The University has reviewed its operations following the UK Government’s introduction of ‘Plan B’ measures in the Covid-19 plans for Autumn and Winter, and the new guidance for Higher Education Institutions.
Education: the new Higher Education guidance is clear that the UK Government is “prioritising keeping education settings open under Plan B. We therefore expect education settings to remain open for face-to-face teaching as planned”. Therefore, our timetabled in-person teaching, including labs and practicals, will continue as planned. However, because Semester 1 vacation begins on 14 December, our timetabled teaching finishes and January assessments will be online. Unless the guidance changes, our expectation is that we will approach Semester Two using the same model for teaching as Semester One.
Research: the guidance specifies that researchers can continue in-person activity. Therefore, staff and students doing research can continue using specialist equipment and accessing laboratories in the usual way, subject to their latest risk assessments. Face coverings will be worn if the risk assessment requires it.
Working arrangements: many staff in Higher Education Institutions have been classified as workers who can attend in-person by the Government, including (but not limited to) teaching staff, researchers, technical staff, student support services, Library staff and campus facility staff. Therefore, where colleagues need to work on campus to deliver their work or service, to access essential equipment or computers, or for wellbeing and mental health reasons, they can continue to do so. Otherwise, if colleagues can work from home, they will do so from Monday 13 December in line with the Government’s Plan B.
Face coverings and health and safety: in line with the guidance, face coverings are now required in study spaces including the Library, in addition to all other indoor spaces when moving around, unless an exemption applies. We have set out a number of other health and safety measures for our community to follow.
Meetings: Most committees and formal meetings will now be held online.
Events: Certain large events and specified venues now require the use of a Covid pass as outlined in the Government requirements online.