Update 18 January 2021 - national lockdown
The University recognises that staff who have caring responsibilities will need to balance their caring commitments with work during this next phase of national lockdown.
Whilst the situation in every school will be different, it is clear that many schools in Oxfordshire are severely struggling to provide places to all critical workers.
Oxford Brookes is committed to helping ensure that school places can be maintained for those parents in roles which are absolutely critical to defeating the coronavirus. Sadly, all too many of us now know someone who has contracted the virus, or have been personally affected. Therefore, we would therefore appeal to colleagues, and to the strong Brookes community mindset of which we are proud, and ask that you continue to keep children at home if you can.
As with the first national lockdown, we recognise that the closure of schools and colleges will mean that many of our staff will need to juggle work, childcare/homeschooling, and other caring commitments. We also recognise that you may not be able to contribute as fully to work as you would under normal circumstances. If this applies to you, please talk to your line manager in the first instance - we will do everything we can to support you and will be grateful for whatever contribution you are able to make at this difficult time.
There are a range of options that can be considered to help working parents get through this period, such as changes to working hours or days, a temporary reduction in hours with reduced pay, unpaid leave or a career break. We are currently investigating the possibility of offering furlough either part time or full time. In all cases, we will look for the best solution which balances the needs of the individual and University.
Those who find it impossible to carry out their role whilst homeschooling may, of course, continue to apply for a critical worker place at their school. Newly clarified guidance from the Department for Education sets out the HE roles that may be prioritised for accessing school places, which fall into four broad categories. These four categories now supersede the three criteria outlined in our previous communications to staff.
We are asking staff to exercise judgment, and unless you cannot carry out your role while homeschooling, and your job is absolutely critical to delivering teaching to students; providing welfare to students; or involved in Covid-related research, then we ask you not to apply for a school place as a critical worker.
We hope that in all of us making these hard choices we can maintain school places for those parents who work in roles which are absolutely critical for defeating this virus.
Other childcare options
There are more options available for staff during this lockdown as childcare support bubbles are allowed and nurseries remain open.
If you have specific queries, please refer to the FAQs below as these have been updated and may help you.
For Government Covid guidance, please refer to the government website. In the event that a member of staff needs to self-isolate in line with NHS or Government advice, this absence should be reported using the Coronavirus Reporting form and the absence will be counted as special Covid leave on full pay.