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Department of Computer Science and Technology



This document describes the Department of Computer Science and Technology Protocol for working in the William Gates Building.   


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.
In creating a protocol for re-occupying the building, we reflected on the following paper, in particular Figure 3  for which we are in the 'internal, “well ventilated' and 'low occupancy' categories".

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 public areas of the building (e.g. The Street, corridors, meeting rooms, lecture theatres, kitchens and toilets).  They must always be worn when in transit to/from your office, and when teaching or having any meeting indoors.

The University's guidance recommends the wearing of face coverings while at a desk in a shared office if you are more than 2m away from anyone else and are not talking, but it does not mandate them.  Given that face coverings are primarily worn to protect others rather than oneself, the Department suggests that they are always used whenever an office is being shared, unless everyone in the office has explicitly agreed they do not expect others to wear face-coverings there when the use is not mandatory.

The Department does not permit the use of shared offices where 2m distance cannot be maintained.  In these cases, a rota must be in place.

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

then call 01223 334603, 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.  Due to the anticipated increase in rate of infection, unfortunatley testing centres is no longer be able to offer testing to household members..  You can arrange a test by calling Addenbrooke’s Hospital Occupational Health on +44(0)1223 216767 (8.30pm to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday) and stating where you work. Inform your line manager immediately.

Anyone entering the building for the first time since lockdown, 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.

Fill in this 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.


Entering 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 be open during the hours of 09:00 - 17:00.  Outside of these hours please use your access card to enter the building.  Please only use the main doors to enter the building and if you need to use your access card, 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 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.  Please 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 please use the central staircase to go up, and the south and north staircases to go down.

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

Try to avoid co-presence in the toilet blocks, especially those smaller blocks in the private side of the building.  Please 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 cafeteria is not currently open.


Meetings, seminars and practical classes

The University "expects members of the Cambridge community to wear face coverings in any work or study setting, unless it is clear that social distancing of at least two metres can be maintained at all times, or someone has a medical exemption. The University's Gold Team, which oversees the response to the pandemic, recommends the use of face coverings for indoor meetings and teaching sessions lasting longer than 15 minutes even where it was possible to observe the appropriate social distance (2m)."  We therefore ask that face coverings are worn during all meetings, seminars, teaching sessions and practical classes. 

We continue to suggest that video conferencing is used for meetings, but if in person meetings are deemed to be necessary 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.  If you need to use a meeting room, use the largest one available.  Some of the meeting rooms can safely fit up to four people but we recommend that meetings of more than four are avoided unless they are considered essential, and if so, they should take place in one of the Lecture Theatres, FW11 or FW26.  Note that teaching takes priority for use of LT1, LT2, FW11 and FW26.  Face coverings should be worn at all times, which includes transit to and from the room.  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.   If the temperature allows, windows or patio doors should be open during meetings.  We are, however, comfortable that the reduced occupancy in the building allows for sufficient airflow if it is not practical to open windows.  Staff who work in single occupancy offices may have one-to-one meetings in their offices if 2m distance can be maintained but we ask that face coverings are worn and recommend they are for short ad hoc meetings and where possible, meeting rooms should be used.   As a general principle, you are asked to consider having one-to-one meetings in the courtyards or the Street. 

Chairs will be placed in meeting/seminar/lecture rooms where meeting participants should sit.  The 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 on the wall outside usable 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.  Participants are asked to wipe the desk before and after meetings held in the private side of the building.  Spray and disposable cloth will be provided.  The organiser of meetings should ensure this is done.
Individuals are asked to bring their own bottle of water/drink to meetings/seminars/lectures.  No other refreshments will be permitted in meeting rooms, unless needed for health reasons and are provided by the individuals concerned.  Note: bottled water is only allowed in the Lecture Theatres.
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 if at all possible.  Please allow 30 minutes at the end of each booking for the meeting room to be empty. 



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 a member of the reception 01223 763500 or 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:

  • Phone Reception 01223 763500 or a First Aider 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 Reception or the First Aider that you are leaving the building and email to inform them 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 in your workspace. 

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, if they want to continue to work from home.   Guidance remains that staff who can work from home should continue to do so and that individuals in at risk groups or anyone living with individuals in an at risk group should continue to work from home.

It will be assumed that staff and research students will use their allocated office when working in the building.  A 2m distance must be accommodated when staff are seated/standing at their desks.  If rotas are needed, the PI/Supervisor should agree the timetable of attendance for members of their team.  They are asked to exercise caution where there is any doubt.  For those offices where help with a rota is needed or if you have any queries 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.

he University's guidance recommends the wearing of face coverings while at a desk in a shared office if you are more than 2m away from anyone else and are not talking, but it does not mandate them.  Given that face coverings are primarily worn to protect others rather than oneself, the Department suggests that they are always used whenever an office is being shared, unless everyone in the office has explicitly agreed they do not expect others to wear face-coverings there when the use is not mandatory.

Face coverings must be worn at all other times, which includes when moving in your room, e.g. entering and exiting, 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 intot their office.  Email your request and they will make ararngements 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 the temperature allows, ventilate your room by opening the window but close it before you leave for the day.

The Royal Mail service and the University messenger service is now available.  Place items that need to be posted in the correct tray outside Reception - do not enter Reception.  There is currently no personal postage service available so please ensure you place a stamp or a royal mail postage label on any personal items that are left in the tray. 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 GN09 has been requested for your use, 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.



If you are in the private side of the building, please use the kitchen nearest to your office.

The cafeteria is not currently open so please 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.

Please note there are a few taps in the building that are not safe to use for drinking water.  Taps that are unsafe for drinking are 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.  Follow the one way system to enter and exit the room.  No more than 9 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.

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 take care to 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, email the file to and they will print this for you.  Please allow at least 24 hours’ notice, more if possible, if this is required.  They will also be able to scan documents that are left in the pigeonhole after 48 hours of them being placed there.  Please put documentation in an envelope and write your name, the date and time on it and email Reception with instructions.  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.