Planning a return to campus working and activities

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday 10 May, the University is working on a plan to safely reopen our campuses to all staff and students and to restart our activities where these have been put on hold. Whilst this is a positive move, please be aware that restrictions are still in place and people should not return to campus until given specific instructions to do so by the University.

Returning to campus working and activities will be a gradual and controlled process and we have a team from across the University and from all colleges and campuses, working to develop a plan for how and when we can restart campus activity safely and in accordance with government guidance.

In the immediate future, we will be prioritising the restarting of critical research, and planning is underway to review and risk assess a number of our research buildings to consider how a return to labs and workshops can be managed. This process is complex and it will take some time whilst we put the necessary measures in place to protect all of our campus users.

If you are currently working at home then you must continue doing so until you have explicit notice from your Service Director, Director of College Operations or Pro-Vice-Chancellor. If you have been working on campus during the restrictions, there will be no change to your current arrangements.

Online teaching, assessments and exams will continue for our students, and we have a team looking at how and when we restart teaching activity in the new academic year.

You will continue to be updated on progress with this in the Registrar emails over the coming weeks. More information can be found below.

Information if you are self-isolating, shielding, or in a vulnerable group

We understand that some people will need to undertake shielding, in order to protect themselves at this time. If you have received a letter from the NHS, or been told by your GP that you are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and you are therefore required to shield, you will not be expected to return to work on campus and should remain working from home for the period stated. Please inform your line manager if you have not already done so, so that the correct support can be put into place. Further information and guidance is available on the Government webpages.

If you feel you need to undertake shielding in order to protect yourself but have not received a letter from the NHS advising you to shield, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician. Information and guidance on who is extremely vulnerable and who is at moderate risk can also be found on the NHS website. If you are advised to shield, or you feel you fall into either of these vulnerable categories, you will not be expected to return to work on campus and should remain working from home, following the relevant government advice. Please inform your line manager if you have not already done so, so that the correct support can be put into place.

If you are living with someone who is shielding, the current government advice is that whilst you do not have to shield yourself, you should do everything you can to support them by following strict social distancing measures. You should remain working from home at this time and your individual situation should be discussed with your line manager. Depending on your role, if you are authorised to return to campus at any point, your line manager can ensure that where possible, potential mitigation are put in place to limit your chance of any exposure. this will include staggering your work start and finish times and social distancing measures. More information and advice is available from Public Health England.

 

Disability, mental health, pregnancy and other important wellbeing questions

For students

For students - our AccessAbility team is available for you to discuss any concerns you may have around your disability. You can find information on how to access this team on our website.

For staff

A guide has been developed specifically for disabled colleagues working from home which addresses some of the challenges faced by those who need to self-isolate and maintain prolonged social distancing. The guide also provides signposting and guidance towards additional support. If you are contacted by your manager about returning to work on campus, you should discuss with them whether any additional adjustments are required. If you have a condition which makes you extremely vulnerable or vulnerable please see the sections above and refer to government advice regarding shielding. If you require additional support or advice please contact your line manager who can arrange a referral to occupational health or contact a disability adviser in confidence.

As part of our planning to safely reopen our campuses, the University will follow all government advice regarding protection measures and social distancing in order to protect our students, staff and visitors at the University. This planning will involve a gradual and controlled restart of activities after careful and thorough risk assessments have been undertaken. This will take some time - please do not return to campus until you are authorised to do so by your Service Director, Director of College Operations, or Pro-Vice-Chancellor.  If you have specific concerns, please speak to your line manager in the first instance.

We know this will be an anxious time for many colleagues. There are a number of support services available to you during this period including the Pro-Counselling service, which can be used to access 24/7 telephone counselling via our online portal. Details of all the support available including our online cognitive behavioural therapy programme, Silvercloud, can be found on our website. Support is also available from the NHS talking therapy services. You can discuss any concerns that you have with your line manager who can support you with adjustments to your work or make a referral to Occupational Health if further advice is needed. If you are experiencing significant symptoms you should contact your GP for advice and treatment if required.

If you are pregnant please follow the government advice on social distancing measures. Managers will continue to offer maternity risk assessment meetings for all pregnant staff - using Microsoft Teams is a very effective way - please ensure you carry out a new risk assessment to cover the working from home element and keep this updated regularly. The safety of pregnant staff alongside all other colleagues, will be considered as part of the planning for reopening our campuses and returning to work. This will take account of all government advice.  More advice is available online.

We know that with the current lockdown measures the risk of domestic abuse is increasing.  We have a series of Domestic Abuse Support webpages with guidance for support options including risk assessments, as well as detailing where to access help should you need it. We encourage you to disclose the domestic abuse to your manager or a Domestic Abuse Champion, support and adjustments at work are available. Please be reassured that we will support you throughout this time and help you get the support that you need.

We know this may be an anxious time for many colleagues. Whilst we want to reopen our campuses, we must ensure that this is done safely and that our staff, students and visitors are protected. We are currently developing plans that include a phased return to work and this will be communicated to staff as soon as possible. Please do not return to campus unless you are authorised to do so by your manager. There are a number of support services available to you during this period including our Pro-Counselling service, which can be used to access 24/7 telephone counselling via our online portal.  Details of all the support available including our online cognitive behavioural therapy programme, Silvercloud, can be found on our website.  Support is also available from the NHS talking therapy services.  You can discuss any concerns that you have with your line manager who can support you with adjustments to your work or make a referral to Occupational Health if further advice is needed.  If you are experiencing significant symptoms you should contact your GP for advice and treatment if required.

We understand that people have caring responsibilities and that this may continue as we look to safely and gradually reopen our campuses. At this time, restrictions remain in place and you should not return to campus unless authorised to do so by your line manager. At such time when you are asked to return to campus, people with caring responsibilities should discuss their circumstances with their line manager and look at any alternative arrangements that could be made. This could include sharing caring responsibilities or where this isn't possible, continued working from home, or possible changes to working patterns to accommodate your caring responsibilities.

If you are not able to do any work, in recognition of these exceptional circumstances, to give you a longer period to make alternative arrangements, the University has extended its paid emergency leave to 10 days (pro-rata for part-time staff). If you use this leave, please keep in touch with your manager and follow the guidance on recording your absence.  Guidance for managers and staff on absence and pay arrangements related to COVID-19 is available online.

The University is committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to protect our whole community and we recognise our duty of care to all colleagues and students regardless of background or ethnicity. We are working on a plan to reopen our campuses safely to all, in accordance with government advice. This will include measures to help protect all staff including allowing staggered start and finish times and the implementation of social distancing measures for those at work. We remain clear about the need for respect, kindness and compassion for all. If you experience or witness any inappropriate behaviour, harassment or violence, please report it to the police immediately. You can also report it to the University via our Speak Out webpages. More information for BAME colleagues can be found on our website.

Information for students

Restrictions remain in place for accessing our campuses and campus buildings - please do not come onto campus, or visit any campus buildings to study until you have received specific instruction that you are able to do so. We are working on a plan to safely reopen our campuses and this will be in accordance with any changing government advice and with the safety of our students and staff as a priority. Thank you for your patience whilst we undertake this work.

If you are collecting belongings from private accommodation or are moving into private accommodation, please speak with your landlord about how you might be able to do this safely and with social distancing restrictions in place.

Please follow government guidance on making a one-off move to an alternative residence; staying safe outside your home and other published guidance, such as on travel and social distancing.

Please consider your travel arrangements carefully. If you have a long journey that would require an overnight stay, we advise against returning to collect belongings until government restrictions have been lifted and hotel/B&B accommodation is open again.

This approach continues to support the Government’s stance of reducing the unintended spread of COVID 19 and has the full support of Devon and Cornwall Police.

Our campuses are currently closed, and we continue to ask that you do not return to collect your belongings at this time. We are aware that the Government has updated its guidance for students wishing to collect their belongings. In line with this, we have been working to develop a process by which you are able to collect items safely and taking account of social distancing measures. You will receive an email to your University account by Monday 1 June which will include details on how you can book a slot to return to your room and collect your belongings, at a pre-allocated time. The email will also contain information on the options available if you are unable to return to collect your belongings. Please wait until you have received this email before you make any travel arrangements, and continue to check your email regularly, and read the information on the University website. Again, we are asking that you do not return to campus until you receive a notification that you can do so. Residence Receptions, Estate Patrol and the Penryn Security teams will continue to monitor access to University residences and you will not be allowed to access your accommodation without an agreed time slot.

You should not return to the campus unless you have been given specific authorisation to do so. We need to ensure that staff working in specialist areas can be protected and have a clear Risk Assessment in place before any work can commence on campus.

General questions on returning to your workplace

You should not return to the campus unless you have been given specific authorisation to do so from your Pro-Vice-Chancellor. We need to ensure that staff working in specialist areas can be protected and have a clear Risk Assessment in place before any work can commence on campus.

We understand that colleagues may wish to come onto campus to collect equipment or materials that were left behind when we entered lock-down. For the time being, colleagues are asked to continue to work from home and not come onto campus until issued with specific instructions from your Service Director, Director of College Operations or Pro-Vice-Chancellor. We recognise that this means home work stations may not be the same as your normal working environment. It is therefore good practice for those working at home to follow the guidance provided and also complete a homeworking self-assessment (COVID-19 version). These documents have useful advice and information about setting up a home workstation and helps to identify any additional needs. Where you require the use of specific equipment currently located at your work station OR you require specialist equipment to undertake specialist COVID-19 related work, please follow the guidance below.

1. For colleagues requiring essential equipment following a DSE assessment - please contact your Director or Director of College Operations for their permission and, once obtained, please contact Transport@exeter.ac.uk with the following details:

• Name
• Office location and any access arrangements
• Items to be collected
• Home address
• Contact number

Please be mindful there will be a maximum of two collections a week depending on demand and staff availability.

Colleagues on our Penryn campus will need to contact the campus Director of College Operations, Amie Fulton, providing the same information as above.

2. For colleagues undertaking COVID-19 related work, please contact the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research & Impact, Professor Neil Gow.

We know that many colleagues will wish to return to their office to work. We are working on a plan to reopen our campuses safely and in accordance with government advice. This will include measures to help protect our staff including allowing staggered start and finish times so that staff can travel at less congested times, and the implementation of social distancing measures for those at work. Until these preparations have been made and you have been authorised by your Service Director, Director of College Operations or Pro-Vice-Chancellor, colleagues must remain working from home. Thank you for your patience.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough leave) is has now been extended to October 2020.  The University will continue to review the situation and will contact all workers prior to the current end date of to provide an update. More detailed information is available on the website, including FAQs and guidance for managers. If you have any questions that are not covered, please do contact your manager for advice.

We are unable to allow colleagues to retrieve items stored on-site or in offices until further notice. This decision has been made taking into account government guidance on essential travel and serves to protect the welfare and workload of our essential on-site colleagues. There are two exceptions to this, which are detailed below:

1. If you have an Occupational Health DSE assessment, which details the use of specific equipment which is currently located at your work station. For these colleagues, best endeavours will be made to deliver small sized portable items to you; dismantling of desk and complex IT set-ups will not be possible. If you fit into this category and need anything urgently please contact your Director or Director of College Operations for their permission and, once obtained, please contact Transport@exeter.ac.uk with the following details:


• Name
• Office location and any access arrangements
• Items to be collected
• Home address
• Contact number

Please be mindful there will be a maximum of two collections a week depending on demand and staff availability.

2. Colleagues who are undertaking COVID-19 related work. For access under this criteria please contact the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research & Impact, Professor Neil Gow.

The University is currently looking at the possibility of longer term home working for some staff. Further information will be available on the HR webpages as soon as more detail is available.

Access to our campuses remains restricted so please do not travel to campus unless you are authorised to do so by your line manager. We are working on a plan to reopen our campuses safely and in accordance with government advice. This planning will involve a gradual and controlled restart of activities and careful risk assessments will be undertaken. This will include measures to help protect our staff including continued working from home, allowing staggered start and finish times so that staff can travel at less congested times, and the implementation of social distancing measures for those at work.

Our response to restarting our activities and working arrangements, will consider all campuses and University buildings as follows:

Exeter

• Streatham
• St Luke’s
• Heavitree Clinical Skills Resource Centre (RD&E Heavitree site)
• RILD North and South (RD&E Wonford site)
• Mireille Gillings Neuroimaging Centre (RD&E Wonford site)
• Cardiovascular Building (RD&E Wonford site)
• V-Simulator (Exeter Science Park)
• University of Exeter Enterprise Zone Office & CALT offices (Exeter Science Park)
• Exeter IT (Regus @ Exeter Business Park)

Cornwall

• Penryn Campus (including IIB Office TIC Centre)
• DMac at Falmouth Docks
• Knowledge-Spa (RCHT Treliske site)
• ECEHH Office in Innovation Centre (RCHT Treliske site)

London

• College of Medicine & Health Office – Regus @ White City
• College of Medicine & Health Office - Halkin @ Paris Gardens
• University of Exeter Business School Office – Halkin @ Paris Gardens

We appreciate that our University grounds are often used by members of our community as areas to visit and for exercise and in normal circumstances we are delighted to welcome visitors. We had to make the decision to restrict access to our campuses throughout the COVID-19 situation, following Government advice.

Our Exeter campuses remain closed at this time, and our campus at Penryn, Cornwall, remains open but with strict social distancing measures in place.

We will continue to review this situation.

Travel and transport

Access to our campuses remains restricted so please do not travel to campus unless you are authorised to do so by your Service Director, Director of College Operations or Pro-Vice-Chancellor. We are working on a plan to reopen our campuses safely and in accordance with government advice. This will include measures to help protect our staff including continued working from home, allowing staggered start and finish times so that staff can travel at less congested times, and the implementation of social distancing measures for those at work. If you are authorised to return to work, you should speak to your line manager to review working times which work best for you and your team's requirements.  Safer travel guidance is available online.

In accordance with government advice, colleagues should still not travel to any other location for work unless this is deemed essential and has been authorised by your manager. For the majority of colleagues this means that you should remain working from home until otherwise instructed by the University.

We are currently considering options around parking on our campuses and will update colleagues as soon as we have more detail on this.