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UCL Faculty of Laws coronavirus update

Last updated 19 May 2021

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We are aware that many of our community are understandably anxious about the ongoing virus and about what is likely to happen over the coming weeks and months. UCL and the Faculty are working very hard on a range of measures to mitigate against the crisis, and to respond as best as possible.

UCL is in regular contact with Public Health England and it is our policy to follow their advice, together with guidance from the NHS and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. We are also supporting UCL staff and students who are abroad in affected areas. 

This page will be regularly kept up to date with any new announcements relating to this crisis as they become available. 

Plans for September 2021

We are monitoring the situation and working on our plans for the academic year 21/22 in the light of government guidance. We aim to share a further update by 1 July 2021.

UCL is planning for our campus to be open to all students for the start of the new academic year in September 2021. You will have a blend of face-to-face and online teaching and learning, designed to support you to progress and succeed academically.  Our 'blended by design' approach responds to the feedback of our students and builds on the continuous refinement of our online education this year.

We expect the majority of students to come to campus for face-to-face teaching (unless you will be on a distance-learning programme). On campus, your programme teams will prioritise interactive face-to-face teaching, such as seminars and workshops.

Within your programme, some modules will blend online and on campus teaching, some will be mostly online and others completely online if all learning outcomes can be met this way. Online, you will be learning through a mix of interactive sessions in real time and engaging digital learning activities and lecture recordings that you can work through at your own pace and that support the teaching and learning on campus.

Some students will not be able to join us in London at the start of the year, because of continuing coronavirus travel restrictions in some countries. If this affects you, we will support you as best we can to commence your studies online for a short period of time until you are able to join us in person. These support arrangements will vary across departments and some programmes will be able to support students who cannot travel to London for most or all of Term One. However, in most cases you will miss some or all your teaching if you do not attend classes on campus.  If coronavirus restrictions delay your arrival in the UK and you cannot attend campus at the start of term, you should consult your department’s website for guidance. In some cases you may be able to catch up, in others it may be better to interrupt or defer your studies to 2022-23.

The amount of face-to-face teaching will vary from programme to programme and depends on the discipline and the stage you are at in your studies. Some disciplines traditionally expect students to spend a significant part of their programmes studying and researching independently outside the classroom, with fewer face-to-face classes. These disciplines will prioritise interactive teaching activities like tutorials and seminars on campus to support your independent studies.

Our students have told us very clearly how much they value in-person interaction with fellow students and the experience of an environment that is alive with research and academic scholarship. This happens both in and outside your academic programme, and you will have many opportunities for informal learning, networking and connecting with your fellow students, online and on campus.  Our libraries offer digital and physical materials for independent study and analysis, and developing your skills as an active researcher.  

If you are an international student coming to London we recommend that you read the pre-arrival information on the UCL website, in addition to the main UCL Coronavirus website.

Returning to campus from May 2021

At UCL, your health and wellbeing are paramount. 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. 

Recent updates: 

  • Bentham House will reopen to all students from Monday 24 May. Whilst there is no face-to-face teaching planned for the remainder of this academic year, we recognise that being able to reconnect with fellow students on your course or within the Faculty is important, and we wish to support the Laws community by reopening Bentham House as soon as we can to provide social and study spaces for our students. Please read the Guide to using Bentham House safely, and we ask that each person take responsibility for following these guidelines to keep each other safe.    
  • Many UCL facilities are open for students, including study spaces, library services and limited catering outlets - see What’s open on campus.  The main buildings on campus are open and you will need your student ID to get in and out.  If you are coming to campus for the first time, please make a booking to collect your student ID card: UCL ID Card Collection (office365.com). Find out what’s going on across UCL with UCL Events and Activities, a new resource open exclusively to UCL students.
  • It’s important that we all continue to protect each other by following the safety measures: washing hands frequently, wearing face-coverings around others and staying at least 2 metres apart. Please visit our keeping safe on campus webpages for more information about how you can make a difference and remember to follow the UCL Community Commitment to Protect Each Other.

Coronavirus testing

If you’re travelling to London because of your return to campus, please get a test before you travel where community testing is available. UCL is running a free testing service onsite and once in London you should be tested twice in your first week – on arrival and again three days later. After that, you are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 twice a week. This will help reduce the spread of infection and protect our community, especially those who may become seriously ill if they catch the virus. 

Face coverings

UCL’s face coverings policy has been updated to highlight the importance of wearing face coverings as part of a range of safety measures to ensure that staff and students are as safe as possible on campus:

UCL’s guidance for those on campus is: 

  • If you can wear a face covering, then you are expected to do so. This applies when you’re on campus, both inside buildings and when moving around campus on UCL owned outdoor space; in offices, labs and teaching spaces. 
  • Face coverings must be worn by all staff, students and visitors if coming within two metres of someone else.  
  • Everyone should aim to provide their own covering for general purposes. UCL will ensure that face coverings are available on campus to purchase. Wearing a face covering is new for all of us and we will need to work together to remind each other and our students when we forget and also gently point out our policy to visitors.
  • If you can wear a face covering during classroom teaching then you are expected to do so. 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. These are being procured centrally and will be distributed to all departments by the Estates team.
  • Where identified as a mandatory requirement for particular roles through risk assessment, UCL will provide face coverings or masks to staff.
  • It is understood that wearing face coverings all day can be uncomfortable and therefore if you are alone in a room, or outside and with plenty of space, we encourage you to take breaks from wearing your face covering. Please contact your line manager if you have concerns. 

For more information about face coverings, please visit the Keeping Safe on Campus webpages.

If individuals have concerns, they should contact their department, line manager, Workplace Health or Student Support and Wellbeing.

If you feel unwell

The most up to date guidance for staff and students on what to do if you have symptoms or have tested positive for Coronavirus is available on the UCL website.

Student Support 

Full support is available from UCL Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) in the form of same-day appointments with the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing (DMHW) team, counselling with Student Psychological and Counselling Services (SPCS), and self-help resources across the SSW website. Students can also contact askUCL and Student Enquiries Centre. For students who plan to return to halls of residence, the UCL Accommodation website has information about all the support services available.  

Events

The UCL Laws event programme reflects the diversity of teaching and research offered by the Faculty, with a regular selection of lively seminars, lectures debates and conferences throughout the year.

All UCL Laws events are now being held online due to Government social distancing advice. For the full programme and registration information visit the UCL Laws Events schedule.

If you have booked a place at an upcoming UCL Laws event you should have received an email from our organising team confirming the online event details.

If you have any further questions please do contact them – laws-events@ucl.ac.uk. Any further updates to our events schedule will be posted on the Events section of the UCL Laws website and Faculty Twitter account.

Contacting UCL Laws

All UCL Faculty of Laws staff have been working from home since mid-March 2020.

All staff will be contactable via their UCL email addresses which can be found on the People section of the UCL Laws website. Phone lines and voicemails may not be monitored at this time so we strongly advise contacting staff members solely via email. 

Current students:
If you are a current student with questions or concerns we advise contacting the relevant programme teams:

Prospective students:
You should always quote your UCL Application ID number in any correspondence relating to your application. Unfortunately, the UCL Laws teaching and programme teams do not accept drop-in visitors.

Further information

Further advice for UCL staff and students is available on the UCL website, it is regularly updated with the latest information.

Our thoughts are with all of the UCL Laws community and their loved ones during this difficult and worrying time, may they all stay well and healthy.

Professor Piet Eeckhout
Dean of UCL Faculty of Laws