Social distancing

2-metre social distancing should be used across all UCL buildings where possible.

Social distancing at 2 metres

In light of the increase in coronavirus cases at the beginning of 2021 and the tightening of Government restrictions, UCL is now mandating 2-metre social distancing as our default position in all settings, having previously provided some flexibility for critical lab-based activity if accompanied by a risk assessment.

For teaching spaces, this means: 

  • Standard teaching spaces will be set up to ensure 2 metre spacing between students and staff 
  • The capacity of rooms will be reduced in line with our approach to social distancing
  • Specialist teaching spaces such as labs and studios will be set up on a case-by-case basis following a thorough risk assessment 

For most other spaces, the 2 metre guidance also applies. There are some exceptions where the rule can be relaxed to 1 metre plus, including:  

  • Circulation spaces like hallways, cloisters and outdoor areas 
  • Spaces where face coverings are required and the durations of contact are very short 

All line managers responsible for activity which is continuing on campus must review and update their local risk assessments. You can find UCL’s generic institutional assessments here and adapt these for your specific requirements.

If you need to work closer than 2 metres for any period (for example, during practical work in dentistry), you must ensure this decision has been approved by your Head of Department, that the work cannot be carried out in any other way, and that risk assessments are up to date with appropriate additional control measures in place.

Please follow this guide for full details: 

Type of SpaceDistanceFace covering Duration
Teaching studios2mExpectedUp to 8 hours
Open plan offices2mExpectedUp to 8 hours
Library and study spaces2mExpectedUp to 8 hours
Teaching spaces2mExpected90 mins
Academic offices (for small meetings/tutorials)2mExpectedUp to 60 mins
Food and retail (protective screens in use)2mRisk assessedUp to 60 mins
Reception spaces2mRequiredShort
General circulation space (one-way system in place)1m+RequiredVery short
Student accommodation circulation space (one-way system in place)1m+RequiredVery short
Research LabsRisk assessed with 2m as defaultRisk assessedUp to 8 hours
Teaching labsRisk assessed with 2m as defaultRisk assessed90 mins