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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for staff - 10 February 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Key points

  • We expect further guidance on the return to campuses in the week beginning 22 February
  • International travel advice has changed this week
  • Case numbers remain low on our campuses
  • All staff should get a rapid LFD test twice a week if they are regularly on campus – or if they are only occasionally on campus they should get a test whenever they arrive. It’s quick and easy.  Book your slots in advance below
  • The St Luke’s testing facility is open 5 days a week from Monday 15 February
  • Three-layer face coverings are now available to all staff and students on our campuses
  • If you are using Display Screen Equipment (DSE) you may need to complete an updated DSE self-assessment
  • We are in the process of introducing Multi-Factor Authentication to keep us cyber-secure whilst working remotely
  • Remember to be mindful of your wellbeing, and to consider getting involved with the many events being held across the University, which are a great way to stay connected to others

Full message

We continue to work together as a community to protect each other from the spread of COVID-19 and to deliver our essential education and research work. This week our testing has continued and our case numbers have remained low. Further details on both are below, including some changes to the testing facility on our St Luke’s Campus, and advice on how to get a three-layer face covering for those who are working or studying on our campuses.

We await further guidance from Government on the return of teaching to campus, and we expect to receive this during the week beginning 22 February. We will of course update you as soon as we have more details.

You will have seen that the requirements for those travelling to the UK have changed this week. We will update our FAQs relating to international travel, but if you are in any doubt you should always check the Government’s travel advice web pages.

COVID-19 Case numbers

The overall rate of positive results on our campuses remains low. The daily numbers of confirmed positive cases for students and staff can be found on our COVID-19 statistics web page. Data is available up to 7 February when the 7 day rolling daily average of positive cases was 1.1.

Get regular tests to stop the spread of COVID-19 

Remember that all colleagues working on our campuses or in in-person roles can get rapid LFD tests twice a week, every week, to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe.

If you are only occasionally on our campuses you should get a test whenever you arrive.

Booking is simple and the tests are free, so schedule your slots and book in advance. To book your regular tests please use the forms below: 

St Luke’s Campus – testing facility

From Monday 15 February, theCOVID-19 testing facility based at St Luke’s Sports Hall will be available 5 days a week. It will be open 07.45 to 10.30, Monday to Friday, whilst there is demand for this service.

For test bookings from Monday 15 February, please use the booking form below to select your time slot:

The St Luke’s test centre will also be open this week on Thursday 11 February, from 07.45 to 10.30, and there is no need to book in advance for this day.

Further information about our rapid twice-weekly COVID-19 tests can be found on our dedicated staff COVID-19 testing webpages.    

If you receive a positive LFD test result, please inform the University via the form here. This will enable us to support you whilst in isolation.


Remember, if you develop COVID-19 symptoms, such as a high temperature, new continuous cough or a loss of taste/smell, you must self-isolate and request a HALO PCR test through our Rapid Response Hub. There is no need to go to a public testing centre.

Three-layer face coverings available through lockdown

During the current lockdown, we are offering three-layer face coverings, with adjustable nose bridges, to all staff and students on our campuses.  These face coverings are available for free to anyone who wants to upgrade their single layer/loose-fitting face covering. The new coverings have three layers and have a snug fit on the face which, when worn correctly with both the nose and mouth covered, will perform effectively to provide a good barrier to respiratory aerosols and small droplets.

Colleagues will find a supply of face coverings in their building or will be able to obtain them via their building coordinator.

To ensure we maximise the benefits of wearing a face covering, it’s important to put it on, wear it and remove it in a safe way. More information is available on our COVID-19 website. Search the FAQs for “face covering”.

Are you using Display Screen Equipment?

If your work arrangements have changed as a consequence of the pandemic – for example because you are working at home or your on-campus office location has changed – it is important that you complete an updated DSE self-assessment and share this with your manager. This will help us to ensure that your working arrangements reduce the risk of you developing pain or ill health that can be associated with the use of Display Screen Equipment (DSE).

Colleagues who are working at home and who may have completed a DSE self-assessment at the beginning of the pandemic should review this with your manager if your working arrangements at home have changed. You should also read the additional guidance on working safely and effectively at home and speak to your manager if you have any concerns.

Working remotely, staying secure

During 2021 we are introducing multi-factor authentication (MFA) to University of Exeter IT accounts, starting with colleagues in the Professional Services. MFA uses something you have (eg a phone) to periodically confirm your identity when logging into online services whilst off-campus.

We are all more vulnerable to cyber-attacks when working from home without the protection of our campus infrastructure, and MFA will help to reduce this. It is a simple and secure process which many of us will already be familiar with through its use in services such as online banking. Please look out for more information from your service, or visit these pages for further guidance. The Digital Hub has advice on this and much more to support your digital life.

Our wellbeing

Taking care of ourselves and each other is really important at a time like this, and one of the simple ways you can do so is regularly to connect with other people. There is a fantastic range of events running right across the University and these offer a great chance to have fun, learn something new and get an insight into the University’s amazing people and work. The Weekly Bulletin carries a list of events each Monday and this week you can find games meetings, book launches, showcases and seminars.

To launch the University’s Future of Work spring programme and Global Hackathon, we have our first of two Industry Leaders Forums tomorrow which feature influential alumni. These are open to staff and students. See the website to register or find out more.

Finally, please remember, if you need support, or just want to talk to someone, we can help. Check out our Wellbeing pages for all the links you need.

Best wishes



Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary