Lifting lockdown | Step 3 on the Government roadmap

Email sent to all staff on Tuesday 11 May 2021 from Roger Gair, University Secretary.

Dear colleagues, 

Following yesterday's Government announcement that England will move to step 3 on the roadmap out of lockdown, I am writing to you with an update on what this means for Leeds, the summer term and arrangements for beginning to return to campus.  

As we continue to reopen services, activities and plan our next steps, our priority continues to be to provide safe working environments for you and our students. The information below shares an update on our planning and the next steps at Leeds – we will also be sharing a similar communication with students.  

Teaching for the remainder of the summer term  

The Government has confirmed that from Monday 17 May all remaining students can return to in-person teaching. Students will be expected to participate in twice-weekly lateral flow testing.  

In practice, many of our students will by then be participating in assessments and not engaged in teaching activities. However, for the Postgraduate Taught students who joined us in January, teaching is continuing and colleagues have been making plans as to how to resume face-to-face teaching for these students.  

Students who will receive face-to-face teaching will be contacted directly by their schools as soon as possible this week.  

Services reopening on campus 

From Monday 17 May, in line with step 3 on the Government roadmap, hospitality venues (such as cafes and bars) can seat customers indoors, indoor entertainment and adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart and people can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors.

In line with this, the following facilities and services will be available from Monday 17 May:  


All adults in England are encouraged to take two lateral flow tests a week.  

Students are encouraged to take a test before they travel back to university, either through their local community testing programme or by ordering a free test online.  

On arrival at university, students should take three tests at an on-site testing facility (3-4 days apart). This is to reduce the risk of transmission following the movement of students across the country.  

After undertaking their initial tests on arrival at university, students and staff should test twice a week, either using home test kits or at an on-site facility. Staff, students and postgraduate researchers can book a free test at our campus test site 

You can get lateral flow home testing kits from your local pharmacy, a PCR test site (including the one located at the Gryphon Sports Centre) and you can also get them sent to your home 

Staff and students are reminded that if they test positive they should report it to the University and the NHS, please see our reporting guidance on the coronavirus website  

Face coverings 

We are reviewing our current guidance on the use of face coverings and we will keep you updated. Until then, please follow the current guidelines. 

Overseas travel 

We are in the process of updating our travel guidance in light of the new information. This update will be shared with colleagues next week. For current advice on managing study abroad and work placements, fieldwork in the UK and overseas and booking travel, see our staff travel advice 


Recently we asked students graduating in 2020 and 2021 how they’d prefer to celebrate their successes. Almost 5,000 people responded, with the majority requesting an in-person graduation celebration that family and friends can attend. 

Like many other universities, we won't be able to hold in-person graduation celebrations this summer, but we will ensure that everyone who graduated in 2020, and those graduating in 2021, are able to attend an in-person graduation ceremony, in academic dress at the Great Hall. We can't give a date as to when this will be, but we are planning for it to be in Spring 2022.

We are also arranging, for two weeks from Monday 14 June, a summer end-of-term celebration on campus (with appropriate covid measures in place). This will include street food, music and the opportunity for those due to graduate this summer – and those who graduated last year – to have official photographs taken in academic dress (with no charge for gown hire). We are also exploring the feasibility of having some online ceremonies for students who want them.   

Returning to campus  

The Government’s key principle remains that up to Monday 21 June (step 4 on the Government roadmap), we should continue to work from home wherever possible.

Work is underway to plan how we can accommodate more staff on campus between now and Christmas. Preparation for this process will be communicated via heads of school and service, who will be asked to share and discuss this with their teams.  

The plan for returning to campus will be based on the needs of the institution and the preparations required to ready the working space, which will be staggered over a number of weeks. 

We are also looking at the longer-term changes we can make to our existing ways of working to deliver best-practice working environments – underpinned by our commitments to the student experience, sustainability, staff wellbeing and equality. A steering group coordinating this activity has been established and we will share further updates. 

Postgraduate researchers 

The position for postgraduate researchers remains unchanged. Where possible, they should continue to work from home and if this is not possible, they may access campus facilities in accordance with the arrangements already in place. 


If you have had a covid vaccination and have a question in relation to this, please see our vaccination questions and answers 

Your comments and questions

We are using Microsoft Forms to capture and consider feedback on the reopening process. Please use this form, rather than email, to share any comments and questions you have relating to reopening. 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 

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