UCL Human Resources


Face Covering Guidance

Guidance for staff, students and visitors on wearing face coverings on the UCL campus.



1. In line with the government’s guidance, UCL no longer requires or expects its students, staff and visitors to wear a face covering.

2. However, there are circumstances where it may be of benefit to someone to wear a face covering, or it may be required as part of their work in clinical settings. For example, NHS staff and students are still required to wear a face mask.  

3. Staff, students and visitors are asked to be respectful and supportive of those who wish or need to wear one.

When you should consider wearing a face covering

4. Public health advice recommends that you wear a face covering in the following circumstances:

  • If you leave your home while you have symptoms of a respiratory infection
  • In your home in shared areas while you have symptoms of a respiratory infection
  • When you are coming into close contact with someone at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19 or other respiratory infections
  • When COVID-19 rates are high and you will be in close contact with other people, such as in crowded and enclosed spaces
  • When there are a lot of respiratory viruses circulating, such as in winter, and you will be in close contact with other people in crowded and enclosed spaces

What makes a good face covering

5. Face coverings work best if they are made with multiple layers (at least 2 and preferably 3) and form a good fit around the nose and mouth. A wire nose bridge can improve the fit and may also help to prevent glasses from fogging. Scarves, bandanas or religious garments are likely to be less effective if they do not fit securely around the mouth and nose, and are of a single layer.

6. Reusable face coverings should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged. Single-use disposable masks should not be washed or reused and should be disposed of responsibly.

How to use a face covering properly

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm running water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it.
  • When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly.
  • Change and wash your face covering daily.
  • If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in general waste. Do not litter or drop used coverings outside bins.
  • If you take a covering off for use later, store it safely in a sealable plastic bag, such as those used for toiletries in airports. Do not leave on or in shared areas.

For further information see:

People with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19

Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19

COVID-19: guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk

Updated May 2022