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Department of Computer Science and Technology



Safe working protocol for the William Gates Building (version to take effect from 7/01/2021)

The Department’s safe working protocol applies to all those people who enter the building, although the last part of the protocol might be less relevant to students who do not access the private side of the building.  The protocol has been edited to reflect procedures for the new lockdown, with effect from 7 January 2021, and have been updated on 13 January 2021.

The current guidance is that anyone who can work from home should do so.   Those who are not able to work from home are permitted to enter the building, following completion of a risk assessment.  Those who need to enter the building should email to inform them of their needs.  Students and research staff should first discuss their requirements with their supervisor.  This is a change from previous guidance, which permitted occasional vistis without advance notification.
We need everyone who enters the Department to do their best to protect themselves and others. Cleanliness and physical distancing are essential in order to reduce the risk of infection being brought in or spread in the Department. We have carried out the necessary risk assessments and put in place measures for additional cleaning to take place.  Face coverings must be worn in all areas of the building other than when in your own office, with the door closed. 

Based on the evidence that the new virus variant is more transmissable, we ask that people arrange their work so that no more than one person is in an office at any one time.  

We are sensitive to those who are exempt from the expectation to wear a face covering but we ask that those with an exemption wear a lanyard so that other colleagues are aware why a face covering is not being worn. Please visit the University’s Stay Safe Cambridge page for a list of medical exemptions.  The Department ihas some lanyards available for this purpose.

A condition of access to the building is to agree to read and abide by the code of conduct.


Code of Conduct for the William Gates Building

If you feel unwell at any time with any type of illness or symptoms do not come into the Department. If:

  • you have been in the department and have suspected Covid-19 symptoms or
  • you have any reason to believe you might have entered the building while infected (up to 7 days before symptoms started or a positive test result) or
  • you have a positive Covid-19 test

email so that we can protect anyone else who uses the building. We will inform any colleagues you may have been in contact with in the building and arrange to clean potentially contaminated areas.

As you may be aware, the University is offering a PCR swab test to all University of Cambridge and College, staff and students.   If you have any Covid-19 symptoms arrange to get a test.  Details of how to do this can be found on the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni page.  If you have a Covid-19 test, inform your line manager immediately.   Remember to complete the COVID Monitoring Form if you have received a positive test result, if you have any symptoms, or if you are self-isolating for any reason. Both students and staff should use this form.

Anyone entering the building for the first time since March 2020, must have completed a University or College risk assessment.  Undergraduate and MPhil students should complete their College risk assessment. If you have not already completed such a risk assessment, you should either fill out the Department's Google Form at (login using your CRSID in the domain, e.g., and authenticate using Raven), or alternatively use the University's word document at   If you not in the Green category, you should discuss this with your line manager or supervisor.  The or can discuss this with you if you prefer.

Entering, leaving and working in the building

Please adhere to social distancing measures at all times, which should be 2m apart from anyone else in the building.   

The main doors to the building will only be open to those with an access card.   Please only use the main doors to enter the building and do not let anyone tailgate you.  The door to the south of the Lecture Theatres (student entrance) may not be used to enter but may be used to exit the building.  Please "sign out" when you leave the building.  This can be done by tapping your access card on the card reader on the wooden door to the internal cycle store opposite reception.  You should not leave by this door, it is just for signing out purposes.

Please sanitize your hands with the sanitizer provided when you enter the building. Given occupancy of the building will continute to be low and the corridors to offices are wide, there are no restrictions on movements along corridors, however, please be mindful of other people when going to and from your office/workspace.  There is a one-way system on all staircases.  Use the North staircase on the West side of the building to go up and the South staircase to go down.  For the internal staircases on the east side (rear) of the building use the central staircase to go up, and the south and north staircases to go down.

DO NOT use the lifts unless prior permission has been obtained. Permission will be approved if you have a disability or a job that involves carrying equipment.

Avoid co-presence in the toilet blocks.  Close the toilet lid before flushing it.  Wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the toilet area and use a paper towel to pull doors open and dispose of it in the nearest bin afterwards.

Note:  the WGB cafeteria is not currently open.


Meetings, seminars and practical classes

Face-to-face teaching is not currently taking place.

If any face-to-face meetings need to take place, wherever possible they should be held in the cafe area or outside.  There are a number of meeting rooms that may be used where it considered to be absolutely necessary but a risk assessment MUST be completed and submitted to cl-shutdown for approval before it is booked for use.    Please use the guided occupancy for meeting rooms, which states which rooms are currently usable for meetings and specifies the number of people each room can accommodate with a 2m gap between each meeting participant. Use the largest meeting room available and the if risk assement is approved, book it with Reception before use.   Face-to-face meetings must not take place in any office.  Face coverings must be worn at any face-to-face meeting held in the building.

Chairs will be placed in meeting rooms where meeting participants should sit.  Spare furniture stacked at the side of the rooms should NOT be used.  Portable screens are provided on some meeting room tables for enhanced safety.   Screens are not a substitute for 2m distance between meeting participants.

Fixed hand sanitizer dispensers, with no touch controls are located at various points througout the building and on the wall outside meeting rooms and lecture theatres but where possible please wash your hands with soap and water as this is the best method for keeping your hands clean.  Sanitizer is also provided in meeting rooms.  Where a meeting room has been used you are asked to wipe the desk before and after use.  Spray and disposable cloths are provided.  The organiser of meetings should ensure this is done.
Individuals are asked to bring their own bottle of water/drink to meetings.  No other refreshments will be permitted in meeting rooms, unless needed for health reasons and are provided by the individuals concerned.
There seems to be evidence that there is greater risk to having prolonged indoor meetings so we recommend that meetings do not last beyond the hour.  Please allow one hour at the end of each booking for the meeting room to be empty. 

For the avoidance of doubt, any student or member of staff can wear a face covering in any location and at any time on a personal choice basis. 


As there is low occupancy in the Department, we cannot rely on there being a Fire Warden or Fire Aider present.  Please read the briefing on what to do in the case of an emergency.

If you see an accident or have a problem that would require first aid then call the facilities team on 01223 763696/01223 763786 and state your location. If present in the building a University first aider, will assist you. If nobody is contactable, call the emergency services on 1-999.

A member of the facilities team will normally be available between the hours of 09:00 – 16:00, Monday to Friday. They can be contacted by phone on either 01223 763696/01223 763786 or by email

In case of another emergency out of these hours or if no one can be contacted, please call the University Central Security Office:

Emergency Calls, Internal (24/7): 101 
Emergency Calls, External: 01223 (7)67444



If you feel unwell at any time with any type of illness or symptoms you should not come into the Department. However, if you do feel unwell while you are in the building it is important that you leave as soon as possible.  If you cannot leave straightaway please isolate yourself.  If you are not able to isolate in the room you are working in, we have isolation rooms availble for this purpose.  Take the following actions:

  • Email to inform them that you are isolating and if necessary to request access to an isolation room on the FW landing. 
  • Give them your crsid and surname.
  • If you are moving to an isolation room, please go straight there (signage will be placed on the door during isolation to inform other building members that the room is in use for isolation purposes). 

When you are isolating please:

  • Wear a face covering at all times.
  • Do not open the door of the room until you are going to leave the building.
  • Inform when you have left.
  • If you have any Covid-19 symptoms, take a test as soon as possible (see instructions above on how to access a test) and give the result.

Out of hours the isolation rooms will not be available.  If you need to isolate out of hours stay in your office with the door closed until you are able to leave.  It is still important that you inform of your symptoms and if apropriate take a Covid-19 test and let them have the result.


Offices and Lab Space

Please adhere to social distancing measures at all times.  This should be 2m apart from anyone else. 

We would like to make it clear that staff and research students should not feel in any way pressured into physical presence in the building.  The current guidance is that anyone who can work from home should do so.  Clinically extremely vulnerable staff or anyone living with individuals who are clinically vulnerable must work from home.

For those that need to use the building to work, it will be assumed they will use their allocated office.  We ask that people arrange their work so that no more than one person is in an office at a time.  We expect to be able to spread people out so that this is possible.   If rotas are needed, the PI/Supervisor should agree the timetable of attendance for members of their team.   If any advice is needed, please contact

Wash your hands before going to your work area. When washing your hands with soap and water, wash for 20 seconds and follow the method shown on the posters in the toilets. Washing hands with soap and water is the best method for keeping your hands clean.

Face coverings must be worn at all times you are not in your office, e.g. entering and exiting the building, in the corridors, and in the toilets and kitchens. For the avoidance of doubt any student or member of staff can wear a face covering in any location and at any time on a personal choice basis.

Try to remain in your work space as much as possible.  If you need to contact anyone else in the building phone, email, phone or video call them.  Do not go to other peoples’ offices.  If you need anything from stores or reception, DO NOT go into their office.  Email your request and they will make arrangements for you to collect the item. 

Use tissues provided before you touch door handles. Try to avoid touching door handles and door plates where possible. Note: Do not bring Latex gloves into the Department. This is important to due allergen issues. We do not recommend the use of disposable gloves and regular handwashing is preferred.  However, should you have a specific need to use them, stores has a supply which can be obtained on request.

Close your door while you are in your office. If you open the window, please ensure it is closed before you leave for the day.

The Royal Mail collection service and the University messenger service is not currently available.  Post delivered to the Department will be sorted on a weekly basis. Do not order personal items to be delivered to the Department.

Please use the relevant bins provided for waste and recycling, and empty your office bin in the bins in the corridors or the kitchens and bathrooms.

If you need to use GN09, please coordinate with Malcolm Scott as he will maintain an additional schedule of its use. The datacentre cooling system rapidly circulates air throughout the room so it is particularly important to be cautious about using GN09 if someone has already been in there that day. If you need access to SE17 please let Theo Markettos know as he will be keeping a rota for its use.  Malcolm and Theo will instruct you on any specialist cleaning equipment needed for these rooms as well as any specific safety instructions.  Face coverings must be worn at all times in GN09 and SE17.



Please use the kitchen nearest to your office.

The William Gates Building cafeteria is not currently open so you may wish to bring your food and drink with you.   Food bags left in any shared use fridge or freezer should be clearly labelled with the owner’s name. Wipe the fridge handle before and after you have touched it.  Keep your own crockery, cutlery and glassware in your office.  Do not leave items in the fridges after you have left the building as anything left in the fridges at the end of the day will be disposed of.

The West Cafe is open for takeaway only. 

If there are any taps that are unsafe for drinking they will be clearly labelled.  The water dispensers are not currently on but the water dispenser in the atrium is available for use. 

The FC Common Room is set up with screens and those with access to this room may use this space to eat their lunch but we encourage staff to eat lunch in their own office.  Follow the one way system to enter and exit the room.  No more than 5 people should be in the Common Room at any one time so please limit the time you use the space so others can use the facility.  Avoid sitting in a booth next to anyone else that is using the facility.  Do NOT use the furniture that is stacked at the side.  The use of face coverings is compulsory for transit to and from the Common Room, as well as when using the kitchen.  Please only remove your face covering while you are eating.   Wipe coffee tables with wipes provided before and after use.

Only one person is permitted to be in any of the kitchens at a time.   You are reminded to wash your hands on entering the kitchens and to wipe any surfaces you touch, before and after use.  Hands should always be washed before eating.

Please clean the microwave ovens thoroughly before and after use.



If you are using shared equipment (such as for example hardware and printers in your corridor), if you need to touch it, please wash your hands and sanitize it before and after use. There will be sanitizing wipes available to you and your Line Manager/Supervisor will instruct you on cleaning any specialist equipment within your research group.

Please refil paper in the printers in the corridors yourself but ensure that you wash your hands before and after handling shared printers.  If the paper supply runs out, email building-services to ask for more paper to be delivered.  

We are currently not allowing use of the reprographics facilities in GC18, other than for Computer Officers and administrative staff.  If you need anything printed that you cannot print yourself, email the file to and they will try arrange this for you.  Please allow at least 24 hours’ notice, more if possible, if this is required.   Please contact if you need to use the poster printer.

You may use the cross shredder and the weighing scales in the reprographics room but please ensure that only one person is in the room at any one time.