Covid-19 Omicron Variant: Update from Professor Andy Long

November 29th, 2021

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Long has written to all colleagues and students following the introduction of new measures to restrict the spread of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant in the UK.

Dear colleagues,

The government has introduced new measures to restrict the spread of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant in the UK. These measures will come into force at 4:00am tomorrow, Tuesday 30 November.

The wearing of face coverings will be mandatory in shops and other settings – such as banks, post offices and hairdressers – and on public transport unless you are exempt. All travellers arriving into the country from 4:00am on Tuesday 30 November must take a PCR test and self-isolate until they have received a negative test result.

Safety on campus

As a University community we must remain vigilant to ensure that our infection and transmission rates continue to remain low, particularly when faced with the new Omicron variant.

In addition to our tried and tested procedures, we are now making the wearing of face coverings mandatory in all indoor areas on campus unless at least 1 metre separation can be maintained.

To keep everyone safe, we ask all members of our University community to adhere to the following measures:

Face coverings and social distancing

The wearing of face coverings is now mandatory in all indoor areas on campus such as classrooms, lecture theatres, laboratories, libraries, social spaces and hopper buses – unless at least 1 metre separation can be maintained.

Do be aware that some people may be exempt from wearing a face covering and may choose to wear a sunflower lanyard to demonstrate this. Find out more about the scheme.

Be respectful of others and give people distance and space wherever it is sensible or requested.

Weekly testing

We expect and strongly encourage all staff and students to take a Covid-19 test at least once a week. This offers reassurance, reduces onward transmission of the virus, and helps to keep everyone safe.

Our University Testing Service is free, convenient and detects the virus at its earliest stages, helping you to isolate more quickly and protect others.

Get vaccinated

We strongly encourage everyone in our community who can, to receive full Covid-19 vaccination. If you are not already fully vaccinated, or are due for your booster, get booked in to protect yourself and those around you. Find out more.

Don’t come to campus if you feel unwell

If you feel unwell or are displaying Covid-19 symptoms, do not come on to campus. Isolate immediately, notify the university and take a confirmatory test.

Follow hygiene procedures

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds; clean work and study stations before and after use; and avoid sharing equipment and stationery with other staff and students.


Air quality in rooms is monitored and fresh air is automatically supplied by ventilation systems. Where spaces are naturally ventilated, please ensure a regular supply of fresh air by opening windows and/or air vents particularly between sessions.


I am sure that none of us want to reverse the gains we have made in returning to campus life this term and will want a festive break with family and friends that feels as ‘normal’ as possible. By following these guidelines and continuing to act cautiously and considerately, we can keep our campus and community as safe as possible.

We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and keep our policies under review, mindful of the government’s stated review date of its measures in three weeks’ time. I will keep you updated with further information and advice as it becomes available.

Best wishes, Andy

Professor Andy Long
Deputy Vice-Chancellor

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