Keeping our community safe on campus

"Look after yourself. Look after others." 


LSE is committed to keeping our community safe, well and supported. Find out more about our plans for a phased and flexible return to campus, and the measures we are putting in place so that together we can all help make LSE COVID-secure.

Returning to campus – our approach

The health and wellbeing of the entire School community is our top priority as we begin our phased and flexible return to campus for the next academic year in 2020/2021.

LSE’s campus and halls of residence are open to welcome students for the start of term, with a range of enhanced safety measures in place to protect and support students and staff, all in a physically distanced environment where our community can come together to work and learn safely. 

Across the summer, a small number of staff returned to campus because their role could not take place remotely or to help LSE prepare for the start of term. Where possible, all staff who can should continue to work remotely so that those who need to be on campus can do so securely. 

Returning to on-site activity requires collaboration between local leaders, who understand best how working environments operate, and central teams who have put in place a framework to support and assist a phased return. 

Explore the sections below for more information about LSE’s return to campus and go to the staff advice pages and COVID-19 Staff Resource Centre for guidance and FAQs. Current and prospective students can visit the COVID-19 advice pages.

What are the conditions that must be met for a phased return?

LSE is being guided by expert advice, including from within our own academic community, about returning to campus. Decisions rely on the following conditions being met:

  • Return is limited to staff who cannot perform their role off-campus and are essential to teaching, learning, student or staff support and School operations. Staff with unsuitable home working conditions are also considered as part of this approach, although services will continue digitally off-campus where possible.
  • Any staff member returning to campus will be asked to submit a health declaration form so that LSE can support them. Students will be asked about their health as part of the conditions of registration for the next academic session. 
  • All phases of the return must undergo Risk Assessments and Equality Impact Assessments as required, proceeding only if those are completed and appropriate mitigations put in place.
  • National lockdown easing in the UK continues as planned, with close attention to local developments. LSE is following all UK government advice and where possible we are going beyond this guidance. 

What is the plan for the return to campus?

In July 2020, we began a pilot with a small number of key professional services staff to return to work on campus. Using what we learned from this, alongside the conditions for return being met, we have staggered reopening across key work-streams, all of which remain flexible and responsive to wider circumstances. 

The stages below are based on our understanding of the current situation. Phases are being managed collaboratively between central services and departments, divisions and centres.

From July 2020:

- Campus preparation
- Pilot of key professional service staff return
- Staggered re-opening of halls of residence 
- Phased Library Building re-opening (Library services will remain online, with the building open to a small number of research students only at this time)
- Phased research staff return.

From August 2020:

- Essential staff on campus
- Executive Education 

From September 2020:
- Students return 
- LSE buildings open for use, with COVID-secure measures and protocols in place.

Where possible, all staff who can should continue work remotely so that those who need to be on campus to work and study can do so safely in a physically distanced environment. If you think you need to return to campus, contact your Head of Department, Service Lead or Department Manager. 

More information can be found in the COVID-19 Staff Resources Centre.

What measures are being put in place to ensure safety on campus? 

We are putting a robust set of protocols in place that takes a holistic view of how to keep our community safe, well and supported. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Mandatory face coverings whilst indoors on campus in shared areas and in communal spaces in halls of residence. These will be provided to staff and students alongside disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser, as well as personal teaching equipment and personal protective equipment for staff as required. 
  • Enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices, as well as hand sanitising stations across campus and disinfectant wipes for classroom settings.
  • Recalibrating space to ensure physical distancing, with floor markings, controlled access to campus buildings, one-way circulation routes, reduced capacities in teaching and social learning spaces, reviewed and improved air flow and ventilation where required, and screens at reception desks. 
  • Mechanisms to identify and assist individuals and the community more widely if people are unwell. We are launching LSE Trace, our trace and isolate process, as well as on-site testing facilities.
  • Support for commuters, such as increased facilities for cyclists.
  • Working remotely where possible, so that those who need to come onto campus to work and study can do so safely.

Safety on campus involves everyone looking after ourselves and one another, and we are committed to working with the LSE community in the year ahead to develop measures that strengthen our School on an ongoing basis. Further guidance can be found at the COVID staff Resource Centre, advice for students and advice for offer holder pages. 

Who is involved in the return to campus?

LSE leadership convened the Return to Campus Working Group in May 2020 to focus on planning and preparation for our return to campus. The Group is chaired by Director of Estates and includes representatives from all parts of the School involved in return planning: professional service divisions, academic departments, Trade Unions, and the Students’ Union. 

The Group is providing recommendations to the Director and School Management Committee about how to best ensure a safe and measured return to campus, guided by expert advice including from within our own academic community. 

The re-opening of campus at local levels is being undertaken by key leaders in these areas, with guidance, advice and support available from central services and on the Staff Resources Centre. 

Where can I get further information and support, especially if I am planning my local area’s return to campus?

The best place to start is the Staff Resource Centre, which has a wide range of guidance documents including: 

  • Estates Action plan return to campus
  • Floor plans for campus and ventilation
  • Risk Assessment protocol
  • Equality Impact Assessment guidance
  • Information for staff and managers on sickness absence, support for furloughed staff and other ways in which we should be assisting our community during this time as they take on additional responsibilities, both in and outside of work.  

What will LSE do if the government announces another 'lockdown' in London?

LSE is putting in place comprehensive health and safety measures on campus to keep you safe and secure while on campus and in halls of residence. This will include campus markings to ensure social distancing, the wearing of face masks and enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices. We will always, as a minimum, follow government advice regarding the safety of our students and staff.  

We hope that London does not experience another lockdown in the 2020-21 academic year but we have developed contingency plans for such a situation to ensure that you continue to receive an excellent educational experience. It is not possible to provide details on all possible teaching, learning and support scenarios as government guidance will vary according to local conditions. However, the School will be ready to do the following:  

  • Issue clear guidance from the School and your department regarding the plans for teaching, learning and support
  • Implement government advice regarding student and staff access to campus
  • Provide lectures online in the Lent Term
  • Pivot in-person teaching to synchronous and asynchronous online provision using the mechanisms in place in Michaelmas Term to support those students unable travel to campus
  • Deliver departmental teaching materials via Moodle
  • Provide support services remotely, via Zoom, Teams, email, telephone, Livechat, etc.  
  • Provide support and guidance for your health and well-being via Zoom appointments and web-based information
  • Continue office hours with academic mentors online
  • Maintain access to the online Library materials
  • Deliver department-appropriate assessments online, taking into account the specific needs of quantitative and qualitative programmes
  • Provide support and advice to students resident in LSE and UoL halls of residence
  • Make available hardship funds for vulnerable students adversely affected by the pandemic
  • Offer practical guidance and adopt a sympathetic approach to students seeking to interrupt their studies. 

When can I return to campus?

This will depend on your role at LSE, whether you can work remotely and plans at local levels. Contact local leadership for more information.