Information for UCL Staff

Information, advice and support for UCL staff about returning to campus following the coronavirus outbreak.

With thanks to the Estates Operations team and colleagues across UCL, all buildings on campus are now open, on schedule and in time ahead of the 2020/21 academic year. This marks a significant point in our return to onsite activity and will ensure that we are best placed to welcome back our staff and students.

We still expect most staff and students to work and study remotely where possible, with around 25% of staff back on site at any one time, working in a safe and socially distanced way. Find out more about when to return to campus.

Please see below for our FAQs about joining us on campus in 2020/21. For more general information about the pandemic and UCL’s response, please visit the coronavirus information hub. These pages are updated regularly, but please also check the UK Government website for the latest official advice.

How UCL is keeping you safe

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How you can stay safe on campus

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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

Key information and support

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Returning to work on campus

Most staff are continuing to work  remotely, with around 25% of staff back on site at any one time, working in a safe and socially distanced way

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Keeping our community safe

Our priority at all times is to make sure our campus is as safe as possible, minimise the risk to everyone onsite, and follow UK official guidance.

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Resources for managers

Documents and resources for managers at UCL, to make sure your staff and your buildings are ready to reopen as safely as possible.

Returning to campus FAQs

What should I do if I become unwell or am contacted by NHS Test and Trace while on campus?

If you feel unwell with coronavirus symptoms while on campus, you must travel to your place of residence as quickly as possible, in line with Government advice. If feasible you should walk or cycle and avoid public transport. Whatever the mode of transport, you must wear a face covering, avoid touching your face, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching anything during your journey whilst remaining safe. 

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

Should I wear a face covering on campus?

Face coverings are strongly encouraged when you’re on campus, both inside buildings and when moving around campus. This includes in offices, labs and teaching spaces. They must be worn by all staff, students and visitors if coming within two metres of another person. 

Where identified as a mandatory requirement for particular roles through risk assessment, UCL will provide face coverings or masks to staff as appropriate, but everyone should aim to provide their own covering for general purposes. Face coverings should be worn during classroom teaching and UCL will provide coverings with clear panels to staff to support this and other activities where not being able to see the mouth will inhibit the ability to communicate.

Visit our Keeping our community safe page for more information about face coverings on campus, and our resources for managers page for our full face coverings and protective equipment policy

I’m a manager, how can I make sure my team and my department are ready to return to campus?

It’s clear that the challenge of returning to on-site activity requires a lot of leadership from local teams, who understand best how their working environment operates, with a central framework in place to support that leadership. Please see our resources for managers page where you will find guidance and checklists to help you make sure your staff and your buildings are safe and staff are ready to return as safely as possible.

Our priority is the health and wellbeing of your team and ensuring that campus is as safe as possible for those returning. Please direct all staff to the keeping our community safe page of this site where they can see what measures UCL has put in place to keep them safe, as well as how they can make a difference.

Can I invite visitors to campus?

Before inviting visitors onto campus, please consider whether their visit is absolutely essential and, if so, ensure that they are aware of UCL’s regulations on social distancing, one-way restrictions and the use of face coverings. 
Visitors must confirm by email to their host that they do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, and neither they nor anyone in their household is required to self-isolate in line with Government guidelines. They will also be asked to supply their contact details and the areas of campus they are visiting. We will use this information to make sure campus is as safe as possible and respond to any potential cases of COVID-19 should they occur.

Read UCL’s new policy for visitors to UCL during the pandemic on our Resources for Managers page.

When I come back to campus, will agile working still be in place? Can I be sure there will be a space for me? 

We're suspending agile working for now and staff should sit at places spaced apart to meet social distancing requirements. Signs will be placed on desks so it's clear which ones can be used.

Your manager will discuss plans for coming back to campus with you and make sure that a risk assessment is carried out, so you can be sure that there is space for you and that you will have all of the information you need to return. 

What facilities and services will be available? 

Before each site opens, your Head of Department and the local leadership team will work with Estates teams to prepare the building and will speak to you about what this means for you, including details about the facilities and services that will be available. 


On-site catering outlets are currently closed and you are encouraged to bring your own food and refreshments with them to campus, as well as utensils, cutlery and crockery where possible. As each department re-opens, they should provide information on kitchen services available within their buildings. If you need access to a fridge or need to eat at specific times for medical reasons, please discuss this with your department return to work lead.  


Lifts will be in operation, but capacity will be limited. If you are able to, please use the stairs so that the lifts are free for people who need them, for example for access purposes or to move heavy loads. If you find it difficult or can’t use the stairs, please use the lifts


Where toilets have multiple cubicles in the same room, the room is restricted to use by one person at a time only. If you’re not able to wait to use a toilet, you may wish to collect a sunflower lanyard from either security operations or from the student support reception desk (or use one that you already have) to indicate that you need to be moved to the front of the toilet queue.  

Will there be security on campus?

Yes. However, there will be fewer security staff on campus than usual, so as always, when travelling between buildings staff should be aware of their surroundings, avoiding distractions such as mobile phones or headphones and be vigilant about valuables.

Will I need to bring my ID card?

Yes. Please ensure you bring your ID card when working on campus and sign-in or tap in with your ID card when you arrive.

For staff not yet returning to campus

I’m finding it difficult to work remotely. Can I book a study space on campus?

We know some of you will find it difficult to work from home as effectively as you would wish and this is understood. Please speak to your line manager if this applies to you, but be assured that you will not be penalised in any way. For more information please see HR’s policies and guidance to support you during the outbreak of coronavirus.

There are a small number of bookable study spaces available for staff and research students who are unable to work from home. Please note that places are very limited, and available only to those who cannot work remotely in line with Government guidance.

Spaces in the Student Centre are now fully booked until 13 September. Spaces in the Science Library are now available and further locations will be added to the booking system over the coming weeks. 

Visit the UCL Library website for more information about how to book a space.

I’ve not been contacted about returning to campus. Can I come back to campus to collect some belongings / equipment / work materials?

You can collect personal belongings from campus on a pre-arranged, rota basis.

Buildings will be opened up on set dates and times, either in the morning (10am–1pm) or the afternoon (2pm–5pm) on specific days. 

Find out more about collecting your belongings from campus.

I have an underlying health condition. When should I return to campus?

Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people with underlying health conditions, the risk is higher. Please see the NHS website for more information about who could be at higher risk. Please remember that this list may not include everyone who's at higher risk and may change as we learn more about the virus. 

Your line manager will work with you to understand your individual circumstances and agree when it’s right for you to come back to campus. Please see our returning to work on campus page for more information about when you should return.

For parents and carers of children who use the UCL Day Nursery

Will I be able to use the UCL Day Nursery?

The UCL Day Nursery has been open throughout the lockdown period and has provided a vital service to a very small number of parents who are key workers and have continued to work on campus supporting UCL's work to tackle the pandemic. The Day Nursery will remain open and we are following national guidance, but the situation is especially complex, as we need to think carefully about how we introduce these new safety measures in a childcare setting, in line with Government guidance. 

While the service will likely need to run at a reduced capacity for the foreseeable future, as more staff return to campus the demand for children to return to Nursery will increase, and every effort will be made to meet this demand while ensuring the safety of both children and staff.

My child is unwell and attends the UCL Day Nursery. What should I do?

If a child becomes unwell while at nursery, they will be moved into a room separated from the other children. Staff will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) whilst caring for them until they can be collected.

If a child or staff member tests positive for coronavirus, the rest of their class or group within their childcare setting will be asked to go home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.

If your child attends the nursery and you have any questions, please get in touch with the team directly.

Additional queries

If you have a specific question about your individual circumstances, please speak to your line manager in the first instance.

If you have a more general question, please check that it has not already been answered above or on our coronavirus information hub. If it hasn’t, members of UCL staff can submit a question about keeping safe on campus via our online form or alternatively you can email covidhelpline@ucl.ac.uk. If you would like to speak to someone on the phone, please call our helpline on 0203 108 5699. Lines are open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.