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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for staff - 14 April 2021

Dear colleagues,

Yesterday the Government announced the details of the further lifting of the national lockdown restrictions which apply to universities.

Along with all universities we had hoped that we would be able to welcome all remaining students back to our campuses for limited in-person activities shortly after Easter. However this announcement stipulates that further return will not be permitted before 17 May at the earliest.

This will be very disappointing to many of you. We know how hard everyone in our community has worked to ensure we can keep each other and those around us safe throughout this academic year, and we know how desperately our students want to be able to return to take up in-person activities.

Please note that this announcement does not change any current arrangements for students who have already returned under the Government guidelines, as we have previously communicated. It does however mean that no further students are eligible to return until after 17 May at the earliest.

The Summer Term will still begin as planned on 26 April and the examinations period will proceed as planned, with exams being held online.

Please note that in line with the further easing of national restrictions on 29 March and 12 April, a small number of additional facilities and activities have been able to restart, including some limited sports activities. You can find a list of available shops, facilities and activities for each campus on our COVID-19 website.

The Government’s decision as to whether further students will be able to return to in-person activities after 17 May will be based on the data, including on infection levels, testing rates and the uptake of vaccinations. It remains imperative that we all continue to follow the Government guidelines, abide by the COVID-19 hygiene measures, engage with the vaccination programme when we are invited to and continue to engage with regular COVID-19 testing.

Working arrangements after Easter

There will be no significant change to the amount of on-campus activity after Easter, and our current approach of working from home wherever possible will remain in place. We are developing a set of principles which will inform any plans for future returns to on-campus working. We hope to communicate these at the beginning of May.

In the meantime if you have any questions about your working arrangements you should discuss these with your line manager as usual.

COVID-19 Testing

It remains vital that everyone who is undertaking in-person activities or using facilities on our campuses book free twice-weekly tests. If you are coming to campus irregularly, please get a test each time you come. Please visit the COVID-19 webpages for further information and booking forms.

I hope you have been able to enjoy some rest and relaxation over the Easter period. I would also like to say another huge thank you to those colleagues who have been working over the break to keep our critical on-campus services running. I hope you will be able to take some much-deserved time for rest when the opportunity comes.

Best wishes

Mike

 

Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary