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Coronavirus: Return to campus information for staff

On 19 July 2021 the UK Government guidance is no longer to ‘work from home if you can’. In response to this, our universities are implementing a phased return to campus which will see them welcome more staff back to campus over the summer period as they work towards a vibrant campus from September. They are also looking to develop workplaces which reflect how we want to work in the future – reflecting innovations and ways of working during covid and the benefits they bring. While ways of working won’t change overnight, they are very much looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues over the summer.

While we are very much looking forward to welcoming Medical School colleagues back to campus in line with the roadmap’s outlined by our universities, we recognise that this will be a big step for many of us, after having worked remotely for so long. Over the summer we will be providing updates for managers and individuals as to our plans, including where you can access guidance and support to facilitate conversations and address concerns.

Our principles

We understand that colleagues may be concerned about returning to campus and have questions about how we work going forward, and we plan to take a cautious approach, with an extended transition while we trial different ways of working. The following principles will guide our approach.

  • We will prioritise the safety of staff, students, and visitors.
  • We will work in line with our values, with a focus on ‘everyone counts’, to ensure colleagues feel safe and supported.
  • We will continue to follow Government and University guidance in relation to Covid-19 testing and isolation requirements to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and keep our community safe.
  • We will encourage our staff to continue to adhere to covid secure measures on campus including the wearing of face coverings in indoor spaces, 1m+ social distancing, and hand hygiene.
  • We will be sensitive to colleagues' individual needs which may be different to their own, for example those taking increased caution, those unable to wear masks or those who may rely on lip reading.
  • We will provide all staff with guidance and support, recognising and responding to any concerns they may have about returning to campus.
  • We will take a careful, considered and flexible approach to working and will continue to review our approach in response to operational needs and staff feedback.

Timeline

We are planning a phased approach to campus turn, with three phases.

Phase 1: Planning
Date: 19 July to 16 August 2021

During this phase we will be making preparations – reviewing and putting in place all those measures we need to ensure a safe return to campus. We will also work closely with line managers and staff (individuals and teams) to confirm arrangements for Phase 2.

Phase 2: Partial Voluntary Return
Date: 16 August – 20 September 2021

During this phase we will welcome those members of staff who wish to return, back to campus for 1-2 days per week. We will also work closely with line managers and staff (individuals and teams) to review Phase 2 and make final plans and preparations for Phase 3.

Phase 3: All staff return
Date: 20 September – January 2022/ongoing

During this phase we will, welcome all staff, except those who are clinically vulnerable or cannot be fully vaccinated, back to campus. This will be done further to discussion and agreement with line managers, and staff involved in essential teaching/support activities or essential research will be prioritised for return if their roles require them to be on site.

Phase 3 working arrangements will be reviewed in January 2022.

Next steps

Over the coming weeks we will be making preparations for the phased return outlined above and will be working with staff to ensure our plans reflect individual as well as business needs, and that they feel supported. We would like to thank all of our staff for their continued dedication and support of the School.