Welcoming you back to campus this autumn

Email sent to all colleagues with a summary of the arrangements in place from 20 September, including a clarification of the University position on face coverings.

Dear colleague,

As we start to welcome students and more colleagues onto campus this month, here’s a summary of the arrangements in place from 20 September, including a clarification of the University position on face coverings.

As ever, 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 our campus safe. We urge everyone to have consideration and respect for each other, as we all get used to the arrangements on campus.

The Returning to campus web pages are there to support you with information and guidance as we return more activity back to campus. You’ll find answers to some of the most common questions; tools to support managers; a form for your feedback; and a link to book a campus tour to introduce or re-familiarise yourself with our campus.

In preparing for your first day back on campus, please follow the plans and instructions shared with you by your own head of school/institute/service or service champions.

This will vary according to the nature of your role and your campus location:

  • Teaching and student experience: As outlined in May, our objective is to provide every student with a substantial and sustained curriculum-based, on-campus experience. We expect relevant staff to be present on campus to deliver associated activities.
  • Research: Research spaces are open and travel guidance remains in place.
  • Services: Return is subject to service-specific plans. Many colleagues have been working on campus throughout the last 18 months and some will be relocating to a different space when they return. Please be patient as colleagues settle into different locations.

What will it be like to work on campus?

Many colleagues are already delivering activity on campus and we look forward to welcoming even more over the coming days and weeks.

Please remember that campus is many things to many people. There will be a wide variety of activities taking place, and each comes with its own arrangements that we need to have in place as an employer, as a place of study and as a social space.

Equally, each member of our community will experience their return to, or first day on campus differently, with their own perceptions and views of the current circumstances.

We have balanced the wide-ranging needs and expectations of our community with the need for appropriate safety measures based on risk assessments. So, you are likely to find that guidelines in one space are different to those in another. Please recognise and support this by respecting the rules and guidance signposted in each space.

Working together to stay safe

Our working together to stay safe guidelines have been updated. They describe our current approach to the pandemic and the various safety measures in place, which are based on risk assessments. These include:

  • reduced occupancy;
  • one-metre distancing;
  • ventilation;
  • cleaning and hygiene;
  • face coverings;
  • testing and self-isolation;
  • encouraging vaccination take up; and
  • support for staff and students.

Please be familiar with these ahead of coming onto campus and be alert to local guidelines in clinical and NHS shared environments.

Face coverings

We ask everyone to consider the needs and feelings of others in our community. Please remember that there are sometimes hidden reasons why people choose to wear face coverings or cannot wear them, or why people might ask those around them to wear them. Our ground rules are:

  • We encourage staff and students to wear face coverings whilst moving through crowded indoor spaces. 
  • We expect staff and students to wear face coverings in teaching spaces when asked to do so by a member of staff. (No-one will be denied access to a teaching event for not wearing a face covering.)
  • We require people to wear a face covering where a specific risk assessment (approved by the relevant Executive Dean with their Health and Safety Manager) identifies the need. Signage will indicate where face coverings are required.
  • The above ground rules do not apply to individuals who are exempt from wearing face coverings.

We will keep this position under regular review.

Monitoring and reviewing

The Government has recently announced its winter plan, and we will continue to monitor this and the situation on campus to determine any adjustments that might be required to our risk assessments and safety measures, for instance in the event of an outbreak on campus. Regular checks will take place, including walk-arounds with the recognised campus trade unions, to ensure that we keep campus as safe as possible.

We want to hear your feedback throughout this time of change and you can share this via the Returning to campus web pages.

What safety messages are students receiving?

Take a look at the two minute campus safety video we have shared with new and returning students. The video covers teaching arrangements, campus facilities, face coverings, cleaning, testing and assistance if they need to self-isolate. This video has already been viewed thousands of times across our student media platforms and will be repeatedly posted through freshers’ week and via student eNewsletters. We will share the updated face coverings information with students in upcoming communications.

Further information and any issues

  • Read staff eNews each week and check the coronavirus website for updates. Returning to campus web pages are part of this website.
  • Raise any issues around covid-19 control measures relating to buildings or cleaning with Estates Helpdesk on 0113 34 35555 or eshelp@leeds.ac.uk
  • Raise any other questions on health, safety and wellbeing, with the Health and Safety team at safety@leeds.ac.uk

Best wishes

Internal Communications

Please note: If you’re a postgraduate researcher receiving this email, it’s because you have a paid role in the University.

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