When someone isn’t following the rules

We're encouraging everyone in the University of York community to take responsibility for their actions and stay smart, supportive and safe - not only for their own wellbeing but that of others too.

If you see someone not following the guidance we expect you, where it is possible and safe, to raise this with them in an informative and respectful manner.

This advice is for use in communal, public areas. Specific advice for teaching staff is available on the Academic Contingency Group's pages.

For details on how we respond when someone isn't following the rules, see our Operating Procedure for COVID-19 related reports of student misconduct.

First of all, try to assume that the person has forgotten or misunderstood the rules, or they are exempt. It might be that they are still getting used to the guidance, or they just forgotten in this situation. Don’t assume they are deliberately breaking the rules.

  1. Try clarifying or informing: for example, say, “In case you didn’t know, we have to wear face coverings inside” or “The University requires us to keep two metres apart in areas like this.” This approach is non-confrontational and treats the person as having forgotten or misunderstood.

  2. Try offering resources: for example, say, “Do you need a face covering?” or “The hand sanitiser is over there.” This approach treats the issue as one of resources rather than non-compliance.

  3. Try the silent approach: for example, pause or step to one side if someone isn’t keeping to two metres distance, or gesture to your face covering if someone isn’t wearing one.

  4. Try softening your approach: for example, say, “Sorry, it’s difficult to keep track of the rules,” or “I’m sure you didn’t mean to.”

  5. Try enlisting others: for example, you could catch someone else’s eye and see if they have also noticed. They may also be feeling uncomfortable and might step in and help you.

  6. Try supporting others: if someone else is intervening, back them up (without ganging up).

If these strategies don’t work and someone is refusing to comply

Ask them to leave the area or room. If they refuse, you should leave the area/room. Don’t stay in a space with someone who is making you feel unsafe.

Further support

If you need support with this, there are a number of ways to get it.

For students

Talk to your friends, or if you are a first-year student, you can talk to your STYCs (Second and Third Year Contacts). You could also ask for advice from your college, your tutor, student ambassadors, the Students' Union (YUSU), or the Student Hub, depending on the nature of the situation.

We encourage you to challenge inappropriate behaviour directly. However, if this doesn’t work, you can report your concerns about another student using the University’s Report and Support tool.

For staff

Talk to your line manager or your covid-secure lead. If you need to report an unsafe number of people in a space, or where room layout is unsafe, you can use the University Covid Safety Form.

You can contact Security on 01904 32 3333 or freephone 0800 43 3333 (in an emergency) or 01904 32 4444 (for non-emergency contact).

If people are persistently breaking the rules then the University will follow the disciplinary procedures that are already in place. We will also follow additional measures to keep the community safe in the case of reports of people not self-isolating when they should be.

With thanks to Loughborough University for the original version of this page.