Staying safe on campus

The health and wellbeing of students, staff and visitors to campus is our first priority at all times, and especially so during the continuing Covid 19 pandemic.

Lots of work has gone into making our facilities as safe as possible, including:

  • Limiting the numbers of staff on campus by asking those who can continue to work from home to do so

  • Implementing one-way systems and study space bookings

  • Installing screens and hand sanitiser points

  • Providing face coverings to students and staff

  • Moving large lectures online

The city of York, including our campus, has had a low level of Covid-19 relative to many other parts of the UK. We are actively working with our city partners to ensure that we have a shared understanding of best practice and that we all work together to maintain that excellent record. That means every one of us has a role to play in keeping ourselves - and those around us - as safe as possible. For most of us, this is simple to achieve:

  • Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces (unless you’re exempt)

  • Keep your hands really clean

  • Respect other people’s space

  • Self-isolate if you have symptoms of Covid-19

Face coverings

Face coverings reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets - when you wear a face covering, you protect the people around you, just as they protect you by wearing theirs. We’re asking everyone on campus to wear face coverings when they’re in any enclosed space, with a few exceptions including:

  • If you’re exempt from wearing a face covering for health reasons

  • If you’re in a sole occupancy office

  • If you’re in an office space where you’re able to observe two metre physical distancing

  • If you’re in the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen of your own campus accommodation

  • If you’re eating or drinking

  • If you're communicating with someone who lip-reads

You can find a full list of requirements and exemptions in our face coverings policy.

We’ve carried out a risk assessment and an equality assessment, and we’re confident that the risk of infection will be greatly reduced if everyone who is able to do so wears a face covering.

Suitable face coverings

You’ll be provided with two washable face coverings by the University, but you are welcome to use your own.

We recommend that you choose a purpose-made face covering, which may be reusable (washable) or single-use (disposable), ideally with at least two layers of fabric. You can also improvise a face covering using (eg) a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering; these must cover your mouth and nose, and fit securely round the side of your face.

Face coverings with a transparent panel and face shields are available if you need to communicate with people who lip-read, and the University can supply these on request. It’s also acceptable to remove a face covering to enable someone to lip-read.

Using your face covering

The most important thing is to follow the instructions that come with your face covering.

  • Ensure that it covers your mouth and nose

  • Avoid touching it while you’re wearing it, and remove it by the ties or ear loops.

  • Keep it in a clean plastic or fabric bag when not in use

  • If it’s reusable, wash it after use (and check whether there’s a recommended maximum number of uses)

  • If it’s single use, dispose of it safely in a bin as soon as possible after you remove it. Do not leave disposable face coverings lying around as this creates a health hazard for our cleaners.

Top tip: if you wear glasses, try to keep the top of the covering tucked under the bottom of your glasses - this should help stop them steaming up.

Not wearing a face covering

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, you can choose to indicate this by, for example, wearing a sunflower lanyard; we plan to have these available at the Information Centre from the start of term, or you can order your own from the Hidden Disabilities online store. If you’re not wearing a lanyard or other indication that you’re exempt, you may be asked to put on a face covering when you join a meeting or seminar or enter a space like the Library. Just explain that you are exempt.

If you’ve forgotten your face covering, you may be offered one or asked to purchase one from the vending machines in various locations on campus.

If you don’t wish to wear a face covering, you may be denied access to enclosed spaces (eg meeting or seminar rooms, the Library). Where possible, you will be assisted to access the resource in another way - for example, an online seminar or the Library Click and Collect Service. However, choosing not to wear a face covering is likely to impact on your work or studies, so we advise you to discuss this with your supervisor or line manager.

If you spot someone not wearing a face covering, be mindful that they may be exempt or simply have forgotten. If you decide to ask them why they’re not wearing a face covering, please do so respectfully.

We expect that most students, staff and visitors will understand and adhere to the requirement to wear a face covering. However, if someone repeatedly refuses to wear one when required, there is the option for this to be handled through the existing disciplinary routes for staff and students. If you become aware of an issue, please talk to your supervisor, line manager or HR contact.

Clean hands

Hand hygiene is still one of the most important ways to protect yourself and others against Covid-19 infection.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.

  • If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitiser; we’ll have sanitiser stations set up across campus, and you can carry sanitising gel, liquid or wipes with you if you wish.

  • Most people don’t need to wear protective gloves for day to day activities like shopping, working in an office, visiting the Library or attending seminars.

Top tip: all that hand washing can be tough on your skin - carry moisturiser too!

Respect people’s space

Please follow the latest guidance for social distancing when you’re on campus - there’ll be signage in place to remind you.

At the moment, that means keeping a distance of at least two metres between you and other people whenever possible. If you can’t maintain a two metre distance, then you should maintain one metre plus distance and ensure that other measures are in place eg face coverings, desk screens as appropriate.

If you feel that someone is too close to you, it’s okay to politely remind them of the guidance.


If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 you must self-isolate for at least ten days after the symptoms appear, and arrange to take a Covid-19 test if possible. Check symptoms, testing arrangements, and other advice on the NHS website:

You should inform your department that you are self-isolating - find out how: