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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for staff - 17 March 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Key points

  • With more people using our campuses, it remains vital that we all follow the COVID-19 guidelines to keep each other safe
  • You can share your thoughts and ideas for our post-COVID-19 future by joining the first in our series of Big Conversations
  • COVID-19 case numbers on our campuses remain low
    • We strongly expect everyone coming onto our campuses to book free twice-weekly tests. If you are coming to campus irregularly, please get a test each time you come
    • If you have been fully or partly vaccinated, it is still important that you follow COVID-19 guidelines and book your twice weekly tests if you are coming to campus
    • Our Staff Wellbeing website has a wide range of information, tools and support. Please reach out if you need to

Full message

Last week we welcomed back to our campuses a small number of additional students to resume limited on-campus teaching sessions. As the numbers of people coming to our campuses increases, it is vitally important that we all reaffirm our commitment to our community, and follow the COVID-19 guidelines to keep each other safe.

Currently these guidelines state that we can meet outside in our households, and can meet one other person outside, for example for a coffee. We must observe social distancing and COVID-19 hygiene measures such as regularly and thoroughly washing or sanitising hands, and wearing face-coverings when required. Despite the progress of the vaccination programme and the fall in national case numbers, the path ahead is not fixed. We can work towards reduced restrictions and more opportunities within the University by following the rules and keeping each other safe.

What does our future look like?
This week you will have received an email inviting you to take part in the first of our Big Conversation events, which will help us to shape the University’s future strategy. This is the first of three conversations and will be open until 29 March. So much has changed for us over the past 12 months, and we have learned a great deal together. Now is your change to share your ideas and suggestions for how we can take the next steps forward together. Find out more on the Strategy 2030 website.

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 14 March when the 7 day rolling daily average of positive cases was 0.4.

Book your free twice weekly tests now

We strongly expect everyone who is taking part in in-person activities or using facilities on our campuses to book free twice-weekly tests. If you are coming to campus irregularly, please get a test each time you come.

Visit the student COVID-19 testing webpages for further information and booking forms.

We want to be able to offer more in-person teaching as well as a resumption of sports and society activity, when Government restrictions allow. To do this we need to demonstrate that we are all playing our part in keeping our community safe, by getting tested when required.

Advice for those who have been vaccinated
Happily, many colleagues have now begun the process of vaccination against COVID-19, and many more will join them in coming weeks and months. Although the COVID-19 vaccinations can offer significant protection from the disease, we do not yet know whether taking the vaccine will stop you from catching and passing on the virus.

Once you have had a COVID-19 vaccination, you will therefore still need to follow the Government guidance on COVID-19 safety. To continue to protect yourself and your community you should continue to engage with COVID-19 testing, especially if you are taking part in in-person activities or using facilities on our campuses.

Your wellbeing
Even as we approach the Easter break and the warmer spring weather, our circumstances continue to place our wellbeing under pressure. Whenever you need to you can find and access a wide range of wellbeing information, tools and support on our Staff Wellbeing website, including a self-care section, tips for helping someone else, links to peer support and useful resources for working safely at home during COVID-19. The mental health support page has a full list of resources that are available for common wellbeing concerns, including stress, anxiety, depression, work-related problems, grief and worries caused by COVID-19.

Finally I’m pleased to be able to say a huge thank you to the many, many colleagues who supported the students who were displaced by the WW2 bomb. All affected students have been relocated now and the entire operation was carried out with COVID-19 safety as a paramount concern. This really was an exceptional effort by teams from across the University. Once again, I am so proud of the way we come together to support our community in times of need.




Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary