Lifting lockdown — next steps at Leeds

Email sent to all staff on 4 March 2021.

Dear colleagues,

Following the Government announcement about the roadmap out of lockdown and publication of new guidance for higher education providers, I am writing to you with an update on what you can expect in the coming weeks.

There are still many uncertainties, and we must be mindful that we need to remain flexible in our planning, but the roadmap offers hope for the journey ahead.

Our overriding priority continues to be the provision of safe working environments for staff and students, and I have provided below an update on our planning and next steps at Leeds.

Teaching arrangements

In line with Government guidance, we are introducing face-to-face teaching for students on practical or practice-based courses who need specialist resources to complete their studies.  

We have been working with schools to identify which groups of students might resume face-to-face practical teaching over the last three weeks of term (that is, from 8 to 26 March) and with Estates and the Health and Safety service to assess the associated space requirements. We will be confirming the plan very soon, and we have developed a template for schools to use when contacting these students.

The template has been shared with Pro-Deans and Faculty Education Service Managers, and reminds students:

  • that campus facilities are for essential use only;
  • to take a lateral flow test twice a week; and
  • to wear face coverings.

Students will be contacted today and advised to continue with online learning and teaching if they haven’t heard from their school by the end of the day on Tuesday 9 March. This email will be available to view on the coronavirus website

In the meantime, and until further notice, please continue with your current working, teaching and research arrangements and remember to follow the hands, face, space guidelines

Working on campus

It is expected that the majority of staff will continue to work from home for the time being unless you are notified that you can come onto campus.

If your line manager or head of school/service notifies you that you are required to be on campus, they will add you to the approved staff list. Before coming onto campus there are several steps to take, including completing the HR return to campus questionnaire (which will be sent to you) and booking a lateral flow test.

For more information and details of the safety measures that are in place, read our working on campus guidance.

Facilities and travel to campus 

The Government has requested that our campus facilities, including libraries and study spaces are provided for ‘essential access’ only at the moment. We are working to open more facilities in line with the Government roadmap and we will keep you updated as we do.   

If you are travelling to Leeds, our commuting and travel to campus webpage has information on active travel options, our new cycle to work scheme, public transport and parking on campus. The campus Bike Hub is also open if you need help fixing your bike or would like to hire one.  

For the most up to date information, visit campus service updates to find out about other available facilities including prayer spaces, services in the LUU building and takeaways from campus cafes. 

Please also make yourself aware of where you need to wear a face covering or mask when on campus. 

Use of face coverings on campus 

We’ve updated our information on face coverings, including when and where they should be worn on campus, where you can collect a free reusable one and how to approach someone who’s not wearing a face covering, whilst being mindful that not everyone is required to wear them. Please also read new information on the wearing of face shields (visors) and their use in combination with a face covering.

Asymptomatic testing for students and staff 

Staff, PGRs and students currently on or returning to campus are encouraged to take a twice-weekly lateral flow test on campus. Twice-weekly testing will help to break chains of transmission, identify asymptomatic infections and further ensure safety on campus to enable a return to face-to-face teaching as soon as is possible. Free lateral flow testing on campus is available to book online.

Advising students 

For those students invited to return for face-to-face teaching, guidance on travel and testing along with frequently asked questions about returning to Leeds is available on our spring term arrangements web pages. They will also receive detailed information from schools.

Students who have not been invited to return have been advised not to travel to campus until notified.

Our student and PGR advice on the coronavirus website has been updated in line with latest Government guidelines. Communications are also being shared with students stressing the importance of face coverings, that campus facilities are, at present, for essential use only and reminding students to take a lateral flow test on their return to Leeds and twice a week thereafter.

Future arrangements

Plans for the 2021/22 academic year, including arrangements for new ways of working for all colleagues, are also being considered and we will be in touch about this in due course. 

Your comments and questions

We are using Microsoft Forms to capture and consider feedback on the re-opening process. Please use this form, rather than email, to share any comments and questions you have relating to re-opening. Whilst we will not be able to respond to individual questions using this mechanism, your feedback will help to shape the process and future communications.

With best wishes,

Roger Gair

University Secretary