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Coronavirus information and actions for line managers

Guidance for Heads of Department & Line Managers on Managing Staff through the new Roadmap out of Lockdown (Updated 12 Aug - dual-vaccinated announcement)

  1. Purpose

These pages set out the University's response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and the Roadmap out of Lockdown 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 or see Who is my HR support.

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 Roadmap out of Lockdown - now in Step 4

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

On 12 July 2021, the Prime Minister addressed the nation and confirmed that from 19 July 2021 England will move to Step 4 of the Roadmap out of Lockdown.

please see the updated UK Government guidance on what you can and cannot do in Step 4

While removing the legal requirements for social distancing and mask-wearing the Prime Minister and the UK Government have emphasised the importance of individuals and employers exercising caution and continuing to take steps to reduce the transmission of the virus.

What this means for our staff

UK Government announcement and implications for our teaching and research

There has been a huge amount of work undertaken by staff at departmental and Faculty/School level to plan our response to the latest guidance and for the next academic year in line with Step 4. Our approach to the next academic year 2021/22 is set out here.

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.

Changes to self-isolation for double-jabbed staff from Monday 16 August

As announced by the UK Government on 6 July, from 16 August, dual-vaccinated or "double-jabbed" individuals and under 18s will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 by NHS Test & Trace.

We are expecting more guidance on this, but from 16 August onwards, if your staff report that they have been a contact of someone with a positive test for COVID-19, then you should first ask them if they have received both COVID-19 vaccinations. This can be confirmed via a scanned copy of their vaccination card and / or from their NHS-App. If the staff member is unable to provide confirmation of their dual-vaccination status please contact your HR Advisor or Business Partner.

Please note that if someone gets their second dose just before, or after, the 16th of August, they will need to wait until two weeks after they have had their second jab to benefit from these new freedoms so the vaccine has time to build the maximum possible protection.

For staff confirmed as "dual-jabbed" who have had a contact will be required to:

  • to take a PCR test, to detect the virus and variants of concern;

  • if they test positive from the PCR test they will be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status;

  • if they test negative from the PCR they will be allowed to continue working. They should continue to take regular LFD tests - see details for how they can pick up their free LDF COVID tests.

Working arrangements

The Roadmap out of Lockdown clearly has implications for those teaching staff who will need to facilitate practical and practice-based learning. 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.

From 19 July 2021, the Government has removed the requirement for staff to work from home if they are able to do so effectively. However, the University expects staff to work from home during July and August where they are able to do so effectively and have doing, so unless their department is an early adopter for the Future Ways of Working arrangements.

Social distancing and hygiene arrangements

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 / Furlough

Covid cases on campus remain 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.


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. With the move to Step 4 of the Govt Roadmap the number of staff on furlough has reduced very significantly, although the CJRS scheme runs until September 2021. 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.

Staff with symptoms or required to self-isolate

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.

Arrangements for staff returning to the UK from overseas

4. Arrangements for staff needing to quarantine / self-isolate on 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. The University is strongly recommending that staff do not travel to amber or red list countries.

If staff have travelled to an amber or red list country they must follow all of the requirements for quarantining on their return to the UK and will need to take annual leave or unpaid leave to cover all of the required days of quarantine.

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 classified as amber or red list. 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) red list travel guidance.

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 red and amber list countries and self-isolation

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.

Caring issues

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).

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable or Clinically Vulnerable Staff

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](] 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.

Adaptation Guides

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.

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