1. Purpose

These pages set out the University's response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic for staff and your actions as line managers.

While the pandemic is ongoing, the arrangements on these pages are temporary and remain under constant review; they do not represent a substantive change to the underlying Terms and Conditions of employment. In the same way, the adaptation guides (see section 8 below) explain temporary changes in how we are applying our HR policies and procedures during the pandemic.

The guidance on these pages and the related General FAQs for staff and FAQs on self-isolation apply to all staff in the University. Advice and support is available from your HR Advisor or Business Partner.

This guidance continues to be updated on an ongoing basis in line with further national Government / public health guidance and in liaison with our campus Trade Unions.

2. Our Approach to the Uk Government's 4-step Roadmap out of Lockdown 3

On Monday 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister addressed the nation to announce a third period of national lockdown (Lockdown 3) in England. The new rules became law in the early hours of Wednesday morning and retrospectively enacted by Parliament later that day.

On 22 February 2021, the Prime Minister addressed the nation again to announce the 4-step Roadmap out of Lockdown 3. This sets out 4 steps to take England out of lockdown in graduated stages as follows, subject to meeting the Four Tests - Figure 8:

Step 1:

8 March:

  • Schools and colleges are open for all students. Practical Higher Education Courses

  • Recreation or exercise outdoors with household or one other person. No household mixing indoors

  • Wraparound childcare

  • Stay at home.

29 March: - Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No household mixing indoors - Outdoor sport and leisure facilities.

  • Organised outdoor sport allowed (children and adults).

  • Minimise travel. No holidays.

  • Outdoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents).

Step 2:

No earlier than 12 April - at least five weeks after Step 1:

  • Indoor leisure (including gyms) open for use individually or within household groups.

  • Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No household mixing indoors.

  • Outdoor attractions such as zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas.

  • Libraries and community centres

  • Personal care premises

  • All retail

  • Outdoor hospitality.

  • All children’s activities, indoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents)

  • Domestic overnight stays (household only)

  • Self-contained accommodation (household only)

  • Minimise travel. No international holidays

Step 3:

No earlier than 17 May - at least five weeks after Step 2:

  • Indoor entertainment and attractions.

  • 30 person limit outdoors. Rule of 6 or two households (subject to review).

  • Domestic overnight stays.

  • Organised indoor adult sport.

  • Most significant life events (30).

  • Remaining outdoor entertainment (including performances).

  • Remaining accommodation.

  • Some large events (expect for pilots) - capacity limits apply.

  • Indoor events: 1,000 or 50%.

  • Outdoor other events: 4,000 or 50%.

  • Outdoor seated events: 10,000 or 25%.

  • International travel - subject to review.

Step 4:

No earlier than 21 June - at least five weeks after Step 3:

By Step 4, the Government hopes to be able to introduce the following (subject to review):

  • No legal limits on social contact

  • Nightclubs

  • Larger events

  • No legal limit on life events.

The University is closely following this current UK Government / public health advice on Coronavirus to ensure that we are following the most appropriate approach in the circumstances on an ongoing basis.

What this means for our staff

UK Government announcement and implications for our teaching and research

As you will have heard from the Prime Minister, we will be able to invite additional cohorts of students back to Bath to resume practical and practice-based learning for some courses and year groups.

Following significant work by those at departmental and Faculty/School level for working with the Resilient Curriculum Project Team to plan our response to the latest guidance, we have now published information about which courses and year groups can return to Bath and resume laboratory and practice-based work from 8 March onwards.

In terms of research, our laboratories can remain open and researchers and doctoral students who need access to labs and specialist equipment should continue to do this.

Further information about research is available on our Q&A pages .

Working arrangements

The Roadmap out of Lockdown clearly has implications for those teaching staff who will need to facilitate practical and practice-based learning from the week commencing 8 March. Many operational and student-facing staff will continue to work on campus and in University buildings as they have been doing already, where their role requires it.

However, for other colleagues not required to work on campus, Government advice remains to work from home if you are able to do so.

We are very grateful to all those colleagues who continue to facilitate essential services and facilities for staff and for students. In our online Q&A we set out our current arrangements and future plans for student-facing services including the Library and study spaces, extra-curricular activities including sports, and shops and catering on campus.

Although these medium-term plans are tentative and subject to review, the trajectory over the coming months currently looks positive and we will seek to provide more opportunities for both staff and students to safely reengage with campus over the spring and summer.

Important updates:

Please note the updated guidance under section 5 below on staff with caring responsibilities, section 6 below, for staff who are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and the updated Covid guidelines for pregnant employees.

Reviewing Risk Assessments:

We are very grateful for the work of Heads of Department, departmental colleagues and the health and safety team in reviewing risk assessments for activity restarting on campus. It is important that you review, and where appropriate revise, the risk assessments for your team or department. All activity on campus and in University buildings must be carried out in line with up-to-date risk assessments and within the stringent Covid-secure measures we have in place.

Please ensure you have read the latest information about social distancing and spacing for teaching and study spaces, as well as the requirements on:

Covid cases and testing

Covid cases on campus remain extremely low and it is important that we all engage with the testing available to help them to stay low. This is important for staff who are working in University buildings or on campus. Please direct your staff to our webpages for further details on booking a lateral flow test.

Furlough

We will continue to use furlough - including flexible furlough - arrangements to support staff where some or all of their work cannot continue due to increased restrictions. Your HR Business Partner and / or Advisor are available to advise and support with furloughing staff.

Wellbeing support for staff

In these challenging times in particular, please do make your staff aware of and make use of the online wellbeing resources as well as our Employee Assistance Programme and the 24/7 Education Support Partnership for anyone feeling as if they need additional support at this time.

Our roles as leaders and managers

We are very aware that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its implications will feel worrying and challenging for many of our staff, students, other users of the University and their families. Our role as leaders and managers is to support and protect our staff and students while ensuring that we provide the best services possible throughout this pandemic both during lockdown and as it has eased and then been strengthened again.

Our aim is to enable our staff to:

  • work safely from home wherever they can do so effectively and / or

  • work safely on campus in a COVID-secure environment where their role (or parts of it) requires this.

Managers and staff have been, and continue to be, expected to reconfigure and re-prioritise work to fit around current circumstances so that the University can continue to function. Following the easing of the first lockdown we restarted services on site where these were needed and did so within a COVID-secure environment while continuing to use online resources and other adjustments wherever needed, to protect our staff, students, visitors and the wider community.

As leaders and managers, we all have a key role in supporting our staff to take this approach with advice and support from your HR and Safety, Health and Employee Wellbeing (SHEW) teams.

If you log-on to TOPdesk you and your teams will find guidance within both the COVID-19 tile and under Working from Home, tile including on all for remote-working arrangements that could be used in this situation and access to key University systems and folders.

Given the great variety of the roles that staff undertake and individual circumstances they may have, we will need to apply this guidance with appropriate flexibility as we work through the very different scenarios that may occur, depending on how the pandemic and the virus develops.

3. If your staff have symptoms or a diagnosis of Coronavirus and / or are required to self-isolate

The University is strictly following the guidance from the UK Government and the NHS in order to protect our staff, students, visitors and the wider community. For this to be effective we need all our staff (and students and visitors) to follow the University's guidance as set out below at all times.

As the line manager we need you to proactively manage any COVID-related absence from your staff and immediately report it using iTrent. Please follow our guidance for line managers on what to do if my staff report COVID symptoms or are-required to-isolate.

4. Arrangements for staff needing to quarantine / self-isolate on entry / return to the UK

If a member of your staff is planning to take leave or has already booked to take leave outside of the UK then it is important that they contact you as their line manager prior to leaving for their holiday.

They should contact you straight away if the situation for the country they are going to, or are already in, changes - as has recently occurred for France, the Netherlands and other countries. This is to agree arrangements for what will happen when they return and to ensure that they are following the UK Government’s current requirements to quarantine / self-isolate on your return to the UK.

Check the Government guidance: The government advice on individual countries and the requirement to quarantine is likely to be subject to change on an ongoing basis, particularly in relation to which countries are exempt from self-isolation. Your staff are required to act at all times in accordance with the latest government guidance on re-entering the country and should check the UK Government / Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel guidance and the Department of Health & Social Care guidance on returning to the UK and self-isolation

If they are returning from a country which requires them to quarantine / self-isolate they must do the following:

Follow the current Government / FCO guidance on how to self-isolate

Working from Home: If it is possible for them to work efficiently from home on their return, then you as their line manager can agree for them to work in this way while self-isolating and to continue to be paid their normal pay.

Not Working from Home: If it is not possible for your staff member to work efficiently from home (e.g. your work can only be carried out on campus) they must self-isolate for 10 calendar days and not work during this period. Unless they have symptoms and / or have tested positive for COVID-19 this absence cannot be classed as sickness absence (where sick pay would be paid) so the pay arrangements below would have to be applied.

Pay arrangements for not working during 10-day self-isolation period: As you will not be working or absent through sickness during this period you will need to agree with your staff member how these days will be covered. The options available are as follows:

i. If your staff member has sufficient annual leave, they can take additional annual leave to cover both their trip and the required period of self-isolation on their return (exceptionally you could agree for them to bring forward some of their 2020/21 leave allowance to cover this period);

ii. If they do not have sufficient annual leave, they can request for annual leave for your trip and additionally for a period of unpaid leave to cover the all or the remainder of the days of their required period of self-isolation on their return;

iii. If there are particular and extenuating circumstances and your staff member has taken the first full week (7-days) of their required period of self-isolation on their return through annual and / or unpaid leave (i or ii above) then you may agree to give them exceptional paid leave for the remaining period up to a maximum of 5 working days (pro-rata for part-time staff).

Should your member of staff develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point, they must follow the relevant government guidance with regards to getting tested and report this to you as their line manager without delay. From this period sick pay would be paid.

Government guidance in this area continues to evolve and may change at any time. The University will continue to review this guidance in line with it.

5. Staff with care issues caused by their child or other dependent having to self-isolate or the closure of a school / nursery / crèche / care home due to COVID or COVID restrictions

For your staff who were unable to secure a critical worker place for their child during Lockdown 3, we hope the reopening of primary and secondary schools from 8 March onwards will be welcome news and enable them to return to their substantive working arrangements in the University following Covid-Secure arrangements.

If however you have staff who are still affected by the confirmed closure of a school, nursery, care home etc. due to the COVID-19 outbreak and are unable to arrange alternative care arrangements, they are asked to contact you (or their Head of Department) to discuss their situation and how this is impacting on them and undertaking their role. You should talk through this with them and work through the three options below, hopefully being able to agree one of these.

a. Working from home – As their Head of Department / line manager you can agree for your staff to work from home in this situation. We want as many staff as possible in this situation to work from home, while this will depend on them having sufficient time to do so and on their role and IT arrangements enabling them to work effectively remotely. To enable this to work, it may be necessary to allow staff to work during different hours wherever these can be accommodated to allow the employee to fit this around their caring responsibilities; we would strongly encourage flexibility in this area. They should follow the University’s guidance on working from home.

b. Not able to work from home - in these situations the University may consider if furlough would be appropriate under Government guidance. If this is not possible then the staff member will need to request annual leave, TOIL-taken and / or carer's leave (which is unpaid) to cover the period of absence.

Please note - if the staff member's child or dependent lives with them and has COVID symptoms or a positive test then the staff member will need to self-isolate (see section 3 above).

6. Staff confirmed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable or Clinically Vulnerable (or who live with someone confirmed as such)

These situations are likely to be sensitive to deal with, as those with an underlying health condition in these categories may be very concerned about the impact of Coronavirus on their health. Please do contact [your HR Advisor or Business Partner](https://www.bath.ac.uk/hr/calculators/hr-department-names/Index.htm] for advice and support.

The UK Government has changed its advice in this area from 16 February, expanding the definition of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable ("CEV"), which increases the numbers in this group by around 1.7 million (in the UK).

The revised definition is found in the revised PHE and DHSC guidance on shielding and protecting those in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable category.

This adds the following to the CEV definition:

  • Your staff member's clinician or GP has added them to the Shielded Patient List because, based on their clinical judgement, they deem them to be at high risk of serious illness if they catch the virus.

  • Your staff member has been identified through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment, which uses a revised algorithm (now being referred to as Q-COVID), as potentially being at high risk of serious illness if they catch the virus.

Staff who fall under this extended definition will receive a confirmation letter from the NHS or from their GP. They should provide this to you as their line manager as soon as possible. The advice is that these CEV staff should not work on campus / site and should continue to shield in line with the guidance in the PHE and DHSC guidance on shielding and protecting those in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable category.

Individuals with other underlying health conditions that are clinically vulnerable but do not come under an extremely vulnerable definition should follow the UK Government’s / PHE advice on social distancing.

7. Adaptation Guides: Adapting how you manage staff under key HR policies to take account of the impacts of COVID-19

We have developed separate guides for line managers on how to adapt your practical application of our existing HR Policies and Procedures that are affected where staff are working from home / remotely or flexibly and by specific arrangements for COVID-19 that are in place on campus.

Please click on the link to access these Adaptation Guides to find the guide and advice that you need.

If you have questions please contact your HR Advisor or Business Partner.