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University of Bath

General Coronavirus guidance for staff

University information and guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for staff - including the Roadmap out of Lockdown (Updated 24 Feb)

1. Introduction

This page contains general University information and guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for staff. For more staff advice, as well as advice for students, visitors and our local community, please visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage.

We continue to work closely with the campus Trades Unions in developing this guidance for how we support our staff to carry out their roles in these challenging times.

2. University campus and services during COVID-19

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 4 below on staff with caring responsibilities, section 5 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 and the health and safety team in reviewing risk assessments for activity restarting on campus. 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 wearing face coverings, for hand hygiene and ventilation.

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 look at our webpages for further details on booking a lateral flow test.

Furlough

Where staff are unable to carry out their duties as a result of COVID-19, the University has utilised the UK Government's 'furlough' or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS") by placing staff on 'furlough' (on both a full-time and flexible basis) where they and their role meet the requirements of the CJRS, which has recently been extended to 30 April 2021. More information on furloughing can be found in the Guidance for Staff on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

3. Experiencing COVID symptoms or contacted by NHS Test & Trace?

The University is following the guidance from the UK Government and the NHS in order to protect our staff, students 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.

What to do if you think you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19

In this situation it is critically important that you:

Isolate

Test

Tell

  • contact your line manager to report your sickness without delay - you need to confirm how you are, when you will be having a test (or what was the test outcome if you have already received it) and discuss what you will do while self-isolating in line with option (i) and (ii) below. You will need to keep in ongoing contact by phone with your line manager.
  • certificate your absence: - if you are unable to work during self-isolation (option (ii) below) then you need to obtain an isolation note through the Online isolation note service on the 8th day of absence and email this to your line manager or Head of Department on the same day.

Options if you are self-isolating:

(i) If you are fit to work and your role can be undertaken from home then you can continue to work while you are self-isolating.

(ii) If however you are not fit to work or your role cannot be undertaken from home then you will be placed on sick leave for the whole 10 calendar day period.

What to do if you have been contacted by NHS Test & Trace and told to self-isolate

Isolate

If you're told you've been in contact with a person who has coronavirus you need to do the following: - stay at home (self-isolate) for 10 calendar days from the day you were last in contact with the person – it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear - do not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order it online or by phone, or ask friends and family to drop it off at your home - do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for essential care - try to avoid contact with anyone you live with as much as possible

Test

Tell

  • contact your line manager to report your requirement to self-isolate without delay - you need to confirm the advice you have received from NHS Test & Trace and how you are feeling and discuss what you will do while self-isolating in line with option (i) and (ii) in section 1 above. You will need to keep in ongoing contact by phone with your line manager.
  • certificate your absence: - if you are unable to work during self-isolation (option (ii) below) then you need to obtain an isolation note through the Online isolation note service on the 8th day of absence and email this to your line manager or Head of Department on the same day.

Please note - The people you live with or in your support bubble do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms. - If you are unable to work while on self-isolation (option (ii) above) you will receive sick pay. - Following all the steps in points above in this section is a vital responsibility for all members of staff to protect their colleagues, our students & visitors and the wider community.

4. Travel & visas and 'quarantine' arrangements on return

We have suspended all travel on University business, other than commuting to campus and University buildings where staff are unable to work from home.

You should read the GOV.UK guidance to find out if your visa will be automatically extended or whether you need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Helpline (0800 678 1767, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, calls are free of charge) or CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.

Arrangements for staff needing to quarantine / self-isolate on entry into the UK

If you are planning to take leave or have already booked to take leave outside of the UK then it is important that you contact your line manager prior to leaving for your holiday. With the current third lockdown arrangements, travel outside the UK is not recommended.

Arrangements for those staff returning to the UK from 'red-list' countries

If you would be returning to the UK from one of the so-called red-list of countries, you are required by law to book in advance to return to one of 5 eligible airports and to stay for 10-days in one of the UK's 15 approved ‘quarantine hotels’. This will currently cost £1,750 per person, including the tests that you will be required to take while there. You will be directly transported from the airport to the quarantine hotel. More details on these arrangements can be found here on the gov.uk pages.

Arrangements for those staff returning to the UK from non-'red-list' countries

Check the Government guidance: The government advice on individual countries and the requirement to quarantine is likely to continue be subject to change on an ongoing basis, particularly in relation to which countries are exempt from self-isolation. You 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.

You must self-isolate for a minimum of 10-days. The only exception to this is if you follow the test to release scheme (see below) as specified and receive a negative PCR test outcome.

If you arrive in England from somewhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man you must:

  • have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken in the 3 days before departing for England
  • complete a passenger locator form
  • self-isolate for 10 days

Test to Release Scheme - Under the Test to Release scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test after you have been in England for a full 5 days. If the result of this test is negative, you can stop self-isolating.

If you do not want to opt into the Test to Release scheme, you will need to **self-isolate for 10 days.

Please note that you cannot take a test until you have been in England for 5 full days.

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

  • Follow the current Government / FCO guidance on return to the UK including their guidance on self-isolating

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

  • Not Working from Home: If it is not possible for you to work efficiently from home (e.g. your work can only be carried out on campus) you must self-isolate for 10 calendar days and not work during this period. Unless you 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.

  • Test to Release Scheme As confirmed above, you may be able to end self-isolation early if you pay for a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test through the ‘Test to Release’ scheme.

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 manager how these days will be covered. The options available to you are as follows:

i. If you have sufficient annual leave, you can take additional annual leave to cover both your trip and the required period of self-isolation on your return (exceptionally you may be able to agree with your line manager to bring forward some of your 2020/21 leave allowance to cover this period);

ii. If you do not have sufficient annual leave, you may apply 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 your required period of self-isolation on your return;

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

Should you develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point, you must follow the relevant government guidance with regards to getting tested and report this to your 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 caring responsibilities

For 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 will be welcome news and enable you to return to your substantive working arrangements in the University following Covid-Secure arrangements.

If however you are 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, you should contact your Head of Department or line manager to discuss the situation and how this is impacting on you and undertaking your role. From this you may be able to agree one of the three options below.

a. Working from home - If your role, time and IT arrangements enable you to work effectively from home, your HoD / line manager can agree for you to do so. To enable this to work, it may be necessary to consider if you can work during different hours if these can be accommodated to allow you to fit your work around your caring responsibilities. If home working is agreed, you will receive normal pay and should follow the University’s guidance on working from home.

b. Furlough - If you are unable to carry out your role remotely / from home then you may be considered for being placed on furlough in line with the UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) provided that your post is not public-funded.

c. Taking Leave - If you are unable to carry out your role from home and cannot be placed on furlough then you would need to agree a period of leave - using annual leave, TOIL and unpaid leave to cover the days when you are unable to attend for work. Your manager will also work with you to be as flexible as possible in your working arrangements to maximise the opportunities for you to work.

6. Staff who are or who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) changed their guidance oo protecting and shielding the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable from Covid-19 on 16 February, expanding the definition of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable ("CEV"), which is estimated to increase the numbers in this group by around 1.7 million (in the UK).

If you have recently been confirmed as CEV you should receive a confirmatory email from your specialist, your GP or the NHS more generally. Please could you inform your line manager and / or your Head of Department about this as soon as possible and forward them, confidentially, a copy of the email that you have received.

The advice from DHSC and PHE is that staff who fall under this definition of CEV staff should not work on campus / site at all and should continue to shield in line with the DHSC & PHE guidance on protecting and shielding the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable from Covid-19.

We appreciate that these situations are likely to be sensitive to deal with. Your manager will discuss this situation with you confidentially with advice and support from HR. Where you are able to work from home you would continue on your normal pay, as those with an underlying . If you are not able to do so then you would move onto sick pay.

7. Other related questions - working from home and deductions

Will the University pay my additional costs for working from home?

We recognise that working from home requires a number of adjustments, both physical and mental. While the current public health advice doesn’t have any fixed timeframes, it is possible that we may need to work differently for several months, so getting these adjustments right is important.

It is possible that you may occur some additional costs when working from home such as phone and utilities. Of course, you may also be making a saving by not travelling into work and having access to your own catering facilities. Also, it has been decided to withhold car-parking charges since the beginning of lockdown (and this continues to be reviewed on a month-by-month basis). As a principle, the University is not intending to make additional payments for homeworking, however if there is a demonstrable case of hardship, you can make a case through your line manager to the Director of Human Resources.

Are there changes to payroll deadlines?

Payroll has made some changes to its operations, including deadlines for submitting payroll claims, please see the Payroll: FAQs for staff.

8. Further questions, advice and support

f you have any other concerns or questions that about Coronavirus that are not covered here or on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage, please contact your HoD or your line manager, email the Coronavirus enquiries email email address. This will pass your question to the most relevant individual to answer it.

If you are seeking emotional support and counselling at this time please contact our staff counselling services; EAP and the Education Support Partnership. Both of these services are free, confidential and providing their services remotely.