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COVID-19 Secure Activity Guidance

Last Updated 23 March 2021

Planned In Person Activity Roadmap

29 March

  • Outdoor Sports Club core activity can resume in line with approved covid-19 risk assessments
  • Outdoor Society core activity off campus can resume with rule of six in place

12 April

  • Bloomsbury Fitness will reopen for individual training only 

17 May

  • Indoor Sports Club core activity can resume in line with approved covid-19 risk assessments.
  • Union activity spaces will reopen with core indoor society activity in these spaces resuming with 2 metre social distancing required at all times.
  • Outdoor non-core activity can resume in line with government guidance on group size and household mixing. Where this activity is not covered in your core risk assessment you will need to submit an additional risk assessment for prior approval. 
  • Social Activity in line with government guidence (See Social Activity section below for details)

21 June

  • TBC


  • Introduction

  • Key Principles

  • Pre-activity Checklist

  • Membership

  • Attendance Recording

  • COVID-19 Officers

  • Incident Reporting

  • General Guidance: Applicable to All Activity

  • Union and UCL Room Guidance: Indoor

  • Union and UCL: Outdoor Activities

  • Social Activity

  • Sporting Activity

  • Rehearsals

  • Other Activity


We have developed the guidance below in line with government guidance and UCL policy. It has been designed to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission to acceptable levels, in order to keep your student community safe. We therefore ask everyone to play their part in ensuring this guidance is followed to protect your peers and ensure we can continue to support and protect student activity. In the event we are not satisfied that activity is being carried out as outlined we will have no choice but to revert back to an entirely online approach. This is new territory for us and we recognise that this guidance may need to adapt and change at short notice, so please work with us to overcome the challenges we face collectively so we can support as wide a range of safe in-person activity as possible.

Please note:

  • At this time, only core activity may take place in-person (e.g. football club playing football, dance society running a dance rehearsal, debating society hosting a student debate). We are currently unable to support in-person non-core activity for clubs or societies but would encourage you to consider online alternatives.
  • Club and society core activity may only take place on UCL campus or at a COVID-secure venue in line with government guidelines.
  • For Societies please note that only CORE activity with a clear Educational Purpose can be approved as in person activity on campus. However Societies can take part in TeamUCL and Project Active leagues. 
  • In line with the Government’s ’stay local’ guidance please be mindful of this when considering the below. 

Key Principles

  1. Safety of our members is our top priority and we will not support activities which pose an unacceptable level of risk.
  2. All decisions about which activities can take place will be in line with government and UCL specific guidance and taken by the Union on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Where necessary we will direct and defer to guidance developed by appropriate bodies e.g. sporting National Governing Bodies.
  4. We expect all groups to adopt an online-first approach bearing in mind that during this period many students will not physically be able to access activity.
  5. Despite the control measures, no activity is without risk, and it should be up to individuals to decide which activities they feel comfortable taking part in.
  6. Where in-person activity is being delivered, activity leaders must ensure all relevant control measures are enacted.
  7. For anything not specified in this document, the latest government guidance must be followed. 

Pre-Activity Checklist

Before any in-person activity can take place you must:

  • Have read and understood the guidance on this webpage.

  • Have updated and resubmitted your core risk assessment and received Union sign-off.

  • SPORTS CLUBS ONLY - have submitted your NGB Return to Play Guidance.

  • SOCIETIES ONLY - if your activity is taking place off campus you must submit an additional risk assessment for prior approval - please note that in line with new government guidelines the maximum number of individuals who can take place in activities off campus outdoors is 30 and indoors is 6. For social activity please refer to the 17th May update below.

  • List your activity on the Students’ Union What’s On Calendar.

  • Ensure all activity leaders have read your updated core risk assessment.

  • Ensure all participants are members.

  • Have measures in place to ensure that the maximum capacity of each activity is not surpassed.

If any of the above steps have not been met, your activity should not take place.

We will publish a list of clubs and societies who have been approved for in-person activity on the Union website. For any student group not on the list, no in-person activity can take place.


Please note that no one can attend any in person activity (including taster sessions) unless they hold current club/society membership.

Remote membership is sufficient for students attending taster sessions. Should someone choose to continue attending in person activity, they should upgrade to the relevant membership via the Union website.

There are no exceptions to this rule and any group found to have been allowing non-members to be involved in activity will have all in person activity immediately stopped.

Attendance Recording

  • Attendee data now needs to be kept for 28 days

  • Please note that in line with UCLs new policy, you must hold an accurate record of all attendees for in person activities for 28 days (previously 21).

  • This data may be requested from NHS Test and Trace in the event of an outbreak.

  • Activity leaders are responsible for ensuring a register is taken and saved digitally in line with our GDPR policy - we will carry out spot checks to ensure the data is being collected appropriately.

  • Only club/society members may attend the activity. Memberships must be completed/purchased prior to arrival at any in-person activity without exception.

Covid-19 Officer

The Club or Society President will be the designated COVID-19 Officer. They must do the following:

  • Hold all attendee data for any in person activity held within the last 28 days.
  • Be contactable via mobile and email. It is expected that you will respond within 3 hours of receiving an urgent request for data from the Union.
  • Have full understanding of approved COVID-19 risk assessment and ensure it is followed at all times.
  • Ensure that the specified capacity for your activity (in line with your risk assessment, Return to Play Plans and room capacity guidelines) is never exceeded.
  • Report any concerns about activity, potential breaches or issues to the Union as soon as possible.

If there is a legitimate reason why the President cannot be the COVID-19 Officer you must inform us in writing as soon as possible providing details about which committee member will be taking on the role.

Incident Reporting 

If you or one of your members develops symptoms of COVID-19 or has been in close contact with anyone who has had a positive test they should do the following:

        •    Contact NHS Test and Trace Immediately to book a test.

        •    Self-Isolate and do not attend any in person activity.

        •    Follow any guidance provided by NHS Test and Trace.

 If a member of a club or society tests positive they should do the following:

        •    Notify us as soon as possible by emailing providing the following information:

        1. UPI

        2. UCL Username

        3. A list of any in person club or society activity attended including name of group(s) and date, time and specific location of activity within the past 14 days.

        •    When NHS Test and Trace request details about your recent contacts provide them with the email address –

Please use the connect to protect tool  - to report if you have symptoms of COVID-19, a positive COVID-19 test, or are self-isolating, so that we can coordinate risk management. Any data you provide is kept private and confidential.

General Guidance: Applicable to All Activity

Control Measures:

  • Social distancing of 2 meters should be maintained in all spaces with anyone who is not within your household. The exception to this is where specific references are made within a NGB return to play plan.
  • All participants must maintain good hand hygiene, and should use hand sanitiser or wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds before and after activities.
  • All activities must be added to our What’s On Calendar. In the event the activity is not on the What’s On Calendar, it will be cancelled.
  • Clubs and societies may only meet in-person for the purpose of carrying out core activity. This means that post-activity drinks, picnics etc. are not permitted. Members should arrive shortly before the scheduled activity session and leave promptly afterwards.
  • No club or society group activity should take place in anyone’s home, even if social distancing can be maintained. These spaces are not regarded as COVID-19 secure and therefore government guidelines must be followed.

  • No cash must exchange hands at any point in any activity. If there is a cost/ticket prices on a specific activity this must be taken via the Union website. You can submit a ticket request form here.

  • You are strongly encouraged to wear a face cover at all times indoor or outdoor in line with UCL guidance.  You must wear a face cover if you cannot maintain social distancing of 2 meters.

  • Equally we recognise that there may be good reasons why you are not able to wear a face covering which include:

    • If you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering.

    • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress.

    • If you are with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.
    • If you need to eat, drink, or take medication.
  • We expect clubs and societies to consider the communication needs of those around you, and wear a clear face cover when necessary.
  • Any waste generated from your activity must be disposed of in line with local guidance.

  • Individuals are encouraged to attend only 1 arranged group activity per day to avoid transmission between groups.

  • Where possible members should travel to in-person activity by walking or cycling and must follow local guidance on traveling on public transport. The sharing of cars with individuals from different households is not permitted.

  • If any individuals show symptoms of COVID-19 they should self-isolate in line with government guidelines immediately, seek a test from the NHS and inform the activity leader they are doing so.

  • Symptoms include:

    • A high temperature

    • A new continuous cough

    • A loss or change in your sense of smell or taste

  • Any individual who displays any symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend any club or society activities throughout their period of self-isolation.

  • Any individual who is shielding or from a higher risk group should follow government guidance and only attend activities if they feel safe to do so.

  • Individuals who fit into this group should contact the president of the relevant group and the Union where we will consider if an advanced risk assessment may be appropriate.

Union and UCL Room Guidance: Indoor

The following guidance applies to all Union and UCL indoor spaces unless it is expressly indicated otherwise and should be followed in addition to the general guidance above. 

Control Measures:

  • The number of individuals attending any activity indoors will be limited to the designated COVID-19 capacity of the  space and will vary depending on the specific activity type.

  • For all Society Activity on campus more than six individuals can attend as long as they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction closer than 2 metres between any individual at any time including entering and exiting the activity space. The maximum number of attendees for our indoor spaces is dependent on the designated COVID capacity of each space.

  • Club and society activity leaders should use booking systems to ensure capacity is not exceeded. We encourage leaders to ensure a fair mix of individuals who wish to take part in in-person activity are able to attend on a rotational basis.

  • The maximum duration of any indoor activity will be 1 hour.

  • Bookings must be made at least 5 term days in advance and will be approved by email confirmation.

  • For booking spaces in Bloomsbury Fitness, the local procedures must be followed.

  • Windows in Union spaces will be left open and should be kept open wherever possible during activities.

  • Hand sanitiser stations will be available throughout our buildings and these should be used regularly - as a minimum before entering our spaces and when you leave.

  • To decrease risk of transmission for all rooms, no keys will be handed out. All rooms will be left open throughout the day with a timetable of approved activities displayed. You must not enter the rooms unless your activity is on this approved list.

  • There should be no gatherings outside of activity spaces, in corridors etc. and all attendees must leave the building or space immediately after the approved booking time ends.

  • For the Bloomsbury Theatre building groups should wait downstairs or outside where possible to avoid congestion or breakdown of social distancing in corridors.

  • The majority of furniture will be removed from our Union activity spaces. It must be returned to its original position at the end of every activity.

  • All surfaces will be cleaned regularly with sanitiser between activities which conforms to BSEN1276 (removal of bacteria) and BSEN14476 (elimination of enveloped viruses)

  • Spaces must be booked in advance and only be used for the activity stated at the time of booking.

  • Booking for both Union and UCL spaces for clubs and societies will be coordinated by the Union and on a case-by-case basis. Room use requests must be made at least 5 term time days in advance.

  • All spaces must be vacated by the end time of your booking. We will be leaving 20 minute breaks between bookings where spot checks and additional cleaning may be carried out.

  • Food consumption in rooms is discouraged, where it does happen no food, utensils or cutlery may be shared.

  • All food consumed should be bought by individuals for individual consumption - no groups should order in or prepare food to share.

Union and UCL: Outdoor Activities

This guidance is specific to activities being run outside on UCL campus only and should be followed in addition to the general guidance provided. We will be covering a number of outdoor spaces on UCL campus including the Wilkins Terrace and a section of the main quad. This guidance does not apply to outdoor activities off UCL campus.

Control Measures

  • The number of individuals attending any activity outdoors will be limited to to the designated COVID-19 capacity of the space and will vary depending on the specific activity type.
  • The capacity of the space in use must be at least 4 x the number of individuals attending.

  • All bookings must be used for the stated activity only. Bookings must be made at least 5 term time days in advance and will be approved by email confirmation.
  • The maximum duration of any outdoor activity should be kept as short as is practically possible.

  • Any waste generated from your activity must be placed in the nearest UCL bins provided.
  • For all Society Activity on campus more than six individuals can attend as long as they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than 6 at any time including entering and exiting the activity space. The maximum number of attendees for our outdoor spaces is 24 on the Wilkins Terrace split into four groups of six.

Social Activity

From 17 May 2021, the Government COVID regulations and guidance is changing, so how does this affect Clubs and Societies?
We are hoping that this is the next step to returning to being an active and exciting activities programme for UCL students! We of course want to see you all back and doing the great things you do, but it is important for us all to do so safely and in line with guidance to ensure we can continue to make progress!

We can begin to resume non-core activities for our student groups, provided that they still comply with government guidelines AND you have completed an approved Additional Risk Assessment for any larger scale activity not covered by your annual risk assessment including any activity with an overnight stay of any kind.

We don’t want to put up any unnecessary barriers to you carrying out social activity if its in line with government guidelines so, if you are run a picnic in a park or a trip to a venue you can do so as of 17 May without submitting a risk assessment - you just need to make sure the latest government and local venue guidance is followed. 

Think about it this way; if you are having a meal with a few friends in your society that is all in line with government regulations, you are good to go, but if you were hiring the restaurant or space for a club or society led event, you would need to submit an additional risk assessment.

What this means in practice:

For any non-sporting activity off campus: 

  • All activity must adhere to the numbers outlined by the Government:

  • Maximum 30 people outdoors

  • Maximum 6 people indoors or 2 households 

  • You should make sure all individuals involved follow local contact tracing requirements.

We recommend that you try to hold activity outside where possible to keep members safer. 

You should also remember the Hands, Space, Face rules and remind your members of these:

  • Hands should be frequently washed with soap and water for at least 30 seconds and when this is not available, hand sanitizer should be used. 

  • 2 Metres social distancing must be observed throughout the activity between any people who are not from the same household. 

  • A face covering should be worn as directed by all involved (unless exempt). 

  • You should encourage members to take regular free COVID tests -  for more information on what is available from UCL please see the link below

  • If you are indoors, you should also make sure the space is well-ventilated with windows open for the circulation of fresh air. 

Society Sport

If you are a society planning to deliver sporting activity please get in contact with the activities team so we can ensure you have the most up to date national governing body guidance on how to deliver sport safely. 

Trips and Tours

UK based trips are now permitted within government guidance. If you are planning on holding a club or society trip please remember to complete your additional risk assessment at least 2 weeks before your planned trip.

If you are planning a trip or tour that involves overseas travel this will not be permitted until after 5 September in line with the government’s University guidance. then you should contact the activities team as soon as possible to discuss your plans. You will also need to submit an additional risk assessment for approval at least 8 weeks in advance of your planned trip.

Due to the uncertainty around international travel, planning and approval of events of this nature will take much longer than usual as we work to try to ensure any plans fall in line with government, UCL and FCO guidance and do not pose an unacceptable level of financial risk.

For all further guidance about permitted core activities check the website … 

If you are in any doubt about an activity or what you can/can’t do, just pop the Activities Team an email at and we will do our best to help!

Sporting Activity

All sports clubs should provide a copy of their National Governing Body (NGB) ‘return to play’ plan alongside their updated risk assessment. Most NGB plans can be found here: all sporting activity will be delivered in line with the respective NGB return to play plan.

Any sports club without an NGB return to play plan should contact the Sports Development Manager for guidance. Please note that it is unlikely that any in-person activity will be permitted for sports where no NGB guidance is available but each sport will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Any sporting activity must take place at a COVID-secure venue. Activity should comply with the respective venue’s risk assessment. Sporting activity may also take place outdoors, where appropriate, but this should only be within publicly accessible or bookable spaces i.e. private gardens are not compliant. Please take note of the road map at the top of this page in relation to the return of outdoor and indoor sporting activity.

With the exception of British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) events, no inter-University competition, or competition with external sporting clubs/participants should take place without explicit prior approval from the sports development manager. 

From 29 March 2021 If competition is permitted within the relevant NGB return to play plan and a club wishes to take part in an inter-University competition/fixture, or competition with external sporting clubs/participants the club president/treasurer or designated covid-19 officer should complete an activity request form. This form should be submitted 14 days ahead of the proposed activity. A separate form should be submitted for activity request.

This type of activity may only take place once it has been formally authorised by the Sports Development Manager through an approved activity request form.

Only club members and registered and approved coaches/instructors should have access to your activity. If you require the services of an external official e.g. referee, umpire you must ensure they are qualified and affiliated to the relevant NGB- they should also be fully aware of the latest NGB guidance on covid regulations. 

Aside from those sports whose NGB return to play plan clearly specifies an exemption, and where it has been approved within a club risk assessment, there should be no more than 6  people present at any in-person sporting activity (including participants, coaches, umpires, non-playing members).

You should plan your activity in a way that guarantees you will not surpass attendance limits as set out in your NGB return to play plan. E.g. if you are running a training session and your maximum number of attendees is 20 (number specified within the NGB return to play plan), you should implement a clear registration/sign-up process to ensure this number is not surpassed.

When organising in-person activity you should try where possible to create and stick to consistent ‘training bubbles’. This could be done by separating training into set teams, restricting people to attending on training on one set day per week or creating beginner, intermediate and advanced activity groups.

Wherever possible members should provide their own equipment. In cases where shared equipment is required e.g. balls, there should be a clear process for cleaning before, after and if necessary during the session. No shared playing kits or bibs should be used.

With the exception of some on-campus spaces, clubs are responsible for providing cleaning products to clean shared equipment. When taking place in activity off-site, individual members are responsible for providing their own hand sanitiser to be used prior to and after activity.

At present, sports clubs may only meet in-person for the purpose of carrying out core sporting-activity. This means that post-activity drinks, picnics etc. are not permitted. Members should arrive shortly before the scheduled activity session and leave promptly afterwards. Please note that this is due to be reviewed on 17 May in line with the government roadmap


For rehearsals involving any form of singing, brass or wind instruments the following must be adhered to in addition to the general activity guidance above.

Control Measures

  • Where possible rehearsals should be carried out outdoors.
  • If rehearsals are carried out indoors in Union rooms they must have adequate ventilation.

    Ensure all windows are kept open fully for the duration of any rehearsal.
  • In line with new government guidance amateur performing arts group sizes must be reduced to a maximum of 6 individuals. 

  • Non-professional performing arts activity, including choirs, orchestras or drama groups can continue to rehearse or perform together where this is planned activity in line with the performing arts guidance and if they can do so in a way that ensures that there is no interaction between groups of more than 6 at any time. If an amateur group is not able to ensure that no mingling takes place between these sub-groups of no more than 6 (including when arriving at or leaving activity or in any breaks or socialising) then such non-professional activity should not take place.

    Societies must communicate this clearly to members in advance of rehearsals
  • The capacity for rehearsal rooms must be at least 4 x the number of participants.

    The Union will designate certain spaces COVID-19 secure rehearsal spaces with suggested rehearsal layouts.
  • Any aspects of productions that can take place remotely must be run digitally. This includes casting, committee meetings and independent rehearsal.
  • Floor tape must be used to mark areas where performers can be spaced during a rehearsal.

    The Union will provide tape and clearly mapped out spacing plans for use during your activities which must be disposed of in the designated areas after use.
  • There must be no audience or non-essential people in attendance at rehearsals under any circumstances.

    This includes committee members not involved in the rehearsal.
  • Time spent singing must be limited where possible, with the minimum number of singers in attendance as possible.

    This is due to the risk of droplet transmission and aerosol generation.
  • During rehearsals which include singing or brass/wind instruments a minimum of 3 meter social distancing must be in place.

    A gap of at least 3 meters should be maintained between each singer, between singers and any other people such as conductors, other musicians or accompanists.
  • Where possible performers should be positioned side-to-side or back-to-back avoiding singing face-to-face wherever possible.

    The Union will work with any group to create specific layout plans based on the rehearsal requirements and to minimise the risk of transmission.
  • Particular regard must be paid to the position of instruments with lateral transmission such as piccolos and flutes.

    At least 3 meters must be maintained between the transmission point of the instrument and the next performer.
  • No instruments or equipment of any kind should be shared in any way between participants.

    Only personal instruments, owned by individuals should generally be used. However, if the society owns instruments they must be thoroughly sanitised before and after each use.
  • Each member attending a group rehearsal involving singing, brass or wind instruments must confirm they have not shown any symptoms before attending a rehearsal.

  • If any member of a rehearsal develops symptoms the entire group must self-isolated in line with government guidelines.

    The activity leader should inform the Union immediately if this occurs.

Other Activity Types

Storage and Equipment

A limited supply of Union equipment can be borrowed including cameras and live streaming equipment. You must ensure you sanitise this equipment with the provided wipes after use and return to the designated area. A guide for booking equipment will be published here.

When using Union equipment, including computers, projectors and live broadcasting or conference kit they must be wiped down thoroughly with the provided sanitiser wipes.

Groups are encouraged to ensure only 1 individual comes into contact with Union/UCL equipment per session wherever possible.

In most cases equipment (e.g. musical instruments, racquets) must not be shared between participants. In order to minimise the risk of fomite transmission. Individuals must use their own equipment only and no hiring of equipment is permitted.

Access to storage areas to collect club and society equipment will be limited and by appointment only. A guide for accessing storage areas will be published here.


All meetings such as committee meetings, 1 to 1 catch ups or meetings to discuss projects must be carried out remotely via Microsoft Teams or a similar platform.

Democracy and Elections

All AGMs, EGMs, by-elections and changes to constitutions etc. must be carried out through the Union website - you can request an online by-election through this webform. If you would like to have a referendum to make changes to your constitution, please email

Trips Abroad

Due to the fast changing nature of FCO and other guidance on overseas travel we will not support trips aboard apart from in exceptional circumstances. If you think this applies to your group you must book a meeting with the relevant Union staff member before you start planning your trip.

Any trip abroad will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will need to include an additional risk assessment incorporating governance guidance. 

Overnight Stays in the UK

We advise against any overnight stays at the current time, however will consider requests for specific activities as appropriate - we will review this as guidance from the government and UCL changes.

If you would like to arrange any activity with an overnight stay an additional risk assessment will be required - you must book a meeting with the relevant Union staff member before you start planning your activity. 


While we would encourage you to take part in group volunteering activities with the community, these must all, without exception be run through the Union Volunteering Service and at COVID-secure sites. The team will help you risk assess your activities to ensure appropriate mitigations are in place.


At the moment we will not be approving any activity involving the production or distribution of food of any kind. We will review this later in Term 1. We also cannot approve any group activity at pubs, bars or restaurants. You should follow the latest goverment advice, available on their website.


In line with government guidance places of worship can open for services and group prayer, but should operate in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidelines. The guidelines for indoor or outdoor activities detailed must be followed. We will also be actively supporting any groups who wish to do so to live stream religious activities and group prayer.

External Speakers

We encourage groups to run external speaker events online wherever possible to avoid in person contact. Our normal External Speaker Policy still applies to online events, including the requirement to submit requests at least 10 clear term times days in advance of an event. Please see the policy here.

We will not be able to approve in person external speaker events apart from in exceptional circumstances and ask that everyone runs external speaker events online. 

Public Events

All public events (events open for non-UCL students/members to attend) will need to be run virtually in term 1. We will consider specific requests in line with government guidance but it is unlikely we can support large scale activities open to the general public. There are a number of online conference tools which we can use to support any group wishing to run a large scale event.