coronavirus outbreak?

To ensure that UCL continued to function smoothly during the initial stages of the pandemic, we implemented a crisis structure to enable informed decision-making at speed.

In March 2020, the Gold / Silver / Bronze (GSB) structure allowed us to close down the campus effectively, and to undertake a huge amount of co-ordinated planning work for a delivery model in 2020-21 that, of necessity, looks very different to our normal way of working. We are now clear about how we want to deliver teaching and run the campus next year.

On 8 June, we moved away from the GSB structure towards a more streamlined implementation framework focusing on translating our planning into practice. The focus of this new structure continued to be set by the Provost and was supported by a Crisis Leadership Team. You can read more about this approach and the structure.

From 28 September 2020, as the campus was reopened and students and staff began to return to UCL, the Provost took the decision to revert to our normal ways of working. The crisis structure has now been stood down and the Senior Management Team is continuing to function as an advisory body for the Provost. Details of the senior leadership team can be found here.

The senior leadership team continues to be supported by delivery groups including the Education and Operations Delivery Group (EODG) and the Research and External Engagement Delivery Group (REED), as well as the Public Health Advisory Panel (PHAP). Details of these groups can be found here.

The formal university governance structure has operated throughout the pandemic, with meetings of Academic Board and Council taking place online, and decisions about education delivery ratified by Academic Committee.

We are keeping our coronavirus webpages up-to-date with the latest advice from Public Health England, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS, and adding answers to frequently asked questions as and when they arise.

I’m a member of UCL staff. Should I send out my own communications about coronavirus, or update my local web pages with information?

Please direct people to the central information and frequently asked questions on these pages (www.ucl.ac.uk/coronavirus).

What is UCL doing to maintain its leading research position during the pandemic?

UCL’s leading research position is based on the excellence of our researchers; our radical tradition of commitment to innovation, accessibility and relevance; and our commitment to harnessing the value of our research to advance and enrich society.

We celebrate the many contributions made by our brilliant, creative and dedicated researchers in response to the current pandemic. By applying the depth and breadth of our cross-disciplinary research and expertise we are helping humanity recover from COVID-19 and working to make the world more resilient and equitable in the future. Please see the new record of COVID-19-related research outputs for more details. 

We recognise however, that the pandemic has presented intense challenges to researchers’ ability to continue their work, and that it has had unequal impact on different groups within our research community. We are taking, and continue to take, steps to address these challenges. Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research), has written recently to the research community about:

The UCL Research Strategy sets out our institutional aims, irrespective of geopolitical events: to inspire and empower research leadership; to cross boundaries to increase engagement; and to deliver impact for public benefit. We are committed to supporting our researchers – and our professional services staff who facilitate research - to fulfil their potential in relation to these aims. This support includes, but is not limited to, the provision of support for grant applications, mechanisms to encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration and external engagement, advice on research impact and promotion of open science tools.

We will continue to listen to and inform the research community, since that is the best way to ensure that we sustain our leading research position. 

Buildings and logistics

Please see Keeping safe on campus for the current status of our campus and buildings. 

What should I tell students or colleagues who need to come to the Royal Free Hospital (where coronavirus patients are being treated) and who have concerns about personal safety? 

Coronavirus patients at the Royal Free Hospital are isolated from other patients and visitors. Please see the hospital's web site for visitor information. 

Read Royal Free London's coronavirus update

What are the arrangements for liquid helium and nitrogen delivery?

BOC Onsite is working as normal at present and UCL buyers should follow normal procedures. If you require anything outside the usual regular Cryogenic service, please email the Purchase Order to UCL@boc.com who will deliver within the usual time periods.

Estates need to be made aware of when and where deliveries will take place so that they can arrange access and security. They also require confirmation that the receiving person/team are in, are aware of the delivery, and are prepared to receive delivery as Estates can only facilitate delivery of gases.

Please email delivery information to the following addresses: logistics@ucl.ac.uk; i.porter@ucl.ac.uk; a.weston@ucl.ac.uk; s.shine@ucl.ac.uk; mb.west@ucl.ac.uk

If orders are placed but BOC cannot deliver, please escalate this to UCL Procurement.

What is happening with the construction projects taking place at UCL?

The UCL Estates team has been in discussion with the main contractors on each of the projects in the Transforming UCL capital programme.

For those projects that are in contract and on site, it is the contractor’s decision whether to pause or proceed with construction work. Those that choose to continue work must follow government social distancing guidelines, including the requirement for site workers to stay at least two metres apart. It is UCL’s decision whether to pause projects that are in contract but not on site, or those which are not yet in contract. 

Which construction projects have been paused?

As of 3 April, construction activity has been paused on 19 of the 25 projects that are under contract and on site. These include Marshgate at the new UCL East campus in Stratford, where the contractor Mace has decided to pause construction, and the early enabling works for the major refurbishment of 20 Bedford Way (UCL Institute of Education).

In addition, UCL decided to stop early enabling works and surveys as of 27 March on the site of the new neuroscience research facility at 256 Grays Inn Road. The contract for the main construction work on this project was yet to be signed. 
This is to protect the safety of all persons involved across UCL and our supply chains, conform to government advice and ultimately mitigate UCL’s financial exposure. Activities that can continue remotely are ongoing, including design development and procurement.

Clearly, pausing activity will have an impact on the planned construction programme for these 19 projects. Until there is more certainty about the length of the lockdown in the UK it isn’t possible to confirm updated programmes. UCL Estates will work closely with the relevant departments to keep them updated of any further changes to construction activity and to notify other stakeholders. However, preparations for teaching and learning activity in these locations should continue as planned. 

Work has also been paused on all smaller improvement works and maintenance projects across campus, with the exception of projects that are currently in scoping or design stages.

Vinci and Volker FitzPatrick, the contractors on the Pool Street West development at UCL East and the new Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory in Dagenham respectively have decided to continue work in line with government guidelines to ensure the health and wellbeing of workers.