No one can definitively predict at this stage the impact Covid-19 will have this autumn and winter, and we therefore need to ensure we allow for maximum flexibility as a university.
This means that space for teaching, study and research will continue to be at a premium, so in order to help create space for our students, the Vice-Chancellor’s Group is asking professional services staff, where possible and appropriate, to consider dividing their time between working in the office and at home - hybrid working. Colleagues who have already agreed arrangements with their business area should continue with those.
What will hybrid working look like?
- If you are a professional services member of staff in a non-student facing role, you may wish to consider dividing your working time between the office and another location that suits you, such as your home, for the whole of Semester 1. As a guideline, you may wish to aim for two days a week on campus. However, the way you choose to divide your time should be in agreement with your line manager/business area (some colleagues may have already agreed arrangements and should continue with those) and must fit with business need. Please remember that there may be occasions when you may be asked to flex your arrangements to suit business needs, as part of ongoing discussions within teams.
- If you are a professional services member of staff in a student-facing role, your working arrangements will reflect how that service is being delivered from September. This will be confirmed by your manager/business area (this may have already been agreed in some cases - please continue with those arrangements).
- If you are in a teaching role or are a researcher, you will continue to work on campus as planned.
More details can be found in emails from the Vice-Chancellor (29 June) and from Ruth Davies (26 August) and in the Hybrid working guidance for line managers.
How else can colleagues help to create space for our students?
It has been agreed by VCG that all committee and large group meetings in Semester 1 will be held remotely. Some senior level committees may be held in person but these will be by exception and attendees will be notified in advance.
The arrangements for all other meetings - such as 1-2-1s, small group meetings and team meetings - should be determined locally, but colleagues should do so in such a way that helps to create space for our students and adheres to latest social distancing guidance.
How long will these arrangements be in place?
This new approach will be kept under review and arrangements for Semester 2 will be communicated nearer the time.
How does this fit in with agile working?
A separate project for agile workspaces continues to be developed. Agile builds on hybrid working by providing colleagues with greater flexibility in the times and the places they can work, while still meeting the University’s needs and expectations of the role. Colleagues involved in the agile working pilot receive separate communications about the pilot and the changes that affect them.
The University’s Major Incident Team supported by other groups has been meeting regularly to plan a safe return to campus in September. These plans are outlined below but remain flexible and ready to react to any further changes in the Covid-19 situation.
The Student September Return Group has been busy confirming our teaching and learning plans for the new academic year. A summary of the key decisions, which have been communicated to applicants and students, can be found on the September return 2021 webpage.
From September and throughout Semester 1 the following arrangements will apply:
- All staff attending campus must complete an Individual Health Checklist assessment in advance of returning to campus. See additional details below.
- All staff must complete the Moodle Covid-19 induction package for staff returning to campus. See additional details below.
- Covid-secure arrangements, including wearing face coverings indoors, except with a valid exemption, social distancing of at least 1m wherever this is possible, enhanced cleaning, ventilation and modified circulation routes. This will enable us to continue to keep each other safe as we learn to live with the virus.
- All meetings should be held remotely; small, ad-hoc meetings may be held in person if all parties are already on site. No-one should travel to campus specially for a meeting.
- In-person meetings should follow Covid-secure arrangements including the wearing of face coverings and social distancing.
- The University’s test and trace system will continue to operate on campus, alongside the NHS system. Campus Monitors will also remain in place.
- Before returning to campus for the first time, you should take two rapid Covid-19 tests and record all test results - positive and negative - via the NHS Test & Trace website and on the University’s new Home LFD (Rapid) Testing Reporting Form within 24 hours of carrying out the test. Please continue to test twice-weekly thereafter and record all results as above.
- Pre-pandemic access to campus buildings will apply from 1 September 2021. Visitors will no longer be discouraged and campuses will be open to the general public again.
This remains a different environment for everyone, and so we really want to hear from you about how things are working. If you have any worries or experience any issues, please let us know by completing this feedback form, so that we can make any improvements needed and ensure a positive campus experience.
Students can submit feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We know there has been a lot of information to absorb about the Covid-secure measures we have kept in place for the safe return to campus and the majority of staff will be coming to campus for the first time since March 2020. Therefore, we have compiled all of the information you need into a single induction package for staff, available on your Moodle dashboard. All staff should complete this prior to returning to campus.
Entitled Phased reopening of Oxford Brookes University (Covid-19 Induction Package), the purpose of this resource is to:
- explain the University's approach to making the workplace safe;
- provide information on what arrangements are in place for a safe working environment;
- explain your responsibilities for maintaining your safety and that of the wider University community.
From September, Individual Health Checklist assessments will be required for ALL staff attending campus. You should complete the Individual Health Checklist form in advance of returning to campus. The Health Checklist has been revised to incorporate updated research and latest information on vaccinations. Advice will be given on fitness to return to site and any adjustments that may be needed.
Individual Health Checklists will be reviewed by the Occupational Health team.
The Health Checklist process will be in two stages: a self-assessment stage, and a further Occupational Health assessment stage. You will only go through to the second stage if your answers to the first stage suggest that you MAY be a higher risk.
The Health Checklist individual health form is based on the ALAMA ‘COVID-age’ tool. This is the recognised tool for Occupational Health practitioners which assesses an individual’s vulnerability to COVID-19. It is based on published evidence for the main risk factors, including age, sex, ethnicity and various health conditions.
What is the Alama Covid-Age Risk Assessment tool?
The Alama Covid-age tool helps to assess an individual’s vulnerability to Covid-19. It is based on published evidence for the main risk factors, including age, sex, ethnicity and various health problems. It works by translating the risk associated with each risk factor into years which are added to (or subtracted from) an individual’s actual age. This then gives a single overall measure of vulnerability.
How long will I need to wait for the outcome of my assessment?
The first self-assessment stage will give you and your line manager an immediate outcome. If, however, you need to go through to the second stage then this process may take a few weeks. The Occupational Health team needs to prioritise the order in which appointments are undertaken. This will mean longer waits for some staff and managers to receive the outcome. If a manager needs a member of staff back on site more urgently please email your request to email@example.com.
What questions will be asked in the first stage of the form?
The self assessment form is split into two sections:
- Section 1: personal details including your age, sex, ethnicity, Body Mass Index (BMI) and current Covid-19 vaccination status
- Section 2: Any anxieties you may have about returning to site plus any health conditions you may have that fall into health conditions identified as risks associated with Covid-19 by Public Health England (PHE), based on published evidence.
If you have no underlying health conditions as identified by PHE, AND have had your vaccine and your Covid-age is low, then your overall risk will be assessed as Low and you will be fit to return to work on site.
If you do have underlying health conditions, AND/OR your Covid-age is high or very high, then you will need to go through to a second stage Occupational Health assessment.
Please note: your personal details will only be viewed by Occupational Health.
What if I am assessed as fit to return to work, but I have someone in the household who is at high risk?
The advice is that you should still return to work and we will work with you to mitigate any risks regarding your specific situation. Any anxieties should be raised with your line manager in the first instance, who may then seek advice from HR or Occupational Health on how to ensure you keep household members safe. It is important that you keep communicating with us if your situation changes or you have any concerns.
I am a Line Manager, what support/advice is available to me for having conversations with staff about their return to campus?
HR has issued the following guidance for line managers.
How will my data be used?
Please see the privacy statement for this form.
Your answers to the self-assessment form will be held by Occupational Health (OH).
The outcome of your self-assessment will be sent to your line manager, along with the answers you gave to Section 2. There will be NO information about specific health conditions in the OH Outcome email In terms of the second stage assessment, your data will be treated with the same level of confidentiality as with any other OH assessment referral.
OH will upload your health information onto the OH record system, and will provide you and your manager with an OH Outcome Report.
The safety and wellbeing of our staff and students remain our number one priority.
We have carried out a comprehensive Risk Assessment as a key part of our recovery planning.
This High Level Risk Assessment highlights the potential hazards, the level of risk involved and the measures we are taking to keep people safe.
We have also made all of our workspace risk assessments available to staff.
In order to support the NHS ‘test and trace’ service and help ensure the safety of our staff, students and visitors across our campuses, we are using a simple system to track attendance in a number of areas. These areas include all teaching rooms, catering outlets, social study areas and libraries.
In each room/area where tracking of attendance is required, there will be at least one QR code (and short URL link) that is specific to that location. The person registering their attendance will then have to complete some basic attendance information through a google form.
It is also essential that staff working on campus keep their Google calendars set to ‘public’ (not private) and kept up to date with information about the office/space you are working in, and the date, time and location of all meetings (even if it is just in a social/study space or in your office).
We strongly encourage staff and students to download the NHS Test and Trace app. NHS QR codes are being used in external campus areas such as the Co-op store in Headington and Brookes Sport, as well as social spaces indoors such as cafes. Everyone (staff and students) should continue to check in with the Oxford Brookes QR codes in teaching rooms.
You can access further details of our test and trace policy.
Staff and students are encouraged to take twice-weekly rapid Covid-19 tests using home testing kits. Tests are for those without Covid-19 symptoms. These kits can be collected from all campuses. Please check the website for opening times for collection points. Home testing kits are also available from some community venues such as libraries, by post or from designated pharmacies. Find your local home testing kit collection point.
- Ensure that the room size is appropriate for the meeting so that reasonable distancing can be maintained
- Ventilate the room prior to and after the meeting (open windows and doors)
- Wear a face covering
- Wash or sanitise your hands
- Clean down any surfaces after use
- Limit time in close contact
- Agree and abide by start and finish times
- Use the NHS Covid app
- Make a record in your diary of who you have met with
- Stop the meeting if either party demonstrates Covid-19 symptoms.
It is widely accepted that wearing a face covering helps protect others. For this reason, everyone (students, staff and visitors) to campus will be required to wear face coverings while indoors on campus (except where there is a valid medical reason).
A revised face coverings policy was introduced in September 2021. In summary, the changes are:
- Increased the requirement from wearing a face covering for staff to higher quality face masks. Chemport V-100 masks are available for staff to order (currently two per member of staff and can be washed up to 50 times).
- Clear face masks will be available for staff to assist students or staff who need to lip read. The amount of time wearing a clear face mask should be kept to a minimum and replaced with a Chemport V-100 mask as soon as possible.
- Face coverings should be worn by students and staff during teaching and practical sessions.
- A sunflower lanyard should be worn to signify an exemption from wearing a mask (see below).
All staff and students on campus must understand and comply with the University’s Face Coverings Policy.
Face coverings for staff
Three types of face mask (9-ply, clear for teaching staff only and disposable) will be made available for staff. If you require a mask from the University, you should contact your Head of Operations in the first instance.
While you are waiting for your mask to be supplied, 3-ply non-medical masks are available from campus reception points, you can also continue to wear your own face covering when indoors on campus.
Face coverings in staff offices
Depending on the office setup, staff may choose to remove their face covering when seated at their desk but put it on again if someone is standing close by or needs to look at something on their screen. We need to be mindful of colleagues’ concerns or anxieties and wear a face covering if a colleague requests one be worn in their vicinity.
We will regularly review this guidance and our face coverings policy.
For many students and staff, the experience of the pandemic has created increased risks and some people may have new or worsening health conditions. We recognise that many disabilities and health conditions are not visible.
We know that many of our disabled students and staff may continue to have understandable and real concerns for their own safety and protection. Therefore as a whole community we need to be highly conscious and responsible in how we protect ourselves and each other. It is still important to remember that Covid-19 is highly transmissible and we need to take extra care. To do this we will need to continue to give each other space, good ventilation, an enhanced cleaning regime, modify circulation routes if required as well as wearing face coverings (where possible) to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission to others.
The University signed up to the nationwide Sunflower Lanyard scheme with Hidden Disabilities last year. A sunflower lanyard can be used by those who have a hidden disability so university staff and students can identify those who may require extra help, understanding or patience, and in some cases exemption from face coverings.
We ask all students and staff to be mindful and respectful. Regardless of whether or not you wear a sunflower lanyard, it’s not ok to experience any kind of bullying or harassment. If you experience or witness any such behaviours involving students, you can report it online at Report and Support. Staff can report incidents to their line manager or to a Staff Harassment Adviser.
What is the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard?
The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is designed to discreetly show that the wearer or someone with them has a hidden disability and may require some extra help, understanding, or patience.
View the What is the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower? YouTube video to find out more.
Which hidden disabilities mean someone is eligible to wear a sunflower lanyard?
There is no qualifying list of disabilities for the scheme.
You do not have to wear a sunflower lanyard if you have a hidden disability, but wearing it means you are discreetly showing that you have an invisible disability, that you may need some assistance and in some cases that you are exempt from face coverings.
Which hidden disabilities mean someone is eligible to wear a sunflower lanyard?
This is the Government guidance on exemptions and the University also has its own face coverings policy. This includes (but is not limited to):
- people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip-reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others ‒ including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in strenuous activity.
- police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public.
Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Regardless of whether or not you wear a sunflower lanyard, it’s not ok to experience any kind of bullying or harassment. If you experience or witness any such behaviours involving students, you can report it online at Report and Support. Staff can report incidents to their line manager or to a Staff Harassment Adviser.
If you cannot wear a face covering, wear a transparent shield, if possible.
Can I use my sunflower lanyard to show that I am exempt from wearing a face covering?
Wearing a sunflower lanyard – should you choose to do so - helps show that you are exempt from wearing a face covering in a discreet way. While it is not mandatory to wear a sunflower lanyard for this purpose, it does indicate to University staff that you have a hidden disability and may require some extra help, understanding, or patience.
Where can I get a sunflower lanyard?
Staff and students can order a sunflower lanyard from the student online shop. The University will not require staff or students to provide any personal information to order this lanyard. If someone is wearing a sunflower lanyard, we will respect this and we will not challenge the wearer.
Can I show my support for people with hidden disabilities by wearing a sunflower lanyard?
No. The sunflower lanyard should only be used by people with hidden disabilities so they can make themselves visible.
You can show your support by downloading a Hidden Disabilities logo and adding it to your email signature.
What will be different on campus?
- Many of the University’s existing risk mitigations will remain in place.
- Face coverings (supplied to staff by the University) will be required to be worn indoors on campus, except where there is a valid reason for exemption
- We should still maintain a social distance of at least 1m distance wherever this is possible (note, 1m social distancing will not be implemented in most teaching spaces)
- Windows should be kept open as much as possible to improve ventilation
- An enhanced cleaning regime will remain in place.
- Most circulation routes will remain but may be subject to modification.
- All meetings should be held remotely; small, ad-hoc meetings may be held in person if all parties are already on-site and if meetings adhere to Covid-secure arrangements including the wearing of face coverings and social distancing. No-one should travel specially to campus for such a meeting, however.
- The University’s test and trace system will continue to operate on campus, alongside the NHS system.
- Campus Monitors will remain in place.
- From 1 September, all buildings will revert to pre-pandemic access levels for all staff and students. From this date, visitors to campus will no longer be discouraged and members of the general public will be permitted to access our campuses once again.
- Parking charges and enforcement will resume on all of our campuses from 1 September.
What is the Five Steps plan that Oxford Brookes has introduced to help to ensure a safe return to work?
The University has updated its Five Steps process to working safely at Oxford Brookes, which aligns with Government guidance on reopening workplaces. The five steps are:
- Review and new Covid-19 risk assessments
- Maintain cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
- Limiting close contact with those you do not live with
- Where people cannot limit close contact, manage transmission risk.
- Help people to work from home, where possible.
Further detail on each of these steps, as well as information on reopening business areas on campus, managing PPE and signage are detailed in the full Five Steps plan document.
How are the University’s campus buildings being ventilated?
The Government’s and Public Health England’s advice is to increase ventilation in buildings where possible. Research shows that being in a room with fresh air can reduce the risk of infection from particles by over 70% - further detail and a video can be found on the Government website.
Windows will continue to be kept open and the heating on as appropriate in University buildings in order to increase ventilation. You may find that buildings are colder than you expect so we recommend that you take regular breaks and wear layers of clothing.
Oxford Brookes’ Health and Safety Group has reviewed the types of ventilation systems within buildings and their optimal use. The University has considered the potential transmission of Covid-19 and continues to draw upon latest Government and industry advice, including best practice from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and the Building Engineering Services Association.
Do I need to wear a face covering on campus?
It is widely accepted that wearing a face covering helps protect others. For this reason, everyone (students, staff and visitors) will be required to wear face coverings while indoors on campus (except where there is a valid medical reason).
Colleagues should continue to wear the University-supplied 9-ply face coverings, if you already have them, until you reach the maximum number of washes specified by the manufacturer. If you require further masks, please speak to your Faculty or Directorate Ops Team.
A visor has been provided for teaching staff and should be used in all classroom situations. You may wish to use both. Unless by exception you have been given specific Occupational Health advice on what you should be wearing.
A transparent face covering is also available to colleagues. It offers the full protection of a face covering and helps ease communication with those who have a hearing impairment, or who are communicating in English as a second language. Visit the Hub for information on requesting a transparent face covering.
Exemptions to the Brookes policy on face coverings will follow the government guidelines on exemptions. These guidelines explain that there are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, where people are not expected to wear face coverings.
Students and staff who are exempt from wearing a face covering under Government guidelines can order an sunflower lanyard through the online shop to show that they are exempt from wearing a face covering.
What is the guidance on social distancing?
There is no longer a requirement for social distancing, but it now becomes the responsibility of each of us to assess our individual risk and to keep each other safe as we learn to live with the virus. The guidance from Public Health England is:
- Limit close contact with those you do not live with.
- Other practical measures will be implemented on campus to manage the transmission risk:
- In-person teaching spaces have been risk-assessed and room capacities have been set appropriately. In some cases, larger lectures will be online.
- Oxford Brookes and our partners have kept the sneeze screens that were installed at appropriate places throughout the campus.
- All students, staff and visitors to campus will be required to wear face coverings while indoors on campus (except where there is a valid medical reason or while eating). Face coverings will be optional outdoors on campus.
- Those who are exempt from wearing a face covering under Government guidelines can order a sunflower lanyard from the online shop and are advised to wear a face shield, if possible.
What hygiene measures are in place (i.e. washing hands, using sanitisers, cleaning wipes)?
Please continue to follow the hygiene recommendations to keep each other safe as we learn to live with the virus. Remember the 3 easy steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands often
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes
- Protect yourself and others by routinely cleaning surfaces you have touched.
Before leaving a classroom or shared workspace you should sanitise your hands, and wipe down with sanitising wipes (provided) your work area, for example desk, chair arms and IT equipment.
It is important that everyone washes their hands regularly and frequently, using hand sanitiser where appropriate. There will be hand sanitiser stations around the University.
What cleaning measures are in place at the University?
The University has worked with its cleaning contractor to provide an extensive cleaning process. This involves regular cleaning of all areas and identification of high-intensity touchpoints such as door handles, lift buttons etc which will be cleaned regularly by clearly visible cleaning staff.
The cleaning staff will use a curative cleaning product which destroys pathogens that may leave a smeary finish but is an indication that the surface has been cleaned.
The cleaning areas will be regularly swab tested for pathogens as well as having random site inspections by staff.
There will also be antibacterial wipes at workstations and we ask you to use these before and after you have used a workstation or desk.
The cleaning staff will safely dispose of any waste in a safe way.
Cleaning staff will pay particular attention to high-touch areas which will be cleaned regularly.
If there is a suspected or confirmed case the area will be deep cleaned using special chemicals to disinfect the area.
The University's contracted cleaning company, KGB, has also produced a helpful overview of the enhanced cleaning processes they have put in place.
How can we keep track of students, staff and visitors?
Test and Trace
The University is promoting the Government’s NHS Covid-19 app and is working closely with the national Test and Trace service. In addition where it is possible, for example where we know who has attended a class with someone who later tested positive, the University has a team in place that will identify those people who were in closest proximity and take action quickly.
We strongly encourage staff and students to download the NHS Test and Trace app. NHS QR codes are being used in external campus areas such as the Co-op store in Headington and Brookes Sport, as well as social spaces indoors such as cafes.
The University is also promoting the use of QR codes and it is important that everybody scans the QR codes located in teaching rooms. This will enable the University’s tracing team to quickly find anyone who has been in close proximity to a person who later receives a positive test result. Most phones have a reader embedded in the factory-provided settings. If not, there is also a URL on the QR barcode poster. Most phones can read QR codes via camera. If anyone doesn’t have a smartphone, students can ask others to register their attendance.
Everyone (staff and students) should continue to check in with the Oxford Brookes QR codes in teaching rooms.
Both of these test and trace systems can help identify anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case and help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus on our campuses.
How will the QR codes work?
In each room/area where tracking of attendance is required there will be at least one QR code which is specific to that location. The person registering their attendance will then have to:
- Sign into Google myaccount.google.com (this will save time in filling out the google form later on in the process)
- Scan the QR code on their mobile phone (a QR code reader/app may need to be downloaded for this if the device camera doesn’t scan the QR code automatically). Alternatively you can type in the short URL which will also be on the QR poster.
- Once scanned, the QR code (or short url) will link to a google form where the following information will need to be filled out:
- Full Name.
- Email Address.
- Mobile Phone Number.
- Desk/Table Number (not applicable to all areas).
- The name of the Room/Area, which will also displayed on the QR code poster (if this has already been pre-populated in the form please do not amend the information).
- Once all fields on the google form have been completed click the ‘submit’ button.
Please encourage students to register their attendance, prompting them and giving them time to do so at the start of the session.
There may be occasions where a person will be unable to register their attendance (for example they don’t have an appropriate device). In these situations we want to strongly encourage students and staff to ask another classmate, friend or colleague to register their attendance on their behalf on their own devices. This would just involve completing the steps above again but making sure you fill out the personal information of the person you are registering on behalf of.
Why have I been asked to keep my Google Calendar up-to-date?
In order to further support the NHS test and trace it is essential that all staff who are working on campus at any time keep their Google calendars up to date with the following information:
- The office/space that you were working in.
- The date and time of all meetings.
- The location of all meetings (even if it is just in a social/study space or in your office).
It is also important that all staff calendars are made ‘open’ so the information can easily be accessed in the event of an infection. (Please see a helpful guide with a video on how to make your calendar public if you are unsure).
It should be understood that in exceptional circumstances to support the tracing needs of the NHS, then we may need to seek access to a private Google calendar.
By engaging with these measures it helps provide a safe environment to work in and helps us identify and isolate incidents if there is a confirmed case.
Refer to our Test and Trace Policy for more details.
Will catering onsite be available?
Catering outlets will be open at all campuses
For opening times and more information go to Catering Services.
The Co-op in the Colonnade building on Headington Campus is open 8.00am - 10.00pm, Monday to Friday and 8.00am - 8..00pm at weekends.
What are the other facility arrangements in place?
From Week 0 (Monday 13 September), Headington, Harcourt Hill and Wheatley libraries will be open 24/7 - you will need your SALTO card to gain access to buildings out of hours. Swindon Library will be open during opening hours for Swindon Campus. Find out opening hours for all libraries.
As well as Live Chat and the Virtual Help Room, face-to-face help will also be available. Scan and Send (where you can request a scan of library material is emailed to you) will also remain available.
The libraries will reopen to visitors and NHS Test and Trace will be in place.
Study spaces will be reinstated and group study rooms/Platform pods will be reinstated for student bookings.
Some restrictions still apply to sports facilities and pre-booking may be required either online or through the Brookes Sport app. Please check with the sports centre about what facilities are open as this may change as further government advice changes.
- All sites will use cashless payments.
- Social study spaces and open access computers will be available.
- Showering facilities will be open.
What do I do if I start to feel ill at work?
As soon as anybody starts to feel unwell at work they should go home. In the case of experiencing Covid-19 symptoms they should report using the Coronavirus reporting form. It is vital that the person self-isolates and arranges to take a test.
The room isn’t set up how I would like - can I move the furniture?
Yes, but you should leave enough time at the end of your session to reset the room to its standard layout.
How do I report unsafe behaviour?
Dealing with refusal to wear face coverings, or not wiping down surfaces before /after teaching sessions is covered above. It would be very helpful if this could also be reported using the Covid Secure Feedback form as this will enable trends or themes to be identified and dealt with. Campus monitors will also be available on campus during access hours. Regular contact with the line manager will also enable issues to be dealt with locally. In an emergency situation contact security on 01865 483060 or firstname.lastname@example.org (24/7).
What is the process for booking events on campus?
Due to current circumstances, the University will only permit a small number of large scale events. All event requests will go through a central approval process.
The first step is to get in principle approval from the Director or PVC Dean. If approved, this request will then be submitted via the Event Request Form for approval by the Recovery Steering Group.
What is the visitor policy for University campuses?
From 1 September, the general public and visitors will be able to access campuses.
What have we communicated to students?
We have worked with Brookes Union to create a student behaviour agreement which outlines the expectations of students to behave in a socially responsible way.
We have also communicated to students about the protocols for teaching rooms and being on campus, sent as part of the communications about their timetable.
For more detail, see the Keeping each other safe page.
What happens if the guidance changes?
The University is in constant contact with bodies such as Public Health England, central Government and local authorities. As and when advice changes we will react as swiftly as we reasonably can and advise staff.
To support making space for students on campus and to manage the risk of Covid-19 transmission on campus, many colleagues will continue to work remotely either all or part of the time for the foreseeable future.
Many of the arrangements that have been introduced, such as home working assessments, will remain in place so that the University can ensure the safe working environment of colleagues while they work remotely.
As well as looking after yourself while working remotely, it is important to also look after the University’s data and information security, and there is guidance in this section to help you do this.
Home working assessment form
We require all colleagues who are working from home - part-time or full-time - to complete a home working assessment form to ensure that your home working environment is suitable and safe for you.
Tips for working at home - working in a hybrid way
- Update your calendar to show your working pattern for the week - Google Calendar has an inbuilt feature to support this
- On the days you are not travelling onto campus, you could support your health and wellbeing by using your normal commute time to do some exercise or to meditate (see below for ideas and further information).
- If you have workplace adjustments agreed based on an impairment or health condition, your line manager will support you to access specialist software or equipment to enable you to continue to work effectively from home and in the office.
Tips for working at home - looking after yourself
- Try to work in a separate space if possible. Mentally, it may help to disconnect from work and reconnect to personal life.
- Wherever you are working, try to ensure your set up is as good as it can be - see Moodle for various video tips and ideas. Please speak to your manager if you have any concerns or need any additional support in this area.
- Try a counter top or ironing board (if safe to do so) as a standing desk to avoid long periods of sitting down.
- If you have workplace adjustments agreed based on an impairment or health condition, your line manager will support you to access specialist software or equipment to enable you to continue to work effectively from home.
- If the home working environment leads to a worsening of symptoms or re-trigger an onset of health conditions, let your line manager know so you can discuss adjustments and solutions.
Existing regular or occasional homeworkers
If you are a regular or occasional homeworker then the systems you currently use and access will remain in place.
Colleagues should familiarise themselves with information on working remotely which is available:
- Homeworking implementation guidelines for applicants and managers (HR policy)
- Flexible IT (IT webpages)
- Flexible Working Policy (HR)
We require all colleagues who are working from home - part-time or full-time - to complete a home working assessment form to ensure that your home working environment is suitable and safe for you.
Through the form, colleagues will self-assess their homeworking set-up. Ideally users should:
- have a height adjustable chair
- work at a table
- for laptops, use a separate keyboard and mouse and either raise your laptop screen or use a separate screen
- look for trip hazards with cables
- ensure your electrical cables are not frayed or damaged.
Please complete your home working assessment form as soon as possible after you start working from home.
Equipment at home
If you are leaving Oxford Brookes, please follow this ECS guidance on how to return furniture and equipment.
Working remotely resources
As part of the preparation for hybrid working, a form will be shared with colleagues shortly that will ask questions in relation to IT equipment held and home Display Screen Equipment (DSE) arrangements. This will help us further understand the needs of colleagues across the University as we adopt this new way of working.
The IT Service Desk team is well prepared to support you whether you are on campus or working remotely, via the following channels:
Telephone: 01865 48 3311 (3311 for calls from campus phones)
Service Portal (including self service forms, Knowledgebase and Chat service)
In the case that Service Desk Points on campus need to close, service availability information and announcements will be provided via the Service Portal.
Wherever possible, staff are asked to test in advance that they are able to work from home - for example, that they have suitable equipment, a VPN connection and access to passwords. Line managers should support colleagues in ensuring that this is possible.
If you haven’t already, and are now working from home, you must complete a home working assessment form. This ensures the University can comply with our responsibility to conduct risk assessments for all work activities. After completion, you will receive a copy of the form via email. The Health and Safety team will contact you and your line manager if there are any actions to take.
Information for colleagues with Brookes provided laptop
Even with hybrid working in place, please ensure you take your laptop home with you every day. If you have a charger please take it with you between home and work. We know that the pandemic situation can change rapidly, requiring a decision to close the University’s campuses could be made quickly and you may not be allowed back on site to retrieve equipment.
All Brookes laptop users have been provided with pre-installed SNAP Virtual Private Networking (VPN), Sophos Anti-Virus and Microsoft Office. If any of these appear to be missing, please contact the IT Service Desk for assistance.
Information for colleagues without a Brookes provided laptop
Most of our services, such as the HR Staff Portal and Moodle are available via a web browser on any device, with no configuration necessary. Some services require our SNAP VPN or a Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) connection (see below for more information).
IT Services provide free antivirus software for home computers, and this is a prerequisite for VPN access.
Remote working services
Many of the University’s information systems have moved online and do not require anything other than an internet browser to access them. However, for some of our services you either need to be on site, or use one of the following technologies to access them off campus:
SNAP VPN: This service, otherwise known as Big-IP Edge Client, allows you to access network resources such as shared drives and e5 from external network connections (eg from home). Please read the SNAP VPN online guide for more information.
RDP: This service allows you to access your work desktop from home. This will allow the use of locally installed software on a desktop computer that may have limited licenses or other local dependencies. To request the set-up of RDP please use this form.
information and announcements will be provided via the Service Portal.
Our Google suite of applications is now widely used across the University. This provides staff with the ability to work on their email and documents from anywhere in the world via a browser. Email remains a key communications tool, but you may want to consider using Google Meet or Zoom for meetings with people in different locations.
Other IT resources
Zoom and Panopto - how to access Brookes Zoom, use Panopto for video recording and more advice and resources
Data and documents
Please consider where you have your data and how accessible it will be to you should you not have access to your work computer. Google Drive and shared drives provide unlimited space for storage of all types of files. Google Docs, Sheets and Slides provide online tools for working with them. View a full guide on data storage here.
- As a member of staff you have access to Office 365 web and locally installed applications on personal devices too.
- Regardless of where we work, we need to comply with good working practices in relation to data security:
- Always lock your screen if you are leaving your device unattended, whether at home or at work (Windows Key + L)
- Always lock your computer before closing the lid before travelling with it (Windows Key + L)
- If you are travelling with a device please use a suitable bag to carry the device. Do not leave it unattended eg in a vehicle.
- We are not in a position to offer hard drive encryption for all laptop devices at present. For this reason please ensure that sensitive data is only stored on University shared folders, information systems or Google Drive / Team Drives and NOT on your device or unencrypted memory sticks or removable hard drives.
- Regularly delete files that are no longer needed
- Ensure all your devices are running regularly updated software and use anti-virus software (Sophos Home is available for free)
- Please see the IT Services guidance for how to secure your desktop and mobile devices.
Guidance for managers
Staff with caring responsibilities
Teaching and learning
Brookes Teaching Toolkit (OCSLD) - Oxford Brookes provides a range of digital tools for teaching and supporting learners online and on campus. From Moodle to Zoom, Panopto to Padlet. The Teaching Toolkit webpages also introduce the services and support available for teaching staff to use the teaching toolkit to deliver their educational intentions and to design accessible learning resources.
Will the University contribute to my costs incurred by working from home?
If you are working from home you can apply for tax relief on the Gov.uk website. You will need to reapply for the 2021/22 tax year if you applied for the 2020/21 tax year.
For many people, any increased costs from home working are likely to be offset by savings in commuting.
The University will therefore not be making any other financial contribution at this time.
What guidance is available for staff working from home, and do I need to undertake a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment?
Please take a look at the Working from home in exceptional circumstances guide, available on Moodle, put together by the Health & Safety Team.
If you are experiencing significant aches, pains or discomfort related to your temporary DSE arrangements, having already reviewed the above DSE checklist, please speak to your line manager in the first instance. If this cannot be resolved locally they may suggest a referral to Occupational Health.
There is also guidance for line managers managing teams remotely.
If you haven’t already, and are now working from home, we require all colleagues to complete a home working assessment form. This complies with our responsibility to conduct risk assessments for all work activities. After completion, you will receive a copy of the form via email. The Health and Safety team will contact you and your line manager if there are any actions to take.
Does the university have an intent to support remote working in the long term?
Information about hybrid working has been shared with colleagues as we move to a new way of working. Some colleagues who work in John Payne and Buckley buildings will also be involved in an agile working pilot to help us create space for our students.
Will I be asked to work from home if I am self-isolating?
If you haven’t got Covid-19 symptoms but have to self-isolate, then you may be asked to work from home as best you reasonably can.
If you have tested positive for Covid-19 and are too ill to work, you will be regarded as taking Covid leave to solely concentrate on getting better. Please complete the Coronavirus reporting form to inform the University
On 16 August, the rules about who needs to self-isolate changed. If you have received both Covid vaccinations and it has been more than two weeks since your second vaccination, or you are aged under 18 years 6 months, you will not need to self-isolate after contact with a confirmed positive case of Covid-19 (as long as you do not have Covid symptoms).
If you do not have symptoms, the NHS recommends that you:
- Take a PCR test
- Follow advice on how to avoid catching and how to limit the spread of Covid-19
- Consider limiting contact with people who are at higher risk of Covid-19.
Am I allowed to return to campus for all my working hours?
If you are finding it challenging to continue working remotely, please discuss any concerns you have with your line manager, your link HR team and if it would help, with Occupational Health.
There are existing resources (HR Advice to support your wellbeing) to help.
I am leaving the University. How do I return furniture that I have borrowed from the University?
If you are leaving the University, you can follow this ECS guidance to ensure that furniture and IT equipment is returned safely.