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Staff (Exeter and Cornwall)

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff

Staff

 

Working from home

From Monday 13 December, the Government has advised everyone to work from home where possible. Those involved in delivering teaching, and academics and postgraduate research students, research and support services (such as Technical Services, Hubs, Wellbeing, Libraries) and colleagues who directly support the students and staff who are on our campuses, including in accommodation, estates, sports and facilities, should continue to work on campus.

We want to ensure your set up at home is both safe and effective and have developed guidance for managers and colleagues, which includes information and guidance on how to set up your home workstation along with other sources of advice relating to homeworking. Our Information Governance Team has also created guidance on how to complete your work safely, securely, and in line with our data protection policies so please do take the time to read this guidance. And, with many of us now having a likely increase in our daily screen time it’s also important for you to take regular breaks away from your work screen.

Additional HR specific advice on COVID-19 can be found on the Coronavirus HR Support pages.

Working on campus

For colleagues involved in delivering teaching, and academics and postgraduate research students, research and support services (such as Technical Services, Hubs, Wellbeing, Libraries) and colleagues who directly support the students and staff who are on our campuses, including in accommodation, estates, sports and facilities, you should continue to work on campus. Detailed guidance for managers and information on what to expect on campus and what support is available, can be found on our 'working on campus' website.

Additional HR specific advice on COVID-19 can be found on the Coronavirus HR Support pages.

Teaching on campus

Our vision for learning and teaching this year is based upon a need for flexibility and resilience, so that whatever is thrown at us we’re prepared to provide our students with the best possible opportunity to learn and succeed. For information and FAQs about teaching on campus, please see our 'information for teaching safely on campus’ webpage.

Information on how we are using our spaces and stopping the transmission of COVID-19 can be found here

Wellbeing

Your wellbeing, and the wellbeing of our students, remains our priority and we have a range of resources available to support you. Our Staff Wellbeing Services have a number of tools that can help, and every colleague has access to Spectrum Life, which we would encourage you to use if you need to – it is vitally important that you look after yourself. As always, your manager will listen to any difficulties you’re having, and can explore any working adjustments that may be necessary.

Sustainability

We remain committed to delivering our Environment and Climate Emergency agenda by minimising our carbon impact. Find out more about what we’re doing and how you can get involved on our sustainability website.

Guidance for managers

For colleagues that are working on campus, we are continuing to manage this process carefully to ensure everyone is protected and remains safe. Guidance has been developed for managers to enable teams to return and this includes a step by step process that managers will need to follow. Please read this carefully and undertake any actions required.

Managers should also read and understand our guidance for all staff.

Regular testing

All colleagues are expected to get tested when they return to campus and then undertake regular, COVID-19 tests after this to help protect our University community.

We have a number of options for testing including test centres on our campus and home test kit collection points. Find out more about regular COVID-19 testing.

REMEMBER, if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, you must follow a different test process to ensure we can prevent onward transmission. Book your test through our Rapid Response Hub.

Frequently asked questions

Our community

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, new continuous cough or a loss of taste/smell), you must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test. This applies even if you are displaying only mild symptoms.

You can do this via our Rapid Response Hub or order one to be delivered via the Government website

If you receive a positive result, you must continue to self-isolate. More information as well as details on the support available if you need to self-isolate can be found on our Rapid Response Hub website

Positive Results

If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for ten days – information for staff on self-isolation can be found within the Information for colleagues who are self-isolating section on this page.

Let us know you have tested positive by completing the online results form so we can ensure you get all of the support you need:

More information about self–isolation and who needs to self-isolate is available on the NHS webpages and information on the support available to you during your isolation can be found on our website

Negative Results

If you receive a negative test result, you do not have coronavirus and may return to work. Please continue to COVID-19 guidance including wearing your face covering, allowing fresh air to circulate and washing your hands frequently.

Information for self-isolating colleagues

If you are not able to work for any of the following reasons please report your absence from work to your line manager, or in their absence the nominated manager, as soon as possible - either by email or telephone. You should state the reason for your absence, for example:

  • Sickness (any reason where you are unwell and unable to work as normal, including relating to coronavirus)
  • Self-isolation: In all cases, employees should follow the latest Government guidance
  • Emergency leave (e.g. childcare)

If you are reporting absence because you are self-isolating, you must also report that you are in self-isolation. You can use our self-isolation absence notification form to do this.

Information about pay arrangements can be found online.

Your manager will record your sickness absence in the usual way via iTrent – more details are available on the sickness recording web page.

During this time, it is important that you remain in regular contact with your line manager and/or supervisor, as well as those you manage, even if you are not working in your normal workplace.

If you are a manager and you become ill, please let your team know so they are aware of who they can liaise with in your absence, for example your line manager or another appropriate member of staff.

One of the measures we’ve put into place to keep all colleagues and students safe, is our Rapid Response Hub. If you are working on campus and begin to experience COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, you will need to self-isolate and contact our Rapid Response Hub. Find out more online.

If you have a specific concern or query about being absent from work please email: humanresources@exeter.ac.uk

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will only need to self-isolate for five full days, as long as you have a negative lateral flow device (LFD) test on day five and a negative test at the start of day six of your isolation. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you can end your self-isolation. The LFD test results must be reported after taking each test. This also applies to anyone who is already in isolation.

The default self-isolation period continues to be 10 days, and you may only leave self-isolation early if you have two negative LFD results and do not have a temperature, in line with Government guidance.

The key points are summarised here:

If you have symptoms or tested positive – you must self-isolate for at least 10 days if:

  • you have symptoms of coronavirus and you tested positive, had an unclear result or did not have a test
  • you tested positive but have not had symptoms
  • you are still showing as positive on LFD tests on days five and six.

If you have symptoms, the ten days starts from when the symptoms started.

If you have not had symptoms, the ten days starts from when you had the test. But if you get symptoms after your test, self-isolate for a further ten days from when your symptoms start.

People who are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 – whether Omicron or not – should take an NHS rapid lateral flow test every day, for 7 days to help slow the spread of COVID-19. They will not be required to self-isolate as long as they are considered ‘fully vaccinated’ under the UK’s travel policy. 

You must advise your line manager and report that you are in self-isolation, using the self-isolation absence notification form. Please refer to the FAQ “Reporting Absence – When and how do I report absence?” for further guidance. 

If you are well but your role does not allow you to work from home, and you are self-isolating, this will not be recorded as sickness absence.

If you become ill whilst you are in self-isolation, please report this to your manager and follow the sickness absence procedure – further information can be found on our webpages Pay Arrangements and Sickness Recording. If you cannot work as you are unwell owing to COVID-19, your period of self-isolation will be recorded as sickness absence.

If you have any further queries on this, please contact your line manager or the HR Team.

You must advise your line manager and report that you are in self-isolation, using the self-isolation absence notification form. However, if you feel well enough to work from home and you are able to do so, then you can continue to work. Your time in self-isolation will not be recorded as sickness absence. If you do begin to feel unwell and wish to stop working from home, please alert your manager and take sick leave as required.

Information for colleagues in a vulnerable group

Guidance for those previously considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, can be found on our HR webpages

The government has published specific guidance for those whose immune system mean they are at higher risk if they catch COVID-19. If you are immunosuppressed, due to a particular health condition or because you are on medication or treatment that is suppressing your immune system as detailed in the government guidance, please contact the Rapid Response Hub, who will be able to discuss next steps to support you during your period of isolation.

We know for some that coronavirus is of increased concern. Those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, may feel particularly vulnerable. If you have an existing or underlying health condition and you are worried about your health regarding the coronavirus, we would encourage you to speak to your GP for advice.

If you have any concerns about returning to on campus working on account of your health or a disability (regardless of your vulnerability level) then please discuss your situation and condition with your line manager, if you have not already done so, so that the correct support can be put into place. Additional support and advice is available from Occupational Health if necessary.

Additional information and guidance on who is at high risk and who is at moderate risk can also be found on the NHS website.

If you, or anyone you live with, has any relevant underlying health conditions we need to be aware of, please inform your line manager and contact the Rapid Response Hub if further guidance is needed.

The government advice for people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 was updated on 28 September 2021.  

The shielding programme has now ended in England and government advice is that, as a minimum, people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 should follow the same guidance on staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

 

For students

For students - our AccessAbility team is available for you to discuss any concerns you may have around your disability. You can find information on how to access this team on our website.

For staff

A guide has been developed specifically for disabled colleagues working from home which addresses some of the challenges faced by those who need to self-isolate and maintain prolonged social distancing. The guide also provides signposting and guidance towards additional support. If you are contacted by your manager about returning to work on campus, you should discuss with them whether any additional adjustments are required. If you have a condition which makes you vulnerable please see the sections above. If you require additional support or advice please contact your line manager who can arrange a referral to occupational health or contact a disability adviser in confidence.

Questions on returning to your workplace

Work is underway to enable a managed and COVID-19 secure return to work on our campuses for more of our colleagues. Detailed guidance for managers and staff on how to manage returning to campus, and what support is available to you, can be found on our 'working on campus' website.

We have a range of support available to colleagues who may be feeling anxious including the Spectrum Life service, which can be used to access 24/7 telephone counselling via our online portal.

Details of all the support available including our online cognitive behavioural therapy programme, Silvercloud, can be found on our website. Support is also available from the NHS talking therapy services.

You can discuss any concerns that you have with your line manager who can support you with adjustments to your work or make a referral to Occupational Health if further advice is needed. If you are experiencing significant symptoms you should contact your GP for advice and treatment if required.

If you are pregnant, please follow the current Government guidance

Please ensure that you complete a maternity risk assessment with your manager as soon as possible in your pregnancy. This should be reviewed each trimester or more frequently if appropriate and upon your return to work.

Please also look at the Parents and Carers webpages for information on notifying the University that you are pregnant, maternity leave and pay and other important information. If you are working on campus please ensure that you complete the COVID-19 age individual vulnerability risk assessment and an Action Plan with your manager.

Teaching on Campus

For information and FAQs about teaching on campus, please see our 'information for teaching safely on campus’ webpage.

Health, wellbeing and work

The Government has now made it a legal requirement to wear face-coverings in most indoor areas. All staff and students must wear face coverings when in indoor spaces inside all buildings, including all teaching rooms, laboratories, meeting rooms, shared offices and communal areas. It is now mandatory to wear a face covering in all shops on or off our campuses and face coverings are also mandatory on public transport, including University minibuses.

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.

Re-usable cloth face coverings can be used and disposable (non-reusable) face coverings remain available from the following locations:

Streatham Campus: Forum Street (entrance to Devonshire House, and Sanctuary / Blackwell’s foyer); Building:One; Peter Chalk Centre; Old Library

St Luke’s Campus: X-Keys café; InfoPoint

Penryn Campus: Glasney Porter’s Lodge; Masters suite (for Masters students only); ESI reception (for staff only)

Some members of our University community are exempt from wearing face coverings. The reason may not always be obvious however, whilst not being a requirement, these members can request exemption cards or badges to highlight their exemption. Obviously, whilst we should all strive to respect everyone’s privacy.

Exemption cards, lanyards and badges available for colleagues and students who choose to use one and these are available from:

· University Main Reception, Streatham Campus
· Info@St Luke’s
· Cornwall: Glasney lodge for students, ESI reception for staff
· Our campus Here2Help team (Exeter) and Marshalls (Cornwall)

“Please give me space” cards and badges are also available at the above locations.

 

Occupants of shared office spaces are expected to wear face-coverings, unless a safe distance from other occupants. Ventilation and cleaning practices must be maintained at all times and a face-covering should be worn if moving around the office where a safe distance cannot be maintained.

We are offering free three-layer face coverings to anyone using our campuses. These face coverings are available to people who choose to upgrade their single layer / loose fitting face covering – the disposable face coverings have 3 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.

The face coverings will be available at stations in following locations:

Streatham Campus:

  • Forum Street
  • Devonshire House
  • Building:One hub
  • Peter Chalk Centre foyer
  • Old Library foyer
  • Amory Building hub
  • Harrison Building hub
  • Queen's Building hub
  • Innovation Centre reception
  • Washington Singer Building reception
  • HAterley Building reception
  • Geoffrey Pope Building / LSI reception
  • Northcote House reception

St Luke’s Campus:

• X-Keys café
• Haighton Library entrance foyer

Penryn campus:

• Glasney Porter’s Lodge
• Masters suite (for Masters students only)
• ESI reception (for staff only)

Please remember to sanitise your hands and the hand sanitiser station before collecting your mask, and remember to queue in a safe and socially-distanced manner.

Windows in indoor spaces should be kept open to let the fresh air in and minimise the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses.

All areas across campuses were audited to ensure they are appropriately ventilated (either naturally or mechanically) and we are continuing to review spaces to follow government guidance on ventilation.

Windows in occupied areas should be kept open during the day and closed at the end of the day to ensure security and to retain warmth in the area overnight.

As the weather gets colder we encourage colleagues and students to come to campus prepared with extra layers of clothing. The heating is scheduled to start early in the morning to warm areas and make it more comfortable. Please do not bring your own personal electric heaters to campus as it is a potential fire risk.

Students

Your wellbeing is extremely important to us and we would like to highlight the resources that are available to support you, if needed. This includes our self-help tool, SilverCloud and our Wellbeing Services at both our Exeter and Cornwall campuses. Also see our COVID-19 welfare webpagesNightline is available from 8pm-8am to talk or instant message.

Staff

There are a number of support services available to staff during this period. Our self-help tool, Spectrum Life, can be used to access 24/7 telephone counselling via our online portal, as well as a range of well-being resources and guides. You can also talk to your line manager if you have any queries. Also see our COVID-19 welfare webpages.

Information from Human Resources

If you or someone in your household develops symptoms, please refer to the relevant questions above. You will be eligible for a test via the Rapid Response Hub.

If you work and get paid via eClaims or the Temporary Resourcing Unit, you should notify your manager and e-Claims@exeter.ac.uk if you are unwell or unable to attend work for any reason connected to coronavirus.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay from the first day of your illness. If you are not unwell but are self-isolating under Public Health England advice, the University will, as an exceptional measure, pay you for any work that has been agreed and scheduled. 

Postgraduate Teaching Assistants will continue to be paid if their work is cancelled or rescheduled, and should claim for their hours in the usual way via Trent. Please contact the manager who normally assigns work to you, to clarify the expectations of your role and whether you can undertake work from home.

If a member of your team is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 you should advise them to stay at home, self-isolate and request a test

If they are on campus, ask them to leave the workplace immediately, using a face covering (if tolerable). Remind them not to touch any surfaces if possible and to strictly obey social distancing rules. If the member of staff needs to await transport home, please ensure they are isolated a good distance from other people, preferably outside until the transport arrives.

Keep in touch with the staff member and offer advice and support if required. Ask the member of staff to contact you once the results are known. Staff who have been at work with the person with COVID-19 symptoms are not required to take any action at this point and can remain at work until the test result is known.

If the staff member has developed symptoms while at work within the 48 hours before symptom onset, contact the cleaning team via facilitiesmanagement@exeter.ac.uk and arrange for the cleaning team to respond. Managers/Supervisors should identify the particular work area that has been used.

If a member of your team subsequently receives a negative test result for COVID-19, the staff member can safely return to work if:

  • symptoms are gone and they are feeling well to work
  • no-one else in their household has tested positive or is displaying symptoms of COVID-19

Where appropriate, you may wish to reassure other staff members in your team that there are no positive cases in your area.

In the event that a member of staff in your team tests positive, please ask them to report this to the University Rapid Response Hub. They may also be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

If a staff member or student is a close contact they will be notified to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service or the University Rapid Response Hub. You may need to keep staff informed about COVID-19 cases among colleagues or students. However, you should not name the person or provide any information that could identify the person.

You should also contact the cleaning team via facilitiesmanagement@exeter.ac.uk for touchpoint clean of surfaces and any shared equipment if the staff member has been in the work area in the 48 hours before symptom onset and cleaning has not already been completed. The manager/supervisor should inform the cleaning team if the staff member has tested positive for coronavirus.

If the staff member feels well enough and has a role that enables it, they may choose to continue to work from home during self-isolation. Guidance for Managers and Staff on Absence and Pay arrangements related to coronavirus can be found here.

When the individual is ready to return to work, discuss with them whether the illness has resulted in any post viral health issues that might require reasonable adjustments to work arrangements. If so, you should consider whether a referral to Occupational Health is required; the HR Advisor Team can facilitate management referrals.

Any member of staff who has been defined as a close contact will be required to stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days, unless they are exempt. If you are exempt, you should inform your manager that you are a close contact and work with your manager to develop a plan. For some, this may involve working from home, for others it may involve being cautious about mixing with others at work. If you develop any symptoms you must take a PCR test immediately and self isolate.

These exemptions don’t apply if you are told by NHS Test and Trace that you were in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant. In this situation, you must take daily LFD tests and if you receive a positive, you must self isolate immediately. 

Managers can seek advice from the Rapid Response Hub whenever required.

Vaccinations

You can find details of the Government vaccination programme on the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination website.  Drop-in vaccination clinics are also taking place both on- and off-campus, so please look out for information in the staff Weekly Bulletin, student University Updates, and on our social media channels, to find out when the next clinics are taking place.

The UK Minister for Universities, Michelle Donelan, has confirmed that international students studying in the UK will be eligible for the vaccine while in the country, in the same way as they can access other health services. 

International students who live in the UK and are registered with a GP (general practitioner) will be able to access the COVID-19 vaccination in the UK, just as they are currently able to access healthcare. This means that older international students or those with underlying medical conditions will fall into priority categories, in the same way as anyone else in the UK.

You can also book a vaccination appointment at the Greendale Vaccination Centre near Exeter or the Hospital Hub vaccination site in Truro, using the NHS website.  Drop-in vaccination clinics are also taking place both on- and off-campus, so please look out for information in the staff Weekly Bulletin, student University Updates, and on our social media channels, to find out when the next clinics are taking place.

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It may take a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the vaccine. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, though this should be less severe. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have received a positive test result, you should still self-isolate even if you have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine. This will reduce the risk of spreading infection and help to protect other people.

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 current Government guidance and you should also adhere to University rules about Coming to Campus.

It can take several weeks for the vaccine to offer maximum protection from COVID-19. Furthermore, we don’t yet know whether individuals who have been vaccinated could still transmit COVID-19 disease to others. Therefore, any student or staff member currently using our campuses should to continue to get tested twice per week. Book your tests through our testing pages for students or staff.

No. The Lateral Flow Device test used in the University mass testing programme detects a different protein of the virus than the one encoded in the vaccine. The HALO PCR tests used for testing symptomatic cases detect different genes of the virus than the one included in the vaccine. There is no possibility that the vaccine will cause you to test positive for COVID-19 if you have not contracted the virus.

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