New national restrictions – update from Professor Andy Long


November 4th, 2020

Dear colleagues,

From Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December, new national restrictions will be in force in England to help combat a rise in COVID-19 rates across the country. The University will remain open throughout this period.

You can review the Government guidelines for universities here and read our detailed FAQs, but I offer a short summary of the key points below.

Teaching and learning
The Government has emphasised the importance of education and that schools and universities should remain open during this period to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of students.

The University will remain open as now, and continue as planned with current research activities and our blended approach to teaching-in-person where it is safe to do so, and otherwise online.

Travel remains permitted for work and education purposes and you will still be able to access buildings, libraries, study spaces and campus services throughout the period.

Research
Researchers and research students will be able to continue in-person research activities, if the research work cannot reasonably be conducted from home.

Laboratory and field based research can also continue, subject to the appropriate risk assessments being in place and COVID-19 measures being observed at all times. Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Knowledge Exchange, will update further on research in her blog later this week.

Libraries and study facilities
Access to our libraries will remain unchanged and we are continuing to extend Study Spaces on campus to support students in their academic work. For the latest, visit the Libraries website.

Catering on campus
There will be changes in the availability of catering facilities on campus, with many outlets becoming takeaway-only, in line with government restrictions.

Staff already working from home
As per our current arrangements staff who fall into Phase 3 of our Return to Work principles should continue working from home.

Health and wellbeing
As I wrote in my blog last week the pandemic affects all of us in different ways. We continue to make significant investment in our wellbeing services to support staff and students and I urge you to make use of our health and wellbeing sports and HR resources and ensure you are getting the support you need, whatever that might be.

Support for students
I have written to all students today setting out how these changes affect them and the support available. You can read a copy of this communication here.

Hands, Face, Space
I would remind us all of the three key steps we can take as individuals to help suppress transmission of COVID-19 – wearing a face covering, regular handwashing, and maintaining a safe distance all make an enormous difference.

Within our University the number of active cases of COVID-19 continues to decline and while this demonstrates that our COVID security measures are working, there is no room for complacency.

Thank you as always for your hard work, patience and willingness to support each other in these challenging times which gives me great confidence that we will manage this period in a manner which is true to the spirit and values of our University community.

Best wishes, Andy

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