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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for staff – 14 July 2021

Dear Colleagues,

On Monday, the Prime Minister confirmed that the further easing of national COVID-19 restrictions will go ahead as planned from 19 July.

In line with the latest Government guidance, we will begin to ease some of the measures that were introduced across our campuses last year. I have outlined below a number of changes that will be made gradually to our campuses from 19 July, as well as some of the practical measures we will retain for an interim period.

These measures cover the period from 19 July until the start of the next academic year, and they will remain under constant review.

Our principles of respect and consideration, and our commitment to working together as a community to keep each other safe and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 remain unchanged, and I remind everyone to be empathetic and compassionate to those around you at all times.

Social distancing and room occupancy

Social distancing will no longer be mandatory on our campuses and all COVID-19 related one way systems will begin to be removed.

Booking and rota systems for research spaces will be retained, but available capacity will start to increase from 19 July.

This will also enable us to start planning for the delivery of in-person teaching in the new academic year.

The current signage concerning social distancing and room occupancy levels will remain in place. Although the limits displayed in these signs will not apply as of 19 July, we have taken the decision to leave the signage in place should there be a need to be responsive to any potential resurgence of COVID-19. If this happens we will let you know so you are aware of the measures that need to be followed.

Ventilation levels remain important in reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 and colleagues should continue to follow the building and room requirements on ventilation. Please note, rooms which are currently closed will remain so until they can be assessed.

We continue to review our teaching and other spaces ahead of the start of the next academic year and will share further information with you about this in the coming weeks.

Face coverings

Face coverings will no longer be required in outdoor areas. However the University has a strong expectation that students and colleagues will continue to wear face-coverings in shared indoor spaces to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Government guidance is that face coverings remain mandatory in healthcare settings. This will apply to colleagues and students using our RILD building and other hospital sites in Cornwall and Exeter. Please also be mindful that there may be different guidance in place if you are in a shared setting, such as an NHS building.

Please also remember and be sensitive to the fact that some members of our community are unable to wear face coverings.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms and you are travelling to one of our test sites to take a test, you must wear a face covering at all times, keep a safe distance from others, use sanitiser gel on your hands and avoid touching surfaces.

Hand sanitiser and cleaning stations

Hand sanitiser stations will remain in place – please continue to use these and ensure you continue to wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.

Cleaning stations and face covering stations will remain in place.

Please continue to use the available cleaning products to wipe down your workspace before and after use.

Vaccinations

Everyone over the age of 18 is now eligible for a vaccination. Whilst vaccines are not mandatory, we strongly recommend you take the opportunity to get vaccinated at any of the vaccination centres or pop up clinics whenever you are able. Alongside our regular testing programme, the vaccination roll out remains a critical factor in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and protecting our community.

Testing

It remains vital for everyone to continue to get tested twice a week, every week, to help protect our University community. You can visit any of our campus test centres or collect a home test kitto continue testing yourself at home. Please take a test if you are coming to campus and before heading out to meet friends to reassure yourself that your risk is low.  More information can be found on our website.

If you experience symptoms, please contact the Rapid Response Hub as they will be able to support you to get a confirmatory test.

Working on our campuses

The return of more colleagues to our campuses will continue to be managed in a phased way. We must be mindful that whilst some colleagues will welcome the easing of restrictions, there will be others who remain concerned. The number of cases reported continues to rise and we must therefore ensure that the reduction in social distancing, and other measures, continues to be managed safely.

This means that managers should continue to have conversations with their teams about when and how they wish to return to campus to work, and to identify any individual circumstances where colleagues may require additional support. We must recognise that the lifting of restrictions will take time to get used to and that we need to work as a community to support each other with this transition.

Guidance for managers, including a 10-step process to work through, is available online and managers should aim to have completed this by Wednesday 21 July. This should then be shared with Service Directors or College Pro-Vice Chancellors to ensure there is a consistent and equal approach across the Service and/or College. If you manage a team and need advice and/or support please contact our Workplace Support team.

If you have a health condition or another factor that makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19, there is guidance available on our website, and you should continue to speak to your manager who can support you.

Further updates

We will continue to review our approach in the weeks and months ahead and I will provide further updates via email, as required. In addition to this, updates will be included on our dedicated COVID-19 webpages over the coming weeks so please keep checking these pages for the latest information. We will also share regular information in the Weekly Bulletin as we begin to change the look and feel of our campuses.

I would like to ask for your continued patience as we adapt to the next stage of the Government roadmap and to thank you once again for your continued support throughout what has been a challenging time for everyone.

Best wishes,

Mike

 

Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary