Working together to stay safe: arrangements for the summer and beyond

An email from Roger Gair, University Secretary, was sent to all staff on Tuesday 27 July explaining working arrangements for the summer and beyond.

Dear colleagues,

Since Monday 19 July, legal restrictions for managing the covid-19 pandemic no longer apply.

In response to this, we’re cautiously relaxing the measures we currently have in place, in line with central and local risk assessments.

As planned, the return to campus will continue to be gradual and phased during the coming months, and more information about access to offices and meeting spaces will be shared shortly.

This email outlines the measures we’re implementing to keep us all safe and the arrangements for the start of term, as things currently stand. Further information can be found on the coronavirus website

If you’re a postgraduate researcher receiving this email it’s because you have a paid role in the University. More information will be shared with all postgraduate researchers via the doctoral college soon.

In summary:

  • Our key focus is on the health, safety and wellbeing of all members of our University community. We all have a part to play in keeping campus safe and we urge consideration and respect for each other, particularly as we all get used to the changes.
  • Our approach to safe distancing and the use of face coverings will be driven by central and local risk assessments, as per government guidelines.
  • As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, we continue to consult the recognised campus trades unions.
  • Reduced room capacities, prearranged room layouts, increased ventilation, managing the flow of people and 1m distancing are measures that may be needed to keep people safe.
  • Teaching arrangements for semester one will continue as previously communicated.
  • We encourage all members of the University community to take advantage of the vaccination programme and take a twice-weekly lateral flow test, reporting positive cases to the University.
  • Guidance on travel, events and contractors and visitors to campus has been updated.

Safe distancing

Teaching, research and office space on campus will be set up to help keep users safe, in line with risk assessments. Control measures may be needed, such as reduced room capacities, prearranged room layouts, increased ventilation and managing the flow of people. We’re seeking to maintain 1m distancing in all rooms (including laboratories), but this may vary depending on the other control measures in place.

We will transition to this during the summer, ready for the start of the September term. In the meantime, summer teaching activities will remain subject to current measures.

Face coverings

We ask people to use a face covering when moving through all indoor spaces.

Unless exempt, we require people to wear a face covering where a risk assessment identifies the need. Signage will indicate where face coverings are required. This is likely to include indoor space at busy times, during the shared use of University vehicles and in some laboratories.

Free face coverings are available for all members of the University community.


Ventilation requirements will continue to be met by ensuring an increased airflow in our mechanically-ventilated spaces and by reminding staff (through signage in relevant rooms) to open windows in other areas.

Cleaning and hygiene

Enhanced cleaning regimes will remain in place. We all have a responsibility to continue to maintain high levels of personal hygiene, especially by regularly washing our hands. Hand sanitiser and cleaning materials are provided for everyone to use.


If you have covid-19 symptoms, it’s important to stay at home (or go home immediately), self-isolate, book a coronavirus PCR test, and follow Government and University guidance.

Tests and vaccinations

We encourage all members of the University community to take a twice-weekly lateral flow test, especially those coming onto campus. Free testing kits are available on campus or in the community. Staff, students and postgraduate researchers are asked to report positive cases to the University.

We encourage everyone to take advantage of the free covid vaccination programme, to help protect both our University and wider communities.


Ongoing support is available for people with concerns, including people who have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable. See the support and wellbeing information on the coronavirus website.

Teaching and learning arrangements for semester one

Our plans for teaching and learning in semester one remain the same. That is, we expect to provide every student with a substantial and sustained curriculum-based, on-campus experience. This means students will attend campus for face-to-face teaching activities, such as seminars, tutorials, practical classes, group discussions and performance activities, as they’ll form an essential and significant part of the student experience.

All assessment activities will be taken online, other than when there’s an exceptional and agreed academic rationale.

Students will be able to use spaces on campus for social and group learning activities, including libraries.

Large lectures and equivalent events will mostly be online using the latest digital technology, as part of our blended approach to learning and teaching. Rooms will be laid out at 1m distance and in accordance with risk assessments, as detailed above.

If a student can’t attend in person for exceptional reasons, we will endeavour to provide an alternative or rescheduled learning experience.

Campus facilities, such as sports facilities, the students’ union, cafés and other social spaces, will be open with all the appropriate risk assessments and corresponding covid-19 measures in place.


We’ve refreshed our guidance on travel to and from campus, within the UK and international travel on University business.


Outdoor and indoor events can once again start taking place on campus with a risk assessment. This includes student recruitment open days and December graduations. Visit our events FAQ for further information.

Contractors and visitors

Contractors and visitors can be invited onto campus, where necessary. The person who brings them onto campus should ensure they’re aware of, and follow, the University’s covid-19 control measures, such as hand washing, face coverings and not coming onto campus if they have covid-19 symptoms.

Monitoring and review

To keep campus as safe as possible, we will continue to monitor the situation to determine what adjustments might be required to our risk assessments and safety measures. Risk assessments will be reviewed throughout the year, particularly in the event of an outbreak on campus and any changes in government guidelines. Regular checks will take place (including walk-a-rounds with the recognised campus trade unions) to ensure we keep campus as safe as possible.

Health and Safety Services are producing updated guidance documents to support research, teaching and office-based activities, as well as guidance for staff and heads of school/service.

Further information about risk assessments and who to contact if you have any concerns is available on the coronavirus website.

Looking to the future

We understand that some in our community will think we should be moving faster to remove restrictions and others will be concerned about what the future will hold. A risk-based approach enables us to manage the easing of restrictions on campus in a controlled way; where we have a clear rationale for the decisions being made and can be as confident as possible that we have the flexibility to deal with any future challenges the pandemic may throw at us.

Thank you for all the work you’ve done to support each other and the rest of the community during the past few months, and may I take this opportunity to wish you a pleasant summer.

Best wishes,

Roger Gair

University Secretary

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