skip to content

Department of Computer Science and Technology



Safe working protocol for the William Gates Building (version to take effect from 16/09/2021)

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 currently access the private side of the building.  The protocol reflects University procedures .

Undergraduates are not permitted in the building until the start of Michaelmas term (Tuesday 5 October 2021), without expcicit permission from the University Safe Space Team.   Staff, PhD students and official visitors of the Department who wish to work in the building may do so.  PIs and Line Managers will be responsible for ensuring that, where needed and based on the suggested occupancy below, rotas are in place and are followed. At least 2m separation must be maintained at all times in the WGB.  They should email cl-shutdown for advice or help with setting up a rota, or a dynamic spreadsheet if needed.
The changes reflect University Guidance 
From 16 August, individuals who have been identified as a household contact, or close contact of a positive COVID case AND have been fully vaccinated in the UK (to be considered fully vaccinated you must be more than 14 days since your second dose) do not need to self-isolate. Further information.  The COVID-19 helpdesk can help with queries from staff and postgraduate students. 
All those who enter the building must first complete a risk assessment.  Those who need to enter the building should discuss their needs with their supervisor who will check office space and arrange any rotas for occupancy of the offices.  
Face coverings must be worn in all public areas of the building other than when in your office, with the door closed.   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 has 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.

The Key aspects of the updated guidance from 16 September are:

  • In line with Government guidance, those who enter the building should complete lateral flow tests (LTF) twice a week, unless they are part of another testing regime.  LTF tests can be ordered free of charge from Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests - GOV.UK (, or obtained from local pharmacies.   We would be interested to know if anyone is having difficulty obtaining laternal flow tests.  If so, please email to let us know.
  • The one way system in the corridors and staircases have been removed.
  • The Department strongly encourages the use of surgical grade masks or FFP2 masks.  

Code of Conduct for the William Gates Building

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.  Individuals are encouraged to have COVID-19 vaccinations if they haven't already done so.

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 are 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 do not let anyone tailgate you.  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. The corridors to offices are wide so there are no restrictions on movements along corridors and staircases, however, please be mindful of other people when going to and from your office/workspace.  

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

We would like to make it clear that staff and research students should not feel in any way pressured into attending in person meetings. 

It is recommended that meetings be held outdoors . There is no limit to the number of participants for outdoor meetings, subject to 2m distancing being in place.  Meetings of three people, including Supervisions with postgraduate students, may be held in the cafe.  Portable whiteboards are provided, please return them to where you found them.

If necessary, short (up to one hour)  face-to-face meetings may take place in meeting rooms, subject to the recommended occupancy of  the room but face coverings should be worn.  Numbers permitted to meet in meetings rooms can be found at Meeting rooms should be pre-booked through   Take particular care to maintain 2m separation at all meetings. 

Face-to-face teaching, larger meetings and practical classes are not currently taking place, except in exceptional circumstances, explicitly permitted by cl-shutdown.


Read the briefing on what to do in the case of an emergency.  There may not be a Fire Warden or Fire Aider present when your are in the building, 

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 using, we have isolation rooms availble for this purpose.  Take the following actions:

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. 

For those who use the building to work, it will be assumed they will use their allocated office.  

Offices with multiple desks

Face coverings should be worn in multi-occupancy offices, unless all occupants have confirmed they are happy to use the space without face coverings and complete twice weekly Lateral Flow Tests. In this case, face coverings may be removed when seated.  PI and Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that, if necessary, there is a rota so that the permitted number of people occupying offices and spacing of 2m can be maintained.

The PI should consider requests and if they have any queries, email cl-shutdown for advice or help with setting up a rota, or a dynamic spreadsheet.

The expected number of people who can use an office on any one day is normally:

  • 2 peaple if up to 3 desks
  • 3 people if 4-6 desks
  • 5 people if 7 or more desks.

Where rotas are needed, the PI/Supervisor should agree the timetable of attendance for members of their team.   If any advice is needed, please contact  Rotas should be regularly reviewed and, if necessary, updated.

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 when 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 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. Please do not open office windows, as it will reduce the airflow in other offices.

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 the Hardware Lab in SE17 please consult
You need to agree to the access terms and book an access slot.  Tom Bytheway manages the Hardware Lab.  If you have any questions, please email 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 after the end of the day may be disposed of.

The West Cafe is open.

Tap water is safe to use and the water dispensers throughout the building are available for use.

Those people using shared offices who want space for eating are asked to use the Courtyard, the picnic tables outside the cafe, the First Floor student hangout area, or the First floor Common Room which has screens.   If you use the Common Room, follow the one way system to enter and exit.  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.   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. We encourage staff in single occupancy offices to eat lunch in their own office or outside.

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.

Please do not use the cafe for general working. We are reserving the cafe for small meetings and eating.