Last reviewed: 15 January 2021
Are there any further changes to how the University operates during national lockdown?
With the announcement of a national lockdown from 5 January in England, universities have been asked to deliver online teaching for the majority of students until mid-February at the earliest.
We can confirm that our libraries, social and study spaces, IT facilities, labs and a selection of catering outlets will be open from 4 January.
What are the plans and arrangements for Semester 2?
In line with Government guidance, the semester will start on 25 January with remote teaching for the majority of students. Face-to-face teaching for most courses will not now commence until 14 February at the earliest.
However, there are a number of previously announced exceptions to this and these specific courses will commence face-to-face learning as planned. The University will be in touch with students on these courses to confirm arrangements.
How is the University supporting staff through this difficult time?
We acknowledge that this has been a difficult period for colleagues, both for those on campus and those who have been working remotely since March. We will continue to do all we can to support you. You may wish to access our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), provided by our partner Health Assured, which was recently introduced to complement the University’s existing support provision including Occupational Health. The EAP offers expert advice and compassionate guidance by phone 24/7, 365 days a year. It provides counselling, legal advice, bereavement support, general advice on medical problems and a range of information resources and self-help tools on a broad range of issues including finance, childcare, eldercare and other life issues. Further information on how you can support your wellbeing is available on our website.
I am displaying the symptoms and believe I should self isolate. Will my pay be affected?
Current government advice is to self-isolate if you have a new continuous cough, a fever or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste and smell.
You should notify your line manager as soon as possible and complete the Coronavirus form. You may work from home if you feel able to do so. In any event, you will be paid your normal pay and your absence will be recorded as Special Covid-19 Leave. This means that any entitlement under the Managing absence from work due to ill health Policy won’t be affected by this absence.
For clarity, the first seven days of any absence are self-certified so there is no need to get a doctor’s certificate.
My illness continued for more than seven days. Do I need a medical certificate?
If the illness includes symptoms of Covid-19, the current advice is to contact NHS 111 online if symptoms persist or worsen and follow their advice. Do not attend a GP surgery or hospital. You should notify your line manager that your symptoms have worsened or continued and that you will not be coming to work and email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our current understanding is that NHS 111 will be able to issue a medical certificate after seven days. You will continue to be paid normally and this will be recorded as Special Covid-19 Leave.
If the sickness absence is for some other illness, you should follow the usual procedure set out Managing absence from work due to ill health policy and, if necessary, contact your GP in the usual way and follow their advice.
I only started with the University recently but need to self isolate or have become ill with Covid-19. What sick pay will I receive?
If the reason for your absence is Covid-19 related, you will receive normal pay for the period you self-isolate or are advised not to work. This will be treated as Special Covid-19 Leave and will not affect any entitlement under the Managing absence from work due to ill health policy.
I have an underlying health condition and am worried about catching coronavirus. What do I do?
Advice from the Government and NHS for people at higher/moderate risk from coronavirus, including older people, people with health conditions and pregnant women should take special precautions. Refer to People at Higher Risk from Coronavirus (NHS).
Professional services staff, unless otherwise advised, are requested to work from home until 4 January 2021. Members of staff who have been asked to return to campus will complete an Occupational Health risk assessment form [See section above].
The Government has issued advice on returning to work safely if you cannot work from home.
Should I come into work?
The majority of our professional services and academic staff should work from home. However, those staff who are required to support delivery of specific academic programmes that will continue with planned face-to-face teaching, as well as those involved in critical on-campus services, should continue to attend work. Your health and safety remains our priority - in light of the new variant, risk mitigations are currently being reviewed and changes will be put in place wherever possible to further mitigate the risk of transmission in the workplace. We will provide further information on this as soon as possible.
We also recognise that many of our colleagues, particularly those who are clinically vulnerable, will need to take extra care at this time. Occupational Health will be reviewing the individual health risk assessments of colleagues who are high or very high risk. Anyone who has received a letter from their GP advising them to shield should not come into work, and should discuss alternatives with their line manager.
I am fit but a member of my family has Covid-19 symptoms. What should I do?
The current government position is that if a person is displaying symptoms, they should self-isolate for 10 days and if symptoms worsen, contact NHS 111.
If a member of your household is displaying Covid-19 symptoms (raised temperature / fever and a new continuous cough, or a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell), you should follow the latest advice and the person with symptoms should self-isolate for 10 days with the remainder of the the whole household isolating for 14 days. At the end of that period, you will be expected to return to the working arrangements that have been agreed with your manager which could, for example, be working remotely.
You should notify your line manager and complete the Covid reporting form. If you are well and are able to work from home, this will be the preferred solution. If you are not able to work from home, you will be paid and this will be recorded as Special Covid-19 Leave.
As a result of the coronavirus situation I have additional caring responsibilities for a dependent adult / child and am unsure how I can manage these alongside work. What should I do?
Refer to Staff with Caring Responsibilities for the most up-to-date information
I am an Associate Lecturer. What happens to my pay?
If your specific hours have already been scheduled in, then the University will honour payment of these hours. This paid time should be used to undertake mandatory training, prepare materials for online delivery or record lectures to be put online at a later date. If your hours have not been scheduled in and if teaching is not going ahead, then, due to the extenuating circumstances, your teaching will no longer be required for this period. However, later on in the year, the University will need to reschedule teaching over a shorter time period and your services will likely be in high demand.
If my household has to self isolate, what do I do?
Government advice is if any member of the same household is displaying symptoms then you must all self isolate for 14 days. Contact your line manager and discuss if you are able to work from home. If you are unable to work from home then this will be classed as Special Covid-19 Leave and you will be paid as normal until the self isolation period is over.
Are lateral flow tests available for staff? If so, how do I book one?
Yes. Staff who are working on campus can book tests similarly to students.
You can book your tests using our simple online booking system. Testing is available at our Headington (at The Terrace, John Henry Brookes Building), Harcourt Hill and Swindon campuses.