Keeping safe on campus


In line with Government and Public Health England guidance on COVID-19 pandemic, the University has introduced procedures and guidance to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our community on campus.

The University Health and Safety procedures set out a framework that is committed to: 

  • providing a safe and healthy University
  • ensuring our community take a proactive approach to health, safety and wellbeing; and 
  • to embed health and safety as a core value in everything we do

Coming onto campus

We've also produced information and guidance for students and staff who will be coming onto campuscoming onto campuscoming onto campus in the near future.

Face coverings

Face masks/face coverings must be worn in all indoor University premises and in all areas where social distancing may be difficult to maintain.

See Section Five of Adapting our Behaviours Essential information (.pdf)

Why we have to wear face coverings

We’ve completed full risk assessments of our campuses and we’re implementing control measures to reduce the risk of transmission and protect our community. We continue to follow the latest Government and scientific advice; the best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) droplets, helping to protect others. 

We all want to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and wearing face coverings is one method, which we’re implementing on our campuses. Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing; these remain highly important to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and must continue in addition to wearing face coverings.

Exemptions for wearing a face covering

There are exemptions for wearing face coverings and we understand for some, wearing a face mask even for a short period of time can be difficult. 

If you feel you should be exempt from wearing a face covering students must contact providing a brief outline of the reasons for your exemption. Staff should contact We will then contact you to discuss further and where appropriate issue you with a lanyard and card to ensure you are quickly recognised and not challenged inside University buildings.

Where you need to wear a face covering

Face masks/face coverings must be worn in all indoor University premises and in all areas where social distancing may be difficult to maintain.

Face coverings must be worn in the following University areas:

  • all internal corridor, lobby/access areas
  • all teaching spaces, labs, IT rooms, private study spaces and common rooms.  (The lecturer may wear a face visor in place of a face covering, but students must wear face coverings).
  • all kitchens and WC facilities.
  • lifts when these are available for general use and limited to one occupant.
  • all internal catering facilities.
  • Library general areas.
  • shower/changing/locker rooms.
  • where staff or students feel social distancing is likely to be reduced below the prescribed distance.
  • any circumstance where staff or students through personal choice wish to wear a face covering.
  • when directed to do so by specific departmental risk assessments which may include use of specific Personal Protective Equipment (facemasks/gloves/aprons) relating to particular activities.

Getting a face covering

All students and staff on our campuses will be issued with two washable face coverings in the Autumn Term.

If you are a new student, you will receive your face covering either when you collect your keys for your campus accommodation, when you arrive to complete your right to study ID check, or when you attend one of our COVID-19 Test Centres. If you are a returning student, you will be able to collect your face coverings when you attend one of our COVID-19 Test Centres Information about our Test Centres will be emailed directly to you.

How to wear your face covering

Please remember face masks or coverings will only be effective if they are worn properly, covering the nose and mouth and fitted snugly, and kept clean. Make sure you change your face covering daily and wash your hands when putting it on or taking it off your face.

The University-provided face coverings have a metal insert stitched in them, this should be positioned so it is at the top over your nose. Pinch the metal insert against the bridge of your nose which will not only help keep it in place and not slip down, but also ensure you have a better fit. When not in use please store the face covering in a sealed bag. It should be washed regularly.

If you chose to wear a disposable paper mask with one blue side and one white side, the blue side should be on the outside. Once you have used the paper mask, please dispose of it in a bin.


There are signs and floor-markings in key locations so please check and follow all guidance. We’ve also introduced enhanced cleaning including regular cleaning and disinfection of high touch points.

It might take longer to get around our campuses due to new rules so please don’t rush and allow yourself extra-time.

Washing hands

The health advice is clear. Regularly washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds is central to preventing COVID-19 transmission.

We make sure that all hand washing facilities are cleaned and checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order and we want you to report any problems to the Estates helpdesk.Estates helpdesk.Estates helpdesk.

Wiping down surfaces with detergent, sanitisers or warm washing-up liquid and then washing your hands will also help to reduce the risk of transmission.

We provide anti-bacterial wipes in central areas to help you wipe down keyboards or workstations. 

Social distancing and moving around campus

Social distancing is still really important. Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19, and in protecting themselves, their family, and the University community.

Walking around the campus might take longer than you expect due to social distancing measures, but you’re helping keep everyone safe.

It’s okay to take your time, give people space and you might need to queue. Follow the signage when you are moving around outside or in our buildings. Being kind and staying positive is going to help everyone.

We all need to remember that some of our community might be feeling vulnerable or worried. This might be for personal health reasons or they live with someone vulnerable so we all need to pay attention to social distancing guidance and support each other through this difficult time.

Social distancing in lecture rooms, IT labs and study spaces

We’ve thought carefully about the layout in your lecture rooms. Seating layouts are clearly displayed for you and we rearrange furniture if necessary. You need to remember to maintain social distancing if you are waiting to go into a lecture.

Follow signs and guidance in study spaces. You can really help by not sharing workstations and equipment when you are in study spaces.

In IT labs you can use the machines marked with a green dot. Please wipe the keyboard, mouse and table before you use them and afterwards.

Find out how to book a study space on campus.

Social distancing in shops, food outlets, bars and banks

If you are in enclosed spaces like shops, food outlets or banks, please follow the signs, check your distance and don’t forget your face covering.

The number of people allowed into different outlets might be limited to ensure social distancing. It might also take longer to serve you and you might need to queue longer than normal.

Please also pay by contactless card if you can, although you can still use cash.

Gatherings and national restrictions

England is currently following a local restriction tier system. Essex is in Tier 4 (Stay at home). This will be reviewed by the UK Government on 30 December 2020.

It is important you are familiar with what you can and cannot do in each tier. To find out what restrictions are in place in your local area, visit the UK Government website.

Social distancing in toilets

Remember that social distancing applies in toilets too. Give people space. If no cubicles are vacant just pop back outside until someone leaves then go back in.

Staying safe on campus

Working together

Together we need to be aware of what has changed and how we can all help protect those who may be at greater risk. Respect and courtesy for each other remains at the heart of our University community.

The full cooperation of all students with health and safety procedures is essential to maintain the highest standards and helping the University to create a safe environment for all of us.

Staying alert and informed

Stay alert, be informed and up to date.

You are advised to carefully read the latest information and guidance on the student COVID-19 web pages or staff COVID-19 web pages, as well as paying attention to signage and information on campus. This is important to understand the guidance and advice on personal measures that each of us should be taking.

What can you do to help?

  • Following your sign up to the COVID-19 social agreement through the online registration process, complying with the risk assessments and measures put in place.
  • Complete the COVID-19 essential 'Keeping safe on campus' training course, reading the related COVID-19 guidance within it.
  • Adhere to the Code of Student Conduct, which include regulations A9 (behaviour that is likely to cause injury or impair safety) and A11 (Behaving in a manner, which obstructs, frustrates or disrupts).
  • Allow yourself more time when moving around campus.
  • Be patient when accessing facilities and services.
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks.
  • You can still use cash in our eateries and shops, but please use contactless card payments if possible. That way we can keep to a minimum the number of times anyone has to touch cash.
  • Maintain good hand hygiene including regular hand washing and/or use of hand sanitiser.
  • Cooperate with and follow any risk assessments in place for your health and safety.
  • Follow guidance and signage in place around the campus.
  • Wear face coverings.
  • Report all accidents and incidentsReport all accidents and incidentsReport all accidents and incidents and seek help if you have any concerns.
  • Concerns and feedback can be sent to

Enhancing cleaning

Enhanced cleaning is undertaken in some communal areas including more regular cleaning and disinfection of high touch points.

Where a member of staff or student has been identified as being COVID-19 positive, and the work/study area cannot be left fallow for 72 hours, deep cleaning protocols will be implemented.

Of course our cleaning teams will also continue to provide essential cleaning in both academic areas and student accommodation.

Guidance, support and services

Our Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service is always there for you to offer you guidance and support. If for any reason stricter social distancing measures are reintroduced we’ll adapt our services so we can continue to offer you the support you need.

Services on campus

Reference guidance for our community

About our COVID-19 health and safety guidance

We are required to undertake a risk assessment of the workplace and to implement control measures to reduce COVID-19 related risks for transmission. We want to reassure you that our COVID-19 Policy sets out the measures we have put in place to minimise the risks to students, staff, contractors, visitors and members of the public. The general health, safety and wellbeing responsibilities detailed in the University’s Health and Safety Policy remain in force.

Complying with all advice from governmental bodies

Advice and guidance from governmental, professional and advisory bodies will continually be reviewed, to ensure we take account of such advice and guidance when putting measures in place to minimise risks from COVID-19. Such bodies would include, but are not limited to, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Public Health England (PHE), NHS England, Higher Education Occupational Practitioners (HEOPS), Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.

COVID-19 student agreement

As part of the Online Student Registration process, you have been asked to agree to follow the University's health and safety regulations and guidance (including social distancing) that have been introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with all new and returning students, you have also been asked to complete the Keeping Safe on Campus.

Furthermore, you have been asked to agree to take responsibility to regularly check your Essex IT account for emails, to access further information on Moodle and our COVID-19 web pages, and to follow the University's health and safety procedures.

Information and guidance for students

There is information on how to come onto our campuses, and you will receive frequent information and guidance on the Student COVID-19 webpages, as well as updates from the Communications Team to your Essex email account.

In addition, signage describing current prevention measures will be in place on buildings and services across the campuses. The information and guidance will include advice on personal measures that we all will need to adhere to, such as social distancing, self-isolating (when symptomatic or living with others symptomatic), hand washing and use of PPE when required. We are constantly monitoring the situation and COVID-19 Policy, along with our COVID-19 Business Continuity Plan, which will be reviewed as necessary.

Code of Student Conduct

As part of the Online Registration process, you have been asked to agree to adhere to the Code of Student Conduct, which include regulations A9 (behaviour that is likely to cause injury or impair safety) and A11 (behaving in a manner, which obstructs, frustrates or disrupts).

Please note that these regulations will be used for contravention of expectations of behaviour regarding health and safety procedures, social distancing and compliance with the regulations and guidance that have been introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enhancing cleaning and disinfection regimes

The University’s Facilities Management Services (Soft FM) will continue to provide essential cleaning in both academic areas and student accommodation. Enhanced cleaning will be undertaken in some communal areas to include more regular cleaning and disinfection of high touch points.

Where a student has been identified as being COVID-19 positive, and the work / study area cannot be left unused for 72 hours, deep cleaning protocols will be implemented.

Ensure to self-isolate when symptomatic

Clear guidance will be provided on the Student Directory as to the symptoms and situations which indicate that a student should self-isolate. All self-isolations should be reported to the University, as well as the NHS (by contacting 111) to report your symptoms and arrange for a COVID-19 test. You should only return to campus when you have been symptom free for seven days.

The University’s guidance on contact tracing and self-isolation will help to ensure that, where this is known, persons who have been in contact with an infected person are contacted and given appropriate advice. Support will be given to any student having to self-isolate.

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