COVID-19 | Updated guidance and arrangements for January

Email from Internal Communications and Engagement, to all staff, sent on Wednesday 5 January 2022.

Dear colleagues, 

Happy New Year and welcome back. 

Before the winter break, the Government announced that England had moved to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.  

The Department for Education remains 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.  

During the University closure period, there have been further updates to the guidance we shared on Friday 10 December. These are summarised below with a reminder about our current ways of working. 

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 until further notice.   

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, arrangements can be made to work from campus during this period. Please discuss this with your line manager or head of school or service.  

All services on campus continue to operate as planned.  

Updated guidance on face coverings   

Face coverings are currently required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport. 

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.   

From Tuesday 4 January, they should also be worn in teaching settings, for example in workshops, laboratories, libraries, and rooms where teaching takes place, until further notice. 

Our face coverings guidance has been updated to reflect the latest information.  

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 COVID-19 

If you are working on campus, you should take a lateral flow test at home either the evening or morning before your first day back on campus. 

All staff, students and postgraduate researchers are also asked to continue testing regularly (at least twice a week) to help prevent transmission of the virus. Free lateral flow tests are available to collect from campus and from local pharmacies. As reported in the press, test kits are in high demand so please only take what you need. 

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, do not come to campus until you have taken a test. 

If you receive a positive lateral flow test result, you should self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, you should continue to self-isolate. 

If you test positive for COVID-19 you must notify the University and self-isolate for 10 full days. You may be able to end your self-isolation period after seven days – please refer to the recently updated Government guidance on self-isolation 

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, but are not unwell, please discuss with your manager how you can work from home during your self-isolation period. 

Book a booster jab  

The Government announced that the vaccine booster programme is now open to all those aged 18 or over. We encourage all staff, students and postgraduate researchers to take up the offer of both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and the booster jab.  

Read our HR guidance on booking time off for medical appointments 

Vaccination Centre 

A vaccination centre near campus will soon be available to all staff and students who have not been able to get their first dose of the vaccine or a booster jab. We will share more information about the centre shortly.  

Next steps 

The Government’s Plan B regulations are currently scheduled to end on Wednesday 26 January; we will keep you updated as further guidance is issued. 

Up-to-date information on how we are working together to stay safe can be found on our coronavirus website.

Best wishes 

Internal Communications and Engagement 

  • This email and further guidance are available on the coronavirus website 
  • 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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