Last reviewed: 1 March 2021
What are the plans and arrangements for Semester 2?
The semester started on 25 January with remote teaching for the majority of students. On 27 January the Government announced that schools and colleges in England will not return to full face-to-face education until 8 March at the earliest. The Government has since confirmed that this also applies to higher education, and therefore all university students should continue their studies remotely until 8 March at the earliest. Only those students on courses previously permitted to return to campus will continue with face-to-face teaching for now.
We will provide further information about what this means for teaching and the University’s wider operations as soon as we can - no further information has been shared by the Government at present. Please note that research supervisors will be sent further information by the Research Degrees Team, if needed.
For academic staff, once we receive confirmation from the Government that face-to-face teaching on campus can restart for more students, we will give you at least one week’s notice while the University updates student timetables and Google Calendars. We are also communicating this to our students in parallel
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.
What is the new Zoom "camera on" policy?
The University has asked students to come to online teaching sessions with their camera on. We know that teaching sessions are most beneficial to students who interact fully in them. This is why we have asked all students who feel able to, to have their cameras on during lessons.
We appreciate that for technical, psychological, child safeguarding and other reasons, people may not wish, or may not be able, to engage in this way. We understand this and we will respect students to choose whatever mode suits them best.
We are, wherever possible, encouraging students to start with a ‘camera on’ position, but you should not challenge anyone who does not have their camera on. If you do wish to ask, for example if you have concerns about a student, please do so sensitively and discreetly through email or a direct message within Zoom that is not seen by other students.
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 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.