Advice for staff and students who may have concerns about the outbreak of coronavirus
30 March 2020
UCL is working hard to support our students and staff during this difficult and unsettling time. Please refer to this page for accurate and updated advice as it becomes available.
Read the answers to frequently asked questions on this page, including UCL's response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, what to do if you feel unwell, planning and changes to teaching and assessments this academic year.
Thank you for your continued hard work, patience and understanding. We are very proud of the way in which our community continues to support each other in these challenging and unprecedented circumstances.
This page is updated regularly, but please check the Public Health England website for the latest official advice as the situation is changing rapidly. Read the answers to frequently asked questions below.
- On 13 March, UCL suspended face-to-face teaching for the rest of the academic year and all assessments scheduled to happen in exam halls will be replaced by online alternatives. Please see this update for more details.
- On 17 March, UCL announced that most university buildings will be closed by Friday 20 March and students are strongly advised to return home wherever possible. More information is available in this update. All UCL-managed student accommodation will remain open as usual throughout the year.
- From the end of Friday, 20 March, the only research that will take place in our buildings will be in the immediate national interest, for example, work on coronavirus. All other research will be undertaken remotely from now on where possible.
- As of 23 March, the Student Centre is now closed and Bidborough House has limited access for staff.
1. About coronavirus and what to do if you feel unwell
2. Taking precautions
3. Travel, including travel to and from affected areas
4. Support for students
5. Support for staff
6. UCL's planning and response
8. Advice for prospective students
9. Advice for schools
10. Further questions
- What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The most common symptoms include:
- a new continuous cough, and/or
- a high temperature
Please see the NHS website for more information.
- I suspect that I may have coronavirus. What should I do?
If you feel unwell and think that you may have the virus, please follow the most up up-to-date Government advice on what steps to take if you need to self-isolate.
If you are UCL staff or a contractor and suspect you may have coronavirus, please tell your line manager by email or phone. You should also complete the Workplace Health form.
If you are a student, please also notify UCL by emailing email@example.com.
The NHS has comprehensive information on their website about what to do if you think you may have the virus, precautionary measures, and self-isolation procedures. Please continue to check the Public Health England website for the latest official advice. You can also contact the Department for Health helpline on 0800 046 8687 (8 am-6 pm, Monday-Friday).
- I’m a member of staff and one of my students or a member of my team has told me they have coronavirus. What should I do?
If one of your students or a member of your team tells you they have the virus, you should follow these steps.
For students and staff:
- Contact the affected individual and ask them:
- how they are feeling
- if they need anything
- if they have any pre-existing health conditions (if they are happy to share this information)
- when they were last on campus / at work
- if they live in UCL accommodation
- Direct them to follow the guidelines from Public Health England and the NHS guidelines on UCL’s main coronavirus webpage.
- Share a local department contact who they can contact with any questions.
- Contact Media Relations on +44 (0)20 7679 9041 (Internal: 09041) if you receive any media enquiries. UCL will not mention individual cases in any local or national communications.
Cases where students are affected:
6. Report the case via the Student of Concern online form.
7. Provide them with the departmental contact for extenuating circumstances who will consider an extension or defer deadlines.
8. Contact the UCL Accommodation office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm whether they live in UCL accommodation, if any buildings need to be closed or if any additional cleaning should be arranged.
9. Direct them to the Student Support & Wellbeing resources and Care First, UCL’s evening and weekend telephone and online counselling service. Students living in UCL accommodation can also get 24/7 support by contacting the hall of residence Duty Mobile to speak with the Residence team or Student Residence Advisers.
Cases where staff are affected
10. Report the case via the Workplace Health online form.
11. Direct them to the free counselling available via the Employee Assistance Programme, Care First. These services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Staff can telephone 0800 197 4510 to speak to an independent professional counsellor or information specialist in confidence.
Please note that it is UCL’s policy not to release any identifying details about individual cases – such as names, faculty/department, place of accommodation or place of work – out of respect for their privacy and to comply with our duty under data protection law.
- Contact the affected individual and ask them:
- What precautionary measures can help stop the spread of the virus?
Please refer to the government’s advice on what you need to do to help stop the spread of the virus.
Please also look at section 2, "Taking precautions", below.
- Does the new coronavirus affect people of all ages? Are certain groups more vulnerable than other?
People of all ages can get coronavirus. Certain groups (someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system) are more likely to become severely ill with the virus. Please see the guidance on the Government website for more information on more vulnerable groups.
People of all ages should follow the government’s advice on what you need to do to help stop the spread of the virus.
As of 23 March, in line with new Government guidelines, you must now:
- only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
- stay 2 metres away from other people
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
Please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus for more guidance on staying at home and away from other people.
- I'm not in one of the more "at risk" groups. Do I need to follow Government advice, or can I take it less seriously?
No. The Government guidelines apply to everyone, and everyone should follow them regardless of their age or whether or not they are more at risk from the infection. The guidelines are designed to stop the spread of the virus – this includes passing the virus on to those who are more vulnerable. Please be considerate.
- Should I wear a protective face mask?
Advice from the NHS and Public Health England states that following hygiene precautions such as thoroughly washing hands with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue if you cough or sneeze, and keeping surfaces clean, are the best ways to avoid catching or spreading the virus. There is little evidence that masks are effective in preventing the spread of the virus.
However, we know that some people may choose to wear face masks to protect themselves and others from possible infection. It is important that we recognise their decision and we encourage our community to be as supportive of each other as possible.
- Why is the advice to wash hands with soap and water, rather than hand sanitiser?
- What is UCL's guidance on international travel?
As countries respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is advising British nationals against all but essential international travel. Please see their website for more details.
Students and staff should not travel internationally on UCL business until 1 May 2020. Please therefore postpone or cancel all incoming external international visitors for seminars and conferences with immediate effect. Please consider whether planned international collaborative activity could instead be conducted virtually (e.g. via Microsoft Teams).
Please review the details of your booking and insurance policy with regards to any potential insurance claims for cancelled trips.
- I’m currently in a country outside the UK – what should I do?
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is strongly advising UK nationals who are travelling abroad to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving. Please check the FCO website for the latest advice for the area you are in.
UCL staff and students should contact UCL’s insurers Drum Cussac by calling (+44) (0) 208 608 4100 or emailing email@example.com for help returning to the UK
All Study Abroad students are being formally recalled. The Study Abroad team are in regular contact with students and are contacting them to ask them to return.
If you are worried about how this will affect your studies, please contact askUCL, the university’s student enquiry system.
- I’m a recipient of seed-funding, e.g. Global Engagement Funds or Grand Challenges funding that I was intending to use for international travel. Can I repurpose this funding or postpone my activity (and therefore funding) to the next academic year?
Please contact the administrator of the relevant funding scheme, who will provide guidance on your options.
i. What to do if you need to self-isolate
- I’m a student and I’m required to self-isolate. What should I do?
On 17 March, UCL announced that most university buildings will be closed by Friday 20 March and students are strongly advised to return home wherever possible. More information is available in this update. All UCL-managed student accommodation will remain open as usual throughout the year.
If you are remaining in UCL student accommodation, students who are self-isolating must ensure that they inform the Warden by calling the duty mobile at their residence.
If you need to self-quarantine and you want to talk to someone about practical issues like arranging food deliveries, please call the duty mobile for your residence for help organising this safely.
ii. Teaching, assessment and academic guidance
- How will my learning and assessment continue now that face to face teaching has been cancelled?
On Friday 13 March UCL suspended face-to-face teaching for the rest of the academic year and all in-person tests and assessments will either be removed or replaced with alternative forms of assessment.
Departments will contact you to outline new arrangements as soon as they have been confirmed, through their usual communication channels. Please see this update for more details.
Your teachers and professors are working hard to get this ready for you. Departments will contact you to outline the new arrangements you are expected to engage with, as soon as they have been confirmed.
Thank you for your patience while we put plans in place.
- Where can I get support with learning online?
These ‘Continuing to learn online’ webpages are available to provide some basic guidance around how to get started and learn effectively online as your tutors switch to teaching in a digital format.
The page also signposts you to the main services that can help you with accessing and using the university’s online tools.
- What Library support is available?
Please see our Library essentials for information on accessing electronic books, articles and databases, Library skills training, ReadingLists@UCL and research support. We continue to provide UCL students with access to more than 85,000 electronic journals, 700,000 e-books and more than 200 online databases, and we are working with a range of publishers to add even more resources daily. All are accessible through the Explore service. Library service news is posted on the Library Services website. Contact Library staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I am a first year undergraduate. What is happening to my assessments? [New]
With effect from 20 March 2020, the planned assessment of all first year undergraduate has been cancelled.
Instead, every first year undergraduate student will be required to undertake a single short reflective piece to consider your learning across all the modules you have studied this year. You must complete this assessment to a satisfactory standard in order to progress to your second year of study. This assessment will be pass/fail only. Your final degree classification will not include any first year marks.
Shortly, departments will be providing more information on programme-specific formats and requirements and information about how these will be marked and what feedback will be given. We will set a submission date in late June so you will have plenty of time to complete it.
In the meantime you should prepare for progression to year 2 and your assessment by reviewing the knowledge and understanding of your subject area and the skills you have built up through your first year of study.
We recognise that you have been working hard to prepare for your exams and assessments. Though you will not now be assessed as expected, the work you have done will give you a strong basis for success in the subsequent years of your programme.
- Have exams and assessments been cancelled?
Yes. Exams and assessments that had been scheduled to happen in person will not take place. This applies to all forms of assessment for which you would normally need to be physically on campus, including any in-class exams or tests organised by your department between now and the end of the academic year.
For the majority of students, your Faculties and Departments will replace these exams and tests with alternative assessments that you will be able to complete online.
The alternative assessments will depend on the type of course and modules you are studying. Please check the UCL website, Moodle and your UCL email frequently for updates.
Every first year undergraduate student will be required to undertake a single short reflective piece to consider learning across all the modules studied this year (see separate FAQ on first year assessments)
We strongly advise you to continue to prepare for your assessments by continuing with your studies and revision as normal.
We understand that this is an unsettling time and you will have many questions about this major change. If you are worried about your studies or you feel you need help managing these changes, please contact our student enquiry system askUCL.
- What if I cannot complete my assessment because of Covid-19 or other circumstances? Can I apply for extenuating circumstances?
Yes. If you think that you have symptoms of Covid-19, or you have been in close contact with someone with symptoms, please follow the guidance on self-isolation and do not visit your GP surgery.
If any illness or other circumstances (for example, professional obligations to frontline services, critical research, childcare or caring responsibilities) affect your ability to complete assessments, you can apply for Extenuating Circumstances to access extensions for coursework or deferrals for other forms of assessment.
You do not need to provide evidence; UCL is now accepting self-certification for all extenuating circumstances for the rest of this academic year.
Your Faculty will send you further details of the online form you can use to submit a self-certified claim.
More information on Extenuating Circumstances
- I am a student who is currently interrupting and I’m expecting to resume my studies shortly. What should I do?
You will be able to re-enrol on Portico without attending in person. Once you do so you will have full access to UCL’s on-line facilities. You will also be able to pay your fees on-line.
You will be able to enrol from the date you are due to resume your studies.
Please see the other FAQs on this page for more information about support with online learning and assessment.
If you need a visa to study at UCL we will allow you to re-enrol from outside the UK. Please note that you will need to apply for the correct visa to return to UK when you are able to do so, and you will need to provide evidence of this upon your return to UCL. If you require a Tier 4 visa in order to complete your studies, you will need to request our CAS number. Please refer to our guidance about CAS numbers.
- I’m a PhD student. Is there any advice about thesis submission, viva examinations or delays to research, submission or completion?
Yes. Please see the Doctoral School website for more information about this.
- How will these changes impact on my degree?
We understand that this is an unsettling time and you will have many questions about this major change. Be assured that we are working to support your progression and award appropriately, fairly and safely, while maintaining the academic standards that make UCL awards so respected and valued.
We are working with the relevant professional bodies to make sure that the assessment alternatives we offer meet their standards and requirements.
We will provide updates as soon as we can. In the meantime, please bear with us while we work through all of the challenges,
Your fellow students at most universities around the world are experiencing similar changes at short notice; UCL will be working with its global networks to ensure you will not be disadvantaged.
If you feel you need help managing these changes, you can also contact wellbeing, disability and mental health staff in the Student Support and Wellbeing service.
- I am due to graduate this Summer. Will my graduation go ahead? [New]
UCL has taken the decision to cancel all graduation ceremonies this year. This covers ceremonies in June, July and September 2020.
Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our students and their families and our staff, and this is not a decision we have taken lightly. As the coronavirus crisis continues, it’s become increasingly clear that cancelling graduation ceremonies is the only responsible course to take. For more information, please visit the Graduation website.
iii. Advice for students who want to return home
- I am returning home because of the coronavirus outbreak. What is UCL's policy on this?
On 17 March, UCL announced that most university buildings will be closed by Friday 20 March. All UCL-managed student accommodation will remain open as usual throughout the year, but all students are strongly advised to return home wherever possible. More information is available in this update.
On 13 March, UCL suspended face-to-face teaching for the rest of the academic year and all in-person tests and assessments will be replaced by alternative forms of assessment. Please see this update for more details.
For those students living in student accommodation who are returning home, please email email@example.com to notify UCL that you have left.
If you do not live in student accommodation, please notify askUCL.
If you are studying on a Tier 4 visa and returning home, you should complete the ‘Coronavirus Return Home’ notification form in the "Visas and Immigration" section.
- I am studying at UCL on a Tier 4 visa. How does the advice to return home and the move to remote teaching and assessment affect my visa status? What action do I need to take?
If you are returning home, you should complete the ‘Coronavirus Return Home’ notification form in the "Visas and Immigration" section of askUCL, our student enquiry system.
UKVI has confirmed that sponsors are permitted to teach Tier 4 students via distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis. We are therefore not required to report student absences if you are continuing to study remotely.
- If I go home because of the outbreak, will I be penalised for non-attendance at teaching events?
No. UCL has suspended the 70% attendance requirement and this applies to online teaching events as well.
On 13 March, UCL suspended face-to-face teaching for the rest of the academic year to be replaced by online alternatives. Departments will contact you to outline new arrangements as soon as they have been confirmed, through their usual communication channels. Please see this update for more details.
If you are returning home or have already left, it is important that you notify UCL, so that we can support you appropriately to continue your studies and (for Tier 4 students) for visa requirements.
- All UCL students returning home should complete the ‘Coronavirus - Return Home’ notification form in ask UCL, our student enquiry system.
- For students living in student accommodation who are returning home, please also email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify UCL that you have left.
- If I go home, can I sit my exams remotely?
Exams and assessments requiring students' physical presence on campus have now been cancelled and we are developing plans for alternative assessments that can be completed remotely. Any changes will depend on the type of course and modules you are studying. We will let you know more details as soon as we can, but please note that this may take several weeks. Thank you for your patience while we put plans in place. We strongly advise you to continue to prepare for your assessments by continuing with your studies and revision as normal.
Please check the UCL website, Moodle and your UCL email frequently for updates.
- If I go home because of the outbreak, will I have to pay accommodation fees in Term 3?
No – we have taken the decision not to charge accommodation fees for students who will not be living in UCL halls in Term 3. This applies to those residents who have already checked out from 13 March or are planning on checking out by 25 April. Please see this announcement from 20 March 2020 for more information.
- If I go home because of the outbreak, will I get a refund of tuition fees?
We are unable to refund tuition fees for students.
- I am on my Year Abroad. What should I do?
All Study Abroad students have been formally recalled. The Study Abroad team are in regular contact with those students they have asked to return home.
If you plan to leave, or have left, your Study Abroad host, please contact your UCL Study Abroad Tutor for advice.
UCL will do everything it can to support its students returning early from study abroad and seeking UCL accommodation.
iv. Further support for students
- I’m very worried, or I have experienced bullying or abuse related to coronavirus. Who can I talk to?
All students can access support quickly from Student Support & Wellbeing's team of advisers. To find out more and access support, please visit the Student Support and Wellbeing website, contact us through askUCL or call +44 (0)20 7679 0100.
Our team also works in partnership with Care First, an independent advice and counselling service, to provide students with telephone and online support in the evenings and during weekends, bank holidays and UCL closure periods.
UCL does not tolerate abuse of any kind within our community. Please report this directly to the police. If you are a UCL student or member of staff, you can also use our online Report + Support tool.
- Are Student Psychological and Counselling Services (SPCS) still open?
Yes. Student Psychological and Counselling Services (SPCS) in Student Support and Wellbeing are still open, and support is still available. However, from Tuesday 17 March, SPCS will no longer be able to offer in-person appointments until further notice.
SPCS will offer the alternative of remote sessions via video conferencing software or phone for all scheduled appointments, and your practitioner will be in contact to make specific arrangements with you for this.
If you need to get in touch with SPCS during this period, please email them at email@example.com.
- Are the Student Support and Wellbeing drop-in sessions still running?
No. The drop-in sessions are suspended until further notice.
Students still have full access to support. To speak to an adviser or make an appointment, you can use one of the following contact options:
- Get in touch with Student Support and Wellbeing through askUCL, our online student enquiries system
- Call the team on +44 (0)20 7679 0100
- What alternative arrangements are there for the Student Enquiries Centre?
As of 23 March, the Student Centre, including The Student Enquiries Centre (SEC) on Floor 1 of the Student Centre building is now closed. The SEC team are still responding to enquiries via askUCL - please do get in touch if you require any assistance.
- Is Ridgmount Practice, UCL’s partner GP surgery, still open?
The walk-in service at Ridgmount Practice (UCL's partner GP Surgery) is being suspended until further notice. Patients are advised not to attend the Surgery without a booked appointment. All students needing to be seen should call +44 (0)20 7387 6306 to book an initial telephone triage appointment.
- Are UCL's student halls of residence open?
Students have been strongly advised to leave UCL and vacate halls wherever possible. Some halls will remain open for those students who cannot leave UCL and need to remain with us in London only. Please see this update for more details.
On the advice of Public Health England, we are relocating some students who are staying with us in UCL halls from accommodation with shared bathrooms to alternative halls with en-suite facilities. This will mean that students can self-isolate safely, if this becomes necessary. Students will not be charged extra, and UCL will assist with all moving arrangements as instructed by Public Health England. Please see this update for more details.
- Are the Libraries open?
No, all UCL libraries are now closed. You can find out more about electronic resources, laptop loans and returning books on the Library Services website. As of 23 March, the Student Centre is also closed.
See section ii ‘Teaching, assessment and academic guidance’ for more information about what Library support is available
i. Support for staff unable to work
- I am unable to work because I am ill with suspected coronavirus or am unable to work from home. What financial support is available to me?
All staff directly employed by UCL, as well as staff employed by UCL’s suppliers Axis, Sodexo and Aramark will be able to access sick pay from the first day of an absence.
Special Leave will also be arranged for people who cannot work from home and this will not be deducted from sick pay balances nor count toward triggers in absence policies. Please speak to your line manager if this applies to you.
UCL cleaning, security, portering and catering staff:
UCL contractors will honour all core contracted hours for their staff, whether they are required to attend work or not, and this commitment will be made regardless of the nature of their contracts. Where staff work on an ‘as and when’ basis, if they have been working a regular weekly pattern, their pay will be calculated based on their average earnings over the last 12 weeks, to mirror staff’s usual term time working patterns. This will be paid whether staff are required to work or not during the coronavirus outbreak.
Other temporary staff including Unitemps:
Staff will be paid for any hours that they have been scheduled to work, but due to coronavirus could not, or cannot, take place.
ii. Remote working / working from home
- Should I be working remotely?
Yes. You must not now physically come into work unless you are one of our authorised key workers and/or you are undertaking research in the immediate national interest. Your manager will give you a letter confirming your authorised status. Please also carry your UCL ID so you can show it if asked.
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.
- What support is available to help me work remotely?
Two task groups have been launched to develop policy and guidance to support staff with moving to online teaching and alternative assessment. The Teaching Continuity webpages provide key guidance on how to teach and assess online. They are being updated daily and link to the most up-to-date information including how-to videos.
Colleagues in Human Resources have launched Remote, Not Distant at UCL, a new website to help you and those around you adapt to remote working. We hope you’ll find it useful for:
• Optimising your workspace, so you can work comfortably and safely
• Staying connected with colleagues, whether that’s your team, department, communities of practice or friends
• Some ‘golden rules’ for managing and supporting teams remotely
• Tips for looking after your mental and emotional health
ISD have created a guide to remote working, which includes information about setting up at home, tools to help you work remotely and tips for how to use them. Please keep an eye on the ISD website for latest advice. We will be regularly updating the remote working page with further guidance and support materials.
To make sure you are able to work from home, please take the following steps:
- Make sure you have the necessary software installed on your UCL laptop or home computer.
- Use the VPN only when needed, as capacity is limited. You don’t need to use it for Office365, Microsoft Teams or other productivity tools. To save using the VPN, please copy your working files from the N: and S: drives to MS OneDrive (which is cloud accessible).
- For teaching staff, if you are preparing online lectures, please speak to your department if you think you need a headset. You will also need to install the Lecturecast Personal Capture application on your computer.
- Make use of Microsoft Teams, especially for collaborating (e.g. for daily “stand-up” calls with your team).
Many of us are now using Microsoft Teams to collaborate via chat and conference calls. Please remember that:
- It isn’t just meeting attendees that can view the meeting chat; others who are on the invite list but haven’t connected in can see it too.
- The chat is retained indefinitely so could be referred to at a later stage by meeting attendees/invitees.
- Chats are just like emails and could be requested under a Freedom of Information request.
- How do I report sickness absence while I’m working remotely?
If you feel unwell and cannot work (whether from coronavirus or any other reason), you should report this to your line manager and record it on MyHR in the usual way.
- Should I take annual leave as normal while I’m working remotely?
Yes. Please continue to take your annual leave as planned, even if you are working remotely. We want to make sure our staff are well-rested and can still achieve a good work-life balance.
- I have caring responsibilities that make it difficult to work remotely/from home. What should I do?
We are conscious that many staff will be affected by the Government’s announcement that all nurseries and schools will be closed by Friday 20 March, and others have caring responsibilities that may be difficult for you continue to work remotely.
Please be assured that we wish to support you and will understand that you may have to change work routines, take holiday at short notice and perhaps not work your normal number of hours. We will do everything we can to accommodate your situation. Please speak to your line manager and rest assured that you will continue to receive your normal pay.
An online version of our Parents and Carers Together (PACT) network will be launched to enable online networking between staff and will provide interactive support. Please sign up to the mailing list on the UCL website.
- How can I support my safety and wellbeing whilst working remotely?
Working at home should be just as safe as it would be on UCL premises This guide will help support those who work at home regularly but in particular those not be used to working in their home environment.
UCL is partnered with Care First to provide 24/7 support to all staff/PhD students and out of hours support to all students. Telephone support is now also available to contractors working for UCL during the pandemic. You can contact them on 0800 197 4510 to discuss any concerns you may have whilst working remotely. Care first can help you look at strategies that you can use to support working in what might be a very different way. Care first is a free and confidential service to our community. You can find more information on the Workplace Health website.
Using technology to connect with colleagues is important and Microsoft Teams is a resource available at UCL that we can contact our colleagues through. ISD have created a series of guides on using this technology which are available thought the MS Teams app on your computer.
We may struggle with our own concerns and anxieties about coronavirus. Mind have created some useful guidance focusing on how to look after our mental health during these uncertain times. Please do take a look at these and see how you can build them into your day.
- Can I forward my phone calls to a Non UCL Number?
Yes. Users of the UCL VOIP telephone systems (Cisco phones) can forward their numbers to external and mobile numbers. You need to be connected to the VPN to make this change. Instructions can be found here. For users of older UCL phone systems you will need to request this service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provides your UCL extension and the number you wish to forward from and to.
- I need to request a purchase or submit an expense related to working from home – can I do this?
Yes. However, do consider whether the purchase needs to be made or whether there is a reasonable zero cost alternative. The current expenses policy remains appropriate for the majority of home working needs and should be followed. For low value items (less than £10/item) stationery and office goods these can be ordered more easily through local or online vendors. Reimbursements can be claimed via the usual expenses route, but prior authorisation by line manager is still required. Do note that all expense requests will be centrally monitored.
In the case of higher value assets such as mobile phones, staff should recycle and reuse where possible rather than buying new. Any request to purchase items costing over £50 should be pre-approved by the Faculty Director of Operations or nominated deputy.
Do I have to buy from UCL preferred suppliers?
No, not for low value purchases and where the cost of the purchase is being recovered through expenses. In the current economic environment, we would like to promote a “buy-local” approach where it is financially sensible to do so.
Laptops and headets
ISD has a small stock of laptops and headsets that can be provided to any staff who do not have appropriate IT equipment available at home. To limit what could be a large demand, all requests require approval which are to go via:
- Faculty Directors of Operations, who can liaise with respective Heads of IT.
- Other PSLT members, who liaise with Ketan Parikh at email@example.com
To enable prioritisation of a limited supply of equipment please provide your approver with a statement of the impact of not being able to provide the equipment. Note: In exceptional circumstances, we are able to courier the laptops to staff member’s preferred address.
iii. Teaching, assessment and academic guidance
- What is UCL doing to support the move to teaching online and the development of alternative forms of assessment?
As the coronavirus outbreak escalated, Education Committee established an Examinations and Assessment Contingency Panel (EACP), chaired by Professor Anthony Smith, to consider mitigations for circumstances where teaching and assessment could not be delivered as planned.
EACP has agreed that the impact of Covid-19 should be dealt with using the Material Irregularities Procedure (see Academic Manual, Chapter 6, Section 6).
In light of the decision to suspend face-to-face teaching and replace in-person tests and assessments with alternative assessments, two task groups have been established to develop policy and guidance to support staff and students with moving to online teaching and alternative assessment.
The Remote Teaching Delivery task group, chaired by the Pro-Vice-Provost (Postgraduate Education) Professor Nora Colton.
The Online Assessment task group is chaired by the Pro-Vice-Provost (Digital Education) Professor Norbert Pachler.
Every department has nominated two Covid-19 Mitigation Coordinators (CMCs), who will help you plan and deliver teaching and assessment.
The task groups are consulting with Faculty Tutors and CMCs and will feed resources, guidance and policy updates through these networks as and when it becomes available.
- Where can I get practical help with teaching online and developing a replacement assessment?
The Teaching Continuity webpages provide key guidance on how to teach online and develop alternative assessments. They are being updated daily and link to the most up-to-date information including institutional guidance, how-to videos and drop-in sessions.
You can also find contact details of how to get further support for this transition from the Arena Centre and Digital Education teams.
iv. Academic/Research staff
- I’m a researcher, will I still be able to conduct research on campus?
No, unless your research is in the immediate national interest (for example, work on coronavirus) and it has been agreed by your Faculty Dean. All other research needs to be undertaken remotely from now on, where possible.
Advice for PhD researchers can be found on the Doctoral School website.
- I’m a researcher and I am concerned about the impact of coronavirus on my research project / funding. What should I do?
For more information about the impact on research funding, please visit the Research Services page.
v. Further support for staff
- I’m very worried, or I have experienced bullying or abuse related to coronavirus. Who can I talk to?
Staff can access Care First’s employee assistance programme 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To discuss any issues that concern or affect you, please dial Care First’s Freephone number 0800 197 4510. If you are outside the UK, telephone +44 (0)1452 623246.
UCL does not tolerate abuse of any kind within our community. Please report this directly to the police. If you are a UCL student or member of staff, you can also use our online Report + Support tool.
- What is UCL doing to plan and keep people informed during the current coronavirus outbreak?
An operational and strategic response group has been convened, headed by Professor Anthony Smith and Fiona Ryland. Our policy is to follow the advice from Public Health England (PHE), the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the NHS.
We are keeping this page up-to-date with the latest advice from PHE, the FCO and the NHS, and adding answers to frequently asked questions as and when they arise.
During the current outbreak we have also ensured that UCL cleaners are increasing the frequency of cleaning to ensure that soap is available and surfaces are clean.
- 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 this page (www.ucl.ac.uk/coronavirus).
- Are UCL buildings now closed?
Yes. As of 23 March, all UCL buildings are now closed including the Student Centre. Bidborough House also has very limited access and only for key workers and those undertaking research in the national interest.
You must not now physically come into work unless you are one of our authorised key workers and/or you are undertaking research in the immediate national interest.
Please visit our Estates webpages for more information about building closures.
- Will the UCL Day Nursery remain open?
The UCL Day Nursery will stay open as long as possible for the children of staff undertaking research in the immediate national interest or whose work onsite is essential to the continued operation of the university. This will remain under review.
- 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.
- How is UCL maintaining critical ISD processes at this time?
We are in the process of pulling together a rota of volunteers to cover on-site urgent and emergency requirements, who will have access to servers and machine rooms on campus. Volunteers will also be able to access UCL accommodation if needed.
- 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.
If orders are placed but BOC cannot deliver, please escalate this to UCL Procurement.
- I am organising an event, conference or course that will be taking place at UCL. Do I need to cancel or postpone it?
As of Monday 16 March, all external events are suspended until 1 May. This includes:
- Prospective student offer holder events
- Events in the Bloomsbury Theatre, all UCL galleries and museums
- Staff recruitment (unless it can take place remotely via Microsoft Teams)
The central UCL room bookings system will not accept any further external bookings for this period.
- I'm organising an event, conference or course and delegates will be travelling from other parts of the UK or overseas to attend. Are we liable for any cancellation fees if the event cannot go ahead due to coronavirus?
Please refer to the question above ‘I am organising an event, conference or course that will be taking place at UCL. Do I need to cancel or postpone it? ‘
You should check any contracts and insurance policies you have in place for your event, including venue hire, speaker agreements and catering, as these will be different for each event.
Please bear in mind that delegates may not be able to recoup their expenses if your event is cancelled or postponed at short notice, so please let them know as soon as you know it cannot go ahead as planned.
- I’m organising a conference in another country that will be attended by delegates from all over the world. What should I do?
As of 11 March, staff and students should not travel internationally on UCL business until 1 May 2020. Please see the question in section 3, “What is UCL’s guidance on international travel?” for more details.
We also advise to check the FCO website before undertaking any international travel. You should therefore check the Government guidance for the country that your conference is to take place in.
- Is UCL still considering applications from students across the world, regardless of how their countries are affected by the coronavirus outbreak?
Yes, we will continue to give equal consideration to all applications regardless of where you are from or where you live.
We will update our FAQs as new information becomes available and we advise you to check back regularly for the latest information.
- Will the coronavirus outbreak affect my application to UCL?
We are doing everything we can to limit any impact coronavirus may have on current applications to study at UCL.
Our Admissions team is working hard to process all applications and provide a decision as soon as possible.
- My examinations have now been suspended or cancelled. How will this affect my application to UCL?
We are currently processing the implications of the recent decisions by various exam boards around the world to cancel, suspend, or postpone their exams. We should have clear information on how this will impact the admissions process at UCL shortly. We understand that this is an anxious time but we really want to make sure we get it right. Once our policy is clear we will be in touch with schools and students directly in order to inform them.
- I am unable to take my English language test because the IELTS test centres are closed, how will this affect me?
We accept several English language tests as proof of eligibility, including Duolingo.
However, please note that a UKVI acceptable IELTS is necessary for students who wish to enrol on a Pre-sessional English course with our Centre for Languages and International Education.
- My grades may be affected by either missing courses or being taught by distance learning. What account will you take of this?
We are taking advice from the examination bodies on school and university closures due to the coronavirus outbreak, including the provision of online learning opportunities. We expect extenuating circumstances to be taken into account by the relevant examination bodies.
We are not yet in a position to say definitively how this will affect the decisions we make on applications.
- Students may not be able to take their exams due to school closures – what can they do in this case?
We are currently considering our policies towards students who may be affected and will publish more information as soon as it becomes available.
However, if it proves impossible for your students to take their examinations, we will offer the option to defer their offer to 2021 entry, with the same conditions.
Should students wish to change the qualifications being taken, then they should resubmit an application through UCAS in the usual way after September 2020.
- Will the university extend the dates for accepting places/meeting entrance requirements to students who have had their education interrupted?
Yes, in certain circumstances we will. We are taking advice from the relevant exam bodies on school and university closures due to the coronavirus outbreak and are doing everything we can to limit the impact this might have for students wishing to study with us in 2020.
Any amendments to deadlines and/or start dates due to coronavirus will depend on your level of study and department and will be published as soon as they become available.
- I have a question that has not been answered. What should I do?
If you have a specific question about your individual circumstances please speak to your department if you are a student, or line manager if you are a member of staff.
If you have a more general question, please check that it has not already been answered above. If it hasn’t you can submit a question via our online form. Please note that we are receiving a high volume of questions and we will try to respond to as many as possible.
- Advice from Public Health England
- Travel advice from Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- NHS 111 Covid-19 website
- NHS: Common Questions about coronavirus