Principles for a phased return to UK campuses

September 2nd, 2020

The University has published a set of principles to support senior leaders and managers in ensuring a safe, supportive and phased return for staff to our UK campuses between now and January 2021.

Informed by the experience of colleagues in China and Sutton Bonington, the Return to Campus: Schedule, Principles and Approach sets out a return for staff in three phases, according to the role they perform and criteria which prioritise the need to be on campus.

• Phase 1: Early Returners – until late September. This continues the approach that has been introduced since the national lockdown eased and relates to staff whose work cannot be carried out at home and those who have been deemed a priority for return by the Recovery Board.

• Phase 2: Start of Session – from now and leading up to 21 September. This entails the return of many more staff to campus on a partial basis to deliver teaching and research and to support students and other campus services. It allows us to ease the burden on facilities, embed COVID protocols and reduce the opportunity for virus transmission.

• Phase 3: New ways of working – from January 2021. This will see the implementation of a new long-term model of blended, agile working with clear University-wide expectations for attendance on campus for at least some of the time for all staff.

The approach feeds into the reopening of our University estate, as well as teaching timetables and the start of the new academic year. It will enable us to avoid high concentrations of people in areas and to ensure the latest health and safety guidelines, particularly those around social distancing, can be met.

Writing about the Principles in her latest VC Blog, Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West recognised that while many staff will be eager to get back to work on campus, there will be others who will be apprehensive about returning, as well as some cases where staff are unable to return. The health, safety and wellbeing of the University community is at the heart of decision making and a phased return forms just one part of extensive measures that have been introduced to keep people safe.

Following these principles will allow us to deliver on our teaching and learning promises, ensure we create the sort of University experience our students would expect at Nottingham, while reducing the pressure on the infrastructure and facilities that support us all. It also paves the way for new more agile, flexible and adaptive ways of working that will become common practice across the university.

Heads of Schools and Departments will brief their teams on which category they fall into, how the schedule will be implemented locally and the time frame for their return. This will be subject to individual health declarations and risk assessments and adjustment due to changes in the national COVID-19 alert level and or local lockdown restrictions.

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