UCL News


What Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions mean for UCL

19 October 2020

A message from Professor Anthony Smith, Vice Provost (Education & Student Affairs) and Carol Paige, Democracy, Operations and Community Officer, Students’ Union UCL about what the new restrictions mean for UCL students.

UCL Portico

London has moved to a Tier 2 (high) alert level for COVID-19 and additional restrictions have been introduced to help reduce the spread of infection. 

We are writing to you to explain the new guidelines and what they mean for students at UCL. Many of the restrictions are the same as before and campus remains open, with measures in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. 

It is essential that you follow all the Government guidelines to protect yourselves and other members of our community, including those who are at risk of becoming seriously ill if they catch coronavirus. 

What’s staying the same

Our buildings and outdoor spaces remain open and face-to-face teaching is continuing as planned, in line with Tier 2 guidance, and you can still visit our libraries, study spaces and museums

All organised sport and physical activity run by the Students’ Union’s sports clubs are exempt from new restrictions and will continue, including the new Team UCL sports leagues featuring teams from across the university. Students’ Union UCL is working closely with society committees to support as much face-to face activity as possible, on and off campus and in line with UCL’s coronavirus guidelines. 

Safety measures are in place across campus, including the new zoning system, regular cleaning, and reducing the number of people onsite to 25% of capacity - but we also need your help to keep everyone safe. When you’re on campus, remember to keep your distance from others, wear a face covering and wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds. You can find out more in the UCL Community Commitment to Protect Each Other, which sets out the expectations of all members of our community during the pandemic. 

You must stay at home and self-isolate immediately if: 

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste);
  • you've tested positive for coronavirus;
  • you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive;
  • you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app;
  • you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk.

If you need to self-isolate, you must stay at your place of residence during term time, whether or not you have symptoms. You must not travel or return home, as this risks spreading the infection to other parts of the country or overseas. 

It’s important that you also let UCL know that you may have coronavirus through the Connect to Protect tool. This helps the university put measures in place to reduce the risk of infection, such as arranging additional cleaning, and make sure we can offer you any support you might need. Please inform your department as well, so they can offer you any academic help you need, too. 

What’s different in Tier 2

There are three important rules that you must follow: 

  • It is illegal to socialise with anyone outside of your household in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place. If you are staying in UCL halls, your household is anyone that you share a kitchen or bathroom with;
  • The Government’s ‘Rule of 6’ applies to gatherings outdoors. This means it is illegal to meet in groups of more than six people;
  • You must not travel to any areas in the Tier 3 (very high) alert level for COVID-19.

Under these rules, you can socialise with a maximum of five other family and friends outside your household - but only outdoors in a private garden or public outdoor place. This means that you can return home to see your family if you remain outdoors throughout your visit, unless they are in a Tier 3 area. 

If you don’t follow these rules you will be breaking the UCL Community Commitment to Protect Each Other and may face disciplinary action from the university. You may also be approached by the police and issued with a fine of £200, which can increase to a maximum of £6,400. 

What support is available 

We know that this is a difficult time, especially for those of you who may need to self-isolate, and we are doing everything we can to support you. UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing services can help you look after your health and wellbeing. You can also find information about looking after your mental and physical health on our online platform, UCLcares. 

If you are staying in UCL halls, the university’s Accommodation team is on hand to help you if you feel unwell or need to self-isolate. You can find out more about what support is available on the UCL Accommodation webpages

If you have any questions about coronavirus at UCL or what we are doing to keep you safe, contact askUCL, our student enquiry system. If your family has any questions, please direct them to our information for parents and guardians of UCL students.

Best wishes, 

Professor Anthony Smith
Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs)

Carol Paige
Democracy, Operations and Community Officer, Students’ Union UCL