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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for staff – 6 July 2021

Dear Colleagues

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced plans for the further easing of national COVID-19 restrictions from 19 July. This will include changes to the rules regarding social distancing, face-coverings and social gatherings. Whilst the numbers of COVID-19 cases being reported continues to rise, the decision to further ease restrictions has been taken because the link with numbers of hospitalisations and deaths has been weakened by the progress of the vaccination programme.

Any easing of restrictions on our campuses will be managed in a phased way, and we will communicate any changes with colleagues and students throughout this process. We know that reducing our social distancing measures will take time to get used to and we will need to work as a community to support each other throughout.

In the meantime the current social distancing measures will remain in place across all University campuses until the Government confirms the further easing of the current national restrictions from Monday 19 July. As the Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said yesterday, at the moment we are in the face of an increasing epidemic, and we need to act accordingly.

It remains vital that we all play our part in helping to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by sticking to the guidelines, including by reducing unnecessary contact between people and households where we can, and by engaging with testing and vaccination programmes whenever we are invited to. Please remain vigilant when using shared spaces and adhere to the measures designed to help stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your HANDS.
  • Cover your FACE.
  • Give other people SPACE.
  • Meet in the FRESH AIR

If you are instructed to self-isolate it is critically important that you remain in isolation for the full period. Self-isolation is a legal duty and breaking these rules can result in significant fines.

Vaccinations

The continued progress of the vaccination programme remains the critical factor in reducing COVID-19 transmission and the Prime Minster announced an increased focus on ensuring that all adults can be offered two vaccinations by mid-September. Please ensure that you take the opportunity to get vaccinated when it is offered.

The Health Secretary has today announced that from 16 August fully vaccinated people in England will not have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive, unless insufficient time has passed from their second jab. This policy will also apply to anyone under the age of 18 from this date.

Testing

Taking twice-weekly tests at home, even if you don’t have any symptoms, will help us to contain any outbreaks and to protect each other and our communities. You should take tests regularly if you are coming to campus and before heading out to meet others to reassure yourself that your risk is low. I encourage everyone to remain vigilant, so please pick up your tests.

Returning to work on campus

These announcements do not change the process we are following to enable the return of more colleagues to on-campus working. This is being managed carefully to ensure colleagues can return safely and we will continue to work with Colleges and Services to facilitate that return. Managers have been asked to work through a 10-step process in order to assess who is able to return to campus and when.

Next steps

I will write next week with full details of how these changes will be reflected across the University.

You can find out everything you need to know about guidelines, testing, and the University’s response to COVID-19 on our dedicated webpages. Finally, please remember that you can also access Wellbeing Support at any time. Full details are on our website.

Best wishes

Mike

 

Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary