February 23rd, 2022
A message from Professor Andy Long about the most recent Government announcement on Covid-19.
The government has announced that the national legal restrictions put in place to limit the transmission of Covid-19 will be lifted over the coming weeks.
As a university, we remain committed to providing a safe working and teaching environment for our staff and students. Although the national legal restrictions are being lifted, we continue to strongly encourage our staff and student community to follow safety guidelines that will limit the spread of Covid-19. These include:
Our approach to teaching and research on campus remains unchanged, with full in-person provision delivered without restriction, according to Department for Education guidance.
Although there is no longer a legal requirement to do so, we expect and strongly recommend that staff and students who test positive for Covid-19 continue to self-isolate for a period of five days.
We will support all staff and students who test positive to help them to self-isolate and this support will be in place at least until the end of the academic year.
Staff will be entitled to sick pay to support their self-isolation, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms or not.
Students who test positive should contact their module convenors to let them know that they are unable to attend teaching sessions in person. Module convenors will help students to access the materials they may have missed. Where students live in university halls of residence, colleagues will support self-isolation, including delivering meals to rooms.
Please continue to report positive Covid-19 test results using the dedicated staff and student forms. This information is essential to help track infections and manage potential outbreaks. The university will continue to report active cases of Covid-19 within our community.
Although the government has confirmed that the wearing of face coverings will no longer be mandatory nationally, the university continues to strongly encourage the wearing of face coverings in all indoor spaces, unless individuals are exempt, and this includes corridors and communal spaces; teaching settings, including lecture halls, seminar rooms, laboratories, and workshops; libraries and shared offices.
When working or studying in NHS environments, staff and students should continue to obey NHS rules, which mandate the wearing of surgical face masks. If working in or visiting the Medical School Building, because of its proximity to NHS space, staff and students are expected to continue to wear face coverings unless they have a valid exemption.
Staff and students are strongly encouraged to test for Covid-19 at least weekly, using the university’s asymptomatic testing service. The test is quick, simple and identifies infection at the earliest possible stage to avoid transmitting illness to others. This free service will continue at least until the end of the academic year.
Communications to students will continue to strongly encourage taking a weekly Covid-19 test as well as full vaccination and boosters – please do repeat this message in any Faculty, School, or programme-level messages that are planned.
The Estates team will continue to ensure optimal levels of ventilation and monitor the air quality in teaching rooms. Air quality in almost half of our teaching rooms is monitored and ventilated automatically, and portable CO2 sensors are regularly used in other rooms to confirm that CO2 levels are within the recommended limits. Were CO2 levels to exceed recommended limits, the room would be taken out of service and alternate teaching locations provided until CO2 levels have been addressed.
As the country moves into this next phase of ‘learning to live’ with Covid-19 as an endemic virus, I would ask us all to support and respect each other in following these simple measures to continue to limit the spread of Covid-19 at the university.
Professor Andy Long
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