Measures Taken by UK Universities Against COVID-19 | Top Universities

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Measures Taken by UK Universities Against COVID-19

By Chloe Lane

Updated March 27, 2021 Updated March 27, 2021

The global spread of COVID-19 has meant that universities have had to take extra precautions to keep students safe this year.

Most UK universities are currently offering a mixture of online and in-person lectures, but others are still teaching completely online for the first semester. This is subject to change depending on the government’s announcements.

Here’s what some of the UK’s universities are doing to ensure students are safe on campus this year. 

University of Oxford

University of Oxford

Teaching methods: A mix of in-person teaching with online lectures and activities. In-person teaching is being offered wherever it is safe to do so.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Facemasks compulsory in university and college buildings; enhanced cleaning regimes; signage and markings in buildings to ensure social distancing; Perspex screens and barriers in study spaces and laboratories and a seat-finder app in the library.

International students must self-isolate for 14 days when returning to university.

See the University of Oxford’s coronavirus advice page

University of Cambridge

Cambridge Uni

Teaching methods: A blend of in-person and online teaching. Seminars, practicals, and supervisions will be delivered in person where possible. Lectures will be offered to smaller groups if feasible. 

All students will have sufficient and suitable access to research laboratories, libraries, museums and other facilities if needed.

Coronavirus measures on campus: All students living in college accommodation are offered a weekly test for infection with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, even if they show no symptoms.

Students who find themselves in unexpected financial need due to coronavirus can apply to University Hardship Funds.

Face coverings are mandatory across campus, unless two-meter social distancing can be maintained, and all students must follow the rules of each building on campus. 

See the University of Cambridge's coronavirus advice page

Imperial College London

Imperial College London

Teaching methods: A mixture of in-person and remote learning. Activities are kept as short as possible to reduce face-to-face interaction.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Face coverings are mandatory on campus; two-meter social distancing is enforced, unless not possible or practical; increased cleaning measures and Perspex screens installed.

A COVID-19 testing scheme is being run for staff and students who are asymptomatic. Any Imperial student or staff member who is currently studying or working on campus can book a test, as long as they do not have symptoms.  

See Imperial College London’s coronavirus advice page



Teaching methods: Remote learning currently but all buildings on campus are now open. Staff and students are advised to work and study online where possible.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Tailored risk assessments of all areas of campus; regular cleaning of buildings;  NHS COVID-19 app QR codes displayed at the entrances of busy buildings and temperature tracking is being trialed on campus. UCL’s Connect to Protect reporting tool monitors and responds to any coronavirus cases at UCL.

A new one-in-four rule has been introduced, where gatherings must take place in a room four times the size of the group. 

See UCL’s coronavirus advice page

The University of Edinburgh


Teaching methods: Most lectures are being delivered digitally in the first semester. A number of buildings are open for student use, with social distancing measures in place.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Face coverings must be worn in all university buildings and study spaces and hand sanitizers are supplied in the entrance of all buildings. 

See the University of Edinburgh’s coronavirus advice page

The University of Manchester


Teaching methods: In-person teaching for students on accredited and professional programs and for on-campus laboratory, clinical and practice-based teaching, where it is safe to do so. All other teaching will be online, including Academic Advising and most small group sessions.

Libraries and study areas are open but may close earlier. PC Clusters will be accessible via remote login only, unless needed for in-person teaching.

On-campus, invigilated examinations will be held only where required by Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies. All other assessments will be held online. 

Coronavirus measures on campus: Clearly marked entry and exit points for buildings; markings on floors, stairwells and doors to help maintain social distancing; NHS COVID-19 app QR codes displayed around campus.

See the University of Manchester’s coronavirus advice page

King’s College London

Teaching: A mixture of in-person and online learning. Students can access buildings on the days they have timetabled on-campus teaching or for pre booked activities. There will be a 30-minute gap between classes to allow students to arrive and leave safely. 

Students and staff may be asked not to come to campus at short notice and buildings may close if necessary.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Compulsory face coverings inside university buildings; designated entrances and exits for buildings; hand sanitizer stations available around campus; signs and floor tape to help with social distancing.   

See King’s College London’s coronavirus advice page.

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


Teaching: All lectures are online for the fall term. Classes and seminars are run at least twice so students in different time zones can engage with them. All lectures are recorded and made available online.

Going forward, socially distanced face-to face teaching will be run wherever possible.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Face coverings are mandatory in university buildings where others are present; a school track and trace system has been introduced and classrooms, study spaces and communal areas are being reconfigured to allow for social distancing.

See LSE’s coronavirus advice page. 

University of Bristol

Bristol Uni

Teaching: Blend of in-person and online teaching.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Re-usable face coverings are issued to all students to be worn on campus; increased cleaning throughout the day and sanitizing stations in each building entrance.

See the University of Bristol’s coronavirus advice.

University of Warwick


Teaching: Combined in-person and online teaching. 

Coronavirus measures on campus: Free reusable face covering given to students; face coverings to be worn on campus; free thermometers provided for students; hand sanitizers available at entrances of university buildings and extra cleaning of common ‘touch points’ around campus.

The on-campus Test and Trace system, supported by Warwick Medical School, will work alongside the NHS system.

See the University of Warwick’s coronavirus advice page

University of Glasgow

Teaching: All teaching is online in the Fall term. Pre-recorded or live lectures, tutorial and seminar sessions and other learning materials will be provided through the virtual learning environment (VLE). These may involve guest speaker input, simulation activities, peer support and other interactive experiences. 

Students have access to library and study spaces on campus but access to research facilities will be determined by risk assessments reviewed by the Director of Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Enforced social distancing; enhanced cleaning regimes; face coverings should be worn in campus buildings, except when students are able to maintain a two-meter distance from others. Visors will be made available for students.

See the University of Glasgow’s coronavirus advice page

Durham University

Durham uni

Teaching methods: A mix of face to face and online learning.

The wider student experience from student welfare and counselling, to the arts and culture, sport and volunteering will take place in person where it is considered to be in line with national guidelines, with the remainder activities delivered online where possible. 

Coronavirus measures on campus: All buildings have passed a five-test approach and are made COVID-secure; hand sanitizers are available in all buildings; free infrared thermometers are available for students; social distancing rules apply on campus as far as is reasonably practicable and it’s mandatory to wear face coverings inside university buildings.

An Outbreak Response Plan has been devised, working with Durham County Council, outlining the process, roles, responsibilities, and terms of reference for responding to clusters or outbreaks of Covid-19 as well as any changes to local restrictions.

Internal processes capture information from staff and students who have symptoms of Covid-19 or who have tested positive.

The university is also working with BUPA to offer a limited number of free flu vaccinations to staff and students.

See Durham University’s coronavirus advice page 

University of Southampton


Southampton uni

Image: David Martin on Geograph

Teaching methods: Blend of online and in-person learning. Laboratories are open and safety measures are in place.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Support for mental health and wellbeing online; face coverings must be worn on campus; hand sanitizer provided; social distancing measures; the numbers of people in catering, retail and sports facilities are limited.

The University has developed a testing program for students, that links with the NHS Track and Trace system, based on its experience jointly leading a major government-funded COVID-19 saliva-based testing pilot for the city of Southampton.

See the University of Southampton’s coronavirus advice page

University of Leeds


Teaching methods:  Face to face teaching is being offered where possible. Teaching activities with large numbers of students will go ahead online.

Teaching in small-group settings will be delivered face to face on campus where it is safe, practicable and advantageous, such as laboratory and practical based work.

The University Libraries are undergoing a phased reopening, while continuing to operate online services to support studies and research.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Face covering must be worn in designated areas around campus; social distancing should be followed.

See the University of Leeds’ coronavirus advice page

Lancaster University


Teaching methods: A mix of online and in-person learning

All buildings on campus are open. Students who are living on campus can access services, including places to buy food and medicines.

Coronavirus measures on campus: Facemasks must be worn in all indoor spaces; social distancing measures have been put in place.

See Lancaster University’s coronavirus advice page

University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham

Image: Graham Norrie on wikimedia commons

Teaching methods: A mix of online and in person learning. Seminars in small groups will be delivered in person and on campus where possible, and online otherwise.

Compulsory lab work and practical sessions and workshops will be scheduled as late as possible in the first semester and in groups of an appropriate size.

Coronavirus measures on campus: One-way systems are in place across buildings; increased cleaning provisions on campus; hand sanitizer available at all building entrances; face coverings mandatory and branded University of Birmingham face masks will be provided for students. lanyard

See the University of Birmingham’s coronavirus advice page

This article was originally published in October 2020 . It was last updated in March 2021

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Written by

As Content Editor for and, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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