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Safety on campus

Student protocol for attending the library

Birkbeck is committed to providing a safe environment while you study and use facilities in the Library.

Birkbeck Library reopened study spaces without booking, from Monday 27 September 2021, check for current opening hours. The Library’s main enquiry and support services continue to be delivered online. For more information on Library services, please view the Library website, and Service adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic page.

Before going into the Library on the day you have booked, please take a rapid lateral flow test. You can either take a test at home, use a local testing centre or the Camden testing centre. Results are usually received within 30 minutes.

To keep our College community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have a responsibility to follow these protocols. These protocols will remain subject to amendment and change depending on NHS advice.

Before you arrive

  • Please ensure that you are coming into the College for a specific purpose, i.e. a prearranged appointment with a member of staff or access to pre-booked study space in the Library.
  • Consult the guidance provided on the NHS 111 website to ‘self-check’ for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow any advice and guidance that arises.
  • Please prepare a face covering and ensure that you bring it with you for your visit. View the government advice on face coverings.
  • Please consider the location you need to go to before visiting the campus. Your department will have written to you directly about this if a module requires in-person attendance. You should consult your personal timetable on My Birkbeck to work out which room you need to go to.
  • Consider if you need to eat or drink before you arrive on campus. The Perch café will be open but you will not be able to eat or drink in this area.
  • Please limit the possessions that you bring with you. While on campus you remain responsible for the security of your own possessions. We are unable to store lost property.
  • Walk or cycle wherever possible.
  • Avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times like rush hour.
  • Download the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible, and check in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters.
  • If travelling from areas which are undergoing surge testing, it is especially important to ensure that you are tested before you travel.

During your visit

  • Before entering our buildings you will be welcomed by a member of our customer service team. These colleagues will ask you where you are going on campus and check you have a face covering to wear once inside. We will try to avoid refusing entry to anyone but we must also ensure that we are keeping everyone in the buildings safe. Wearing a mask in a building or on public transport is now a key way for us to fight COVID-19.
  • All visitors to our buildings, including students and staff, must (subject to defined exceptions) wear a face covering for the duration of their time inside the building. This includes while in classes and even when individuals are alone. This is critical in reducing the potential for the transmission of COVID-19 in person or via surfaces.
  • The College has adopted a ‘1M+’ approach to social distancing in circulation areas across the estate. This means that people should maintain a two-metre distance as far as is reasonably possible while in buildings but, with the mitigation of face coverings, it is possible for people to be in closer proximity, for example when passing each other in corridors. However, when people are in rooms for prolonged periods, such as in a classroom, library or shared office space, then a two-metre social distance should be maintained. This will be supported by laying out furniture, such as classroom desks or library study spaces, with two metres spacing.
  • Please do not move any furniture or seating when using Birkbeck facilities. This will have been set up with specific distancing and safety in mind.
  • Please take note of all signage and instructions displayed in the buildings with regard to your safety, including prompts in relation to regular hand-washing and the use of toilet facilities.
  • Please do not shout or raise your voice in order to communicate over a long distance or overcome background noise as this increases the risk of transmission. Equally please refrain from generating loud background noise, for example through the playing of music or loud conversation.

After your visit

  • Please continue to monitor your wellbeing after your visit by following the guidance on the NHS 111 website.
  • If you do subsequently need to self-isolate or contract COVID 19 (regardless of where you think you may have contracted it) please inform us by completing the notification process via My Birkbeck for students.
  • If you are subsequently contacted by the NHS track and trace programme and are asked for a contact at College to support contact tracing, please provide the following email address: . This is our preferred approach as it reduces the anxiety and confusion that can sometimes be caused by trying to contact people via social media or other means.

Face coverings

Please follow the NHS guidance on face coverings. There are legitimate exemptions to the requirement to wear a face covering but equally, individuals who consider themselves to be exempt should give careful consideration of the risks of entering buildings without a face covering, prior to their visit.

The College recognises that these are extremely challenging times and that people will be anxious about their safety, which in turn may lead to assumptions and misunderstandings in relation to the wearing of face coverings. It is reasonable, for health and safety reasons, to be able to seek clarification through ‘polite enquiry’ of those not wearing face coverings, but also to respect the fact that some individuals may have legitimate exemptions from doing so.


If you have questions about any of the above please contact the Student Advice Service