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Department of Computer Science and Technology



Safe working protocol for the William Gates Building (version to take effect from 9/12/2021)

The Department's safe working protocol applies to all those people who enter the building,  It will be updated as we get more information but it has been left as it was, pre-9 December, for those people who access the building.   

The current University guidance is that you should work from home if you can do so effectively but  if that is not the case and if you still need to work in the Department please submit this form.  We will simply be recording names so please do not wait for a reply before coming into the building.

Please remember it is a requirement that all members of the Department who come into the building undertake lateral flow tests at least three times a week, or if occasional access, before you enter the building.  Masks should be worn as directed by the safe working protocol below. 

Any queries regarding the Safe working protocol can be sent to  This protocol will be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary.

This ventilation recommendations, which were included on 19 October 2021 have now been incorporated into the protocol.

We expect all those who enter the building to agree to read and abide by the code of conduct.

Code of Conduct for the William Gates Building

We need all members of the Department to take individual and collective responsibility in minimising risks to the spread of Covid-19, and maximising support, for students, staff and visitors. Individuals are strongly encouraged to have COVID-19 vaccinations if they haven't already done so.

In line with Government guidance those who enter the building should complete lateral flow tests (LTF) at least twice per week, but preferably three times a week, unless they are part of another testing regime.  In order for us to keep our environment as safe as possible, we would like to recommend that building users test three times per week. LTF tests can be ordered free of charge from either the NHS at Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests - GOV.UK (, or from local pharmacies.    
We ask that masks be worn in all public areas of the building.  It is our expectation that those attending lectures or seminars will wear a surgical grade masks.  If you prefer, you may wear a mask with a higher rating than a typical surgical face mask; these will be rated as "FFP2" or "FFP3".   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 mask 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.

Information on when to self isolate and what to do can be found at   The COVID-19 helpdesk can help with queries from staff and postgraduate students. 

If you feel unwell at any time and particularly with any Covid-19 or flu symptoms do not come into the Department.

  • 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 2 days before symptoms started or a positive test result) or
  • you have a positive Covid-19 test

email so that we can do our best to inform any colleagues you may have been in contact with in the building.

In addition to the NHS PCR tests, the University continues to offer PCR tests to all students and staff of the University of Cambridge and Colleges.  If you have any Covid-19 symptoms, have had a positive LFT, or someone in your household has COVID, arrange to get a test.  Details of how to do this can be found on the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni page or on the Govt website.  If you have a positive Covid-19 test, inform  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 ‘Return to Work’ risk assessment.  It is the expectation that undergraduate and MPhil students will undertake 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 or ‘single Orange’ 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

The main doors to the building will be open from 08:30 - 17:00 and outside of these times to those with an access card.   Please do not let anyone tailgate you when you enter with the use of your access card.  

Please sanitize your hands with the sanitizer provided when you enter the building. The corridors and public areas of the building are spacious so there are no restrictions on movements in the Atrium, along corridors and staircases, however, please be mindful of other people when going to and from your lecture/office/workspace.

 Please do not use the lifts unless you have a disability, have made an explicit request to use the lift via, or have the permission of the Facilities Manager / Assistant. 

Meetings, seminars and practical classes

The pre-covid suggested occupancy of meeting rooms can be found at  If possible, take measures to reduce the occupancy of these rooms and be mindful of the need to distance.  Wearing masks during meetings should be the default, unless all meeting participants are very clearly and explicitly happy that masks need not be worn.
The University is following guidance to use CO2 as a guide as to the risk of COVID, with a recommendation to keep below 800ppm. The department has a large number of monitors installed to keep a general record of levels in shared spaces (initially spaces for 3 or more people), but also has two CO2 monitors, which can be borrowed from Reception if people are concerned about the number of people or the duration of a meeting. We recommend that meeting rooms are refreshed by vacating the room after 1.5 hours at a maximum so please arrange for a 30 minute break during your meeting if it will be longer than 1.5 hours.  Currently we are relying on the mechanical ventilation to refresh rooms but as we get more information on the most effective methods of refreshing rooms we will update the guidance.

Prelliminary CO2 monitoring has shown that the mechanical forced air ventilation is not suffcient in some cases:

  • In Lecture Theatre 1 the system copes with up to 90 people for a single lecture.
    If there are more than 90 people, or if lectures are run back to back with less than 30 minutes in between, EITHER outside fire doors, OR all internal doors AND courtyard doors AND roof vents, should be open.
  • In Lecture Theatre 2 the system copes with the capacity for the scheduled courses.
  • In All other Teaching Rooms doors or windows should be open for any multi-person sessions (note – the former Library is poorly vented, as is SS03 but FW26 is relatively good)

Meetings may also be held in the courtyard or in the cafe area, which is well ventilated.  Portable whiteboards are provided, please return them to where you found them.

Meeting rooms should be pre-booked through   Reception will also allow for a 30 minute gap in between meetings.

Offices and Lab Space

For those who work in the private side of the building, it will be assumed they will use their allocated office.

If more than one person in an office then either doors or windows should be left open throughout.

Masks should be worn in multi-occupancy offices, unless all occupants have confirmed they are happy to use the space without masks and complete Lateral Flow Tests three times a week. In this case, so long as everyone explicitly agrees, masks may be removed.  

Cleanliness is important.  Remember to regularly wash 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.

If you need anything from stores or reception, DO NOT go into their office, use the hatch at the front to request your item, remembering to keep your distance.  
The Royal Mail collection service and the University messenger service will operate as normal.  Please 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 recycled air throughout the room so it is particularly important to be cautious about using GN09.  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 Masks 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.  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.

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

There is reduced capacity in the Common Room so please limit the time you use the space so others can use the facility.  We will gradually be increasing capacity but  do NOT use the furniture that is currently stacked at the side of the room.  Please use a mask for transit to and from the Common Room, as well as when using the kitchens. Please only remove your mask 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.  

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), please wash your hands and sanitize equipment 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 refill 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.  


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 08:00 – 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 767444


As above, if you feel unwell at any time and particularly with any Covid-19 or flu 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 straight away please isolate yourself.  If you are not able to isolate in the room you are using, we have isolation rooms available 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 mask 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 email 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 appropriate take a Covid-19 test and let them have the result.