Over the summer we worked tirelessly to prepare our laboratories to operate in a Covid-secure manner. Although at the time of writing the University has temporarily suspended face-to-face teaching, including all of our in-lab practicals, we are using this time to ensure all our spaces are as safe as we can possibly make them for when students return.
While many activities will be delivered online using some of our range of remote practical methods, there is often no substitute for in-person practical teaching. We thought it was important to show just what it is like to prepare and deliver in-person lab teaching in the present time, and to record for the future just how we had to operate in 2020.
Benches are safely spread out, maintaining social distancing, and clearly labelled if safe to use. All equipment that students need is laid out for them in advance, to avoid mixing around the room. If we have PCs available in the labs, we are avoiding printing paper labsheets, just to remove another potential virus transmission surface.
Some labs wanted to increase their capacity to maintain as much teaching as possible. The best way to do this was to grow into the library-managed study spaces! On the right are some wind tunnnel rigs, set up at a suitably distanced spacing when used individually. On the left, what is usually "group study" space is now additional workspace for students to write up observations or process data, while keeping a safe distance.
Before students arrive at the lab, we have prepared guidance on what they should expect and how they can work safely. This includes one-way systems, and frequent hand-washing. Here is a video for just one of our lab spaces - all of the different labs that we manage have produced something similar.