New national restrictions and impact on the University

Email from Roger Gair, University Secretary, to all staff on Friday 10 December 2021.

Dear colleagues,  

On Wednesday 8 December, the Prime Minister announced further restrictions and that England will be moving immediately to Plan B measures (including reintroducing guidance to work from home in specified circumstances), until at least Wednesday 5 January, to inhibit the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.  

The Department for Education is clear on the importance of not disrupting education and states that teaching and learning (and related activities) should not be moved online during this period. The Government is prioritising keeping all education and childcare settings open.  

Therefore, until the situation changes (and acknowledging that the University will be closed for much of this time), our intention is to proceed as follows:   

Working on campus 

Staff involved in any of the following activities should continue working on campus as normal:  

  • Face-to-face teaching 
  • Conducting research on campus, including postgraduate researchers 
  • Supporting teaching and learning activities 
  • Supporting the student experience and providing campus facility services, medical services, mental health and wellbeing services, libraries, catering, student residences and sports facilities, or because of another agreed reason to work on site. 

Colleagues who are not involved in delivering any of the activities above are asked to work from home, where possible.  

We know that for some staff home working is not possible, either because the activity can only be done on campus, because of the environment individuals are working in at home, equipment they need or for reasons of personal wellbeing. For those colleagues, the arrangements can be made to work from campus during this period 

All services on campus will continue to operate as planned. 

Face coverings  

From Friday 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport. Our face coverings guidance has been updated to reflect the latest information. 

We expect staff, students and postgraduate researchers to wear face coverings in all communal areas on campus, including corridors, staircases and reception areas, and when moving around offices.  

We also expect staff and students to wear face coverings in teaching spaces, libraries and study spaces.  

We do not expect individuals to wear face coverings when they are seated in offices, provided that they are able to maintain a safe distance from others. 

These rules do not apply to people who are exempt from wearing face coverings.  

Testing and reporting 

All staff, students and postgraduate researchers are asked to take two Covid-19 lateral flow tests each week to help prevent transmission of the virus. Free tests are available to collect from campus and from local pharmacy or PCR test sites. 

Anyone testing positive must notify us and then book a PCR test through NHS Test and Trace. They will need to self-isolate until they receive the results of the PCR test. 

Covid vaccine programme 

The Government announced that the vaccine booster programme is now open to all those over 40. We encourage all staff, students and postgraduate researchers to take up the offer of both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and the booster jab, as soon as they are eligible. Visit our vaccinations webpage for more information.   

Thank you   

I am very aware that a return to restrictions brings challenges for us all, both at work and at home, and I want to share my gratitude and thanks for the deep commitment, resilience and hard work being shown by our University of Leeds community.  

We will keep you updated as Government guidance is issued and as the situation develops. 

With my best wishes and thanks for everything you are doing, 

Roger Gair   

University Secretary   

This email and further guidance is available on the coronavirus website.

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