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General Coronavirus guidance for staff

University information and guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for staff - including the daily contact-testing study (Updated 21 June)

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 continues to have 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.

However, for other colleagues not required to work on campus, Government advice remains to work from home if you are able to do so - at least until the changes from 19 July 2021 are confirmed.

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.

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 September 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 - 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

Daily contact-testing study - we would encourage staff who are offered the opportunity to participate in the new Government daily contact testing pilot study but the University has decided that staff must continue to not attend campus and should continue to self-isolate.

Test

Tell

  • contact your line manager to report your **notification from Test & Trace and 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

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

In the current situation under Step 3 of the Government Roadmap, travel outside the UK to amber and red listed countries is not recommended.

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

Those staff returning to the UK from one of the red-list of countries, you are required by law to book in advance to return to one of eligible airports and to stay for 10-days in one of the UK's approved ‘quarantine hotels’. This currently costs £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 and follow the Government guidance: The government advice on individual countries and 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 on return to the UK. The only exception to this is if you use the test to release scheme (see below) and receive a negative PCR test outcome. If you arrive in England from 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

Test to Release Scheme - Under the Test to Release scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 PCR 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 a negative result under the Test-to-Release scheme above). 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.

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 leave entitlement you must take additional annual leave to cover both your trip and the required period of self-isolation on your return;

ii. If you do not have sufficient annual leave, you will need to apply 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.

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.

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 has enabled 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 - annual leave carryover and deductions

What will happen to annual leave at the end of this annual leave period

The particular arrangements for this leave year only were agreed in recognition that some staff have found it difficult to take their full leave allowance in 2020/21 due to the impact of COVID-19.

Staff who have not been on furlough in 2020/21 will be allowed to carry over a maximum of up to 10 days / 73 hours (rather than the usual 5 days / 36.5 hours) into next year’s (2021/22) holiday entitlement, or the pro-rated amount for part time staff.

This carryover into next year's annual leave entitlement is being managed centrally so there is no need to request this, yourself or do anything on iTrent. The automated carry-over process will take place between 6 and 7 September, after the 2020/21 leave year has ended.

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.

Enquiries

If you have any questions, please contact us.