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Guidance for all staff on how to safely return to campus

This page provides guidance for all staff on how to keep safe on campus.

If you have any questions, please contact your line manager in the first instance. With the evolving nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, please see the Be Safe page for up-to-date information and consult this page for further detail.

Ideal room layout

The following examples show ideal layouts for rooms that will avoid staff having to work in close face to face contact. Where this cannot be avoided, the use of modesty screens may be an option. Alternative options may be occupying the space at a lower occupancy using a rota system. If you have any concerns about this, please raise this with your line manager.

Examples of good departmentally controlled GTA space layouts:

A GTA space layout diagram A GTA space layout diagram

Examples of good office layouts:

An office space layout diagram

Meetings and appointments

  • It is okay to hold infrequent, ad hoc or short duration scheduled meetings in offices and other workspaces. There should be no meetings in internal offices or meeting rooms where there is no fresh air supply. Meetings should be kept as short as possible. If meetings are for long periods of over an hour, then an alternative venue should be used. Even with short meetings, use larger rooms if available. Alternatively, outdoor walking meetings may be an option.
  • If a meeting is held in a meeting room, then the number of attendees should not exceed the stated room occupancy. This will be published shortly. If the meeting room is naturally ventilated, windows should be kept open during the meeting. Windows do not have to be fully open all the time; having the windows, including high-level windows open, even a little will provide fresh air.
  • If you are unable to find a meeting room big enough for all your attendees, you should consider running your meeting on Microsoft Teams or an alternative platform.
  • If a meeting is held in a meeting room, then the number of attendees should not exceed the stated room occupancy. This will be published shortly. If the meeting room is naturally ventilated, windows should be kept open during the meeting. Windows do not have to be fully open all the time; having the windows, including high-level windows open, even a little will provide fresh air.
  • When meeting in an office, the office occupant should try to open windows at least 10 minutes before scheduled short informal meetings and leave open for at least 10 minutes after the “visitor(s)” leave(s). Doors should be left open where possible – if the matter is confidential then you might want to consider if you can consider holding the meeting elsewhere
  • Wherever possible, try to maintain a distance between attendees. If you can, avoid close contact, especially if sitting or standing face to face. Alternatively, if you can sit side-by-side then you should do so.
  • Visitors to offices and meeting rooms should make use of local handwashing or hand sanitiser provision before visiting and on leaving. Sharing of materials should be discouraged, otherwise but if that can’t be avoided then local cleaning procedures should be carried out, if viable. 
  • Microsoft Teams and other platforms continue to be available and can be used to host meetings if suitable spaces are not available. 

Maximum versus normal occupancy

The number of people who routinely use a room should not exceed the stated “normal occupancy.” This figure (4.4m2 per person) has been calculated as the minimum statutory space provision for workers, assuming a ceiling height of no lower than 2.5m and includes space taken up by furniture. The maximum normal occupancy is the number of people who routinely work in a space at the same time; visitors or meeting attendees are not included in this number. However, risk assessments do need to take account of how close contact, ventilation or hygiene risks associated with having additional people in spaces will be managed.

For the purposes of health and safety legislation, Postgraduate Research Students are considered workers when carrying out their PGR studies; for this reason, normal occupancy figures include PGR write up spaces, too.

To maximise the use of space, the number of people who routinely use a space should not be significantly lower than the ideal normal occupancy. Maximum and ideal normal occupancy numbers have been provided to HoDs and Directors of professional services. Currently routine occupancy should not exceed the maximum normal occupancy, however, in the future, this will be replaced by the ideal normal occupancy. In the risk assessment app, only the maximum normal occupancy has been published.

This part of the guidance only applies to areas of permanent work, such as offices.

Managing ventilation versus comfort

Where offices rely on opening windows for ventilation, then these should be open whenever the office is occupied. In winter, it will be important to balance ventilation against other concerns, such as thermal comfort. Windows do not have to be fully open all the time; having the windows, including high-level windows open, even a little will provide fresh air.

If draughts are a concern, then desk layouts may need to be altered. Please discuss this with your line manager if you have any concerns.

Close working with others

Wherever possible, close contact face-to-face working should be avoided; side-by-side or back-to-back working should be implements. If face to face contact is unavoidable, such as at reception desks or service points, screens should be retained. In office situations, the use of modesty screens may help.

Face coverings

The University has provided full guidance about face coverings on the Be Safe webpage. Central stores have a large supply of free reusable face coverings that they will provide to departments on request on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

The University will continue to support people to wear face coverings in other situations if they choose to do so. The only exception to this is where wearing a face-covering poses a significant risk to the user or others. 

Signage

Moving forward, you can expect to see the following signage around campus:

  • Hygiene signage (i.e. wash your hands)
  • General 'Catch it, bin it, kill it' signage within toilets
  • Room occupancies for offices and meeting rooms

This means that the following signs are being removed:

  • 2m social distancing signs as social distancing is no longer required
  • Toilet occupancies
  • One-way traffic flow signage where this is no longer required

Reporting stuffiness in rooms

If you have concerns about ventilation in your workspaces, please consider opening windows and doors in the first instance to improve airflow. However, please remember that doors marked as fire doors should not be wedged open. If the issue is persistent, contact Estates via the CSR TopDesk tile for advice. Where necessary, they can arrange for reassurance monitoring to be carried out and depending on the findings they will make recommendations on how the situation may be improved.