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(updated 19/10) Being Covid-Safe: Staff FAQs

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We are regularly updating this page so please check back regularly.

Our Covid-Safe Charter sets out how we expect students and staff to behave during the pandemic and what you can expect from the University and GSU.

You can find further information for staff on our Our Blended Learning page on the portal. We will continue to keep our guidance under review and reflect any changes in government guidance. We are continuing to work closely with our local councils to provide test facilities on or near our campuses.

Students can find information on our Be Covid-Safe page, and there is also a set of FAQs Being Covid-Safe: Student FAQs.  All of these pages are linked prominently on the student portal, so if your students have questions please direct them there.

If you have any questions which aren't covered here please send them to Internal Communications.

How can I get a home Covid test kit?

Home test kits are available for students and staff to collect at test sites on campus, they can also be ordered online - for details please see our Covid testing arrangements page and/or How to collect/order a Covid Home Test Kit.

I’ve been vaccinated do I still need to get regular Covid-tests?

No vaccine is 100% effective and therefore, even if you have had both doses, there is still no absolute guarantee that you will not become ill from Covid-19. Therefore, you should continue to have regular Covid-tests and follow the university and government guidance, to help protect yourself and others.

Where can students find information about booking their Covid vaccination?

Students and staff are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated; further information about how to do so is available on the NHS website. We are planning to run vaccination clinics on our campuses in September in conjunction with the NHS and our local councils.

Also see the section on the portal: Covid-19 Vaccination: What are the facts and why it is important.

I've had both of my jabs, when can I get my booster? (added 19 October)

The current NHS booster programme is being offered on phased basis, similar to when the first vaccines were given. I.e. those who are older, have underlying health conditions or are frontline healthcare workers are being offered the booster first.  However, you cannot have a booster dose until at least 6 months after you had your 2nd dose.

We strongly encourage you to register with a local GP so that you are invited to attend a local clinic at the appropriate time.

Are transparent face coverings recommended/available?

Staff in areas of the university have trialled two types of transparent face coverings.  Positive feedback has been received for the MK60-R cloth face covering with a transparent section, from MMUK T/A Alexandra/Boyd Cooper, which is now available via Procurement's list on Parabilis.

When and how often do I need to get a Covid-test if I am coming to campus?

The government is clear that regular testing is a key part of keeping everyone safe.

Staff and students who are on campus should get a Covid-19 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test twice a week with 3-4 days between tests. Where possible, you should test yourself using a home test kit before coming to campus.  You can see details of the Covid-testing arrangements on our campuses on the portal.

How should I notify the university if  I need to self isolate?

If you test positive, experience the symptoms of Covid-19 or need to self-isolate for any reason, you must let the university know as soon as possible. This will allow us to take swift action to minimise the risk to others and follow the strict procedures in place.

You can do this using the online form on the Covid-Safe Arrangements page.

What is the university doing to help ensure campuses & classrooms are Covid-Safe?

We have updated our university guidance and Covid-Safe Arrangements following the lifting of restrictions and changes in government guidance on 19 July. The government advise we should all stay cautious to protect ourselves and others.

In line with the government guidance and the removal of social distancing guidelines, the university intends to move to normal classroom set-up in September 2021 which will be supported by other risk mitigations.  These include the expected wearing of face coverings, enhanced ventilation and cleaning, and for lecturing staff to continue to stand 2m back from the class.

Reflecting the change in the government's position, staff are no longer expected to enforce the wearing of face coverings.  However we do ask staff to encourage people to follow our university guidelines.

Can I get tax relief if I am working from home?

You may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs if you are working from home because of Covid, the full details and how to apply are on the government website.

What support is available to students?

Our focus must continue to be on supporting our students both with their studies and their wellbeing, this Student News article covers the information provided by email to students.

What wellbeing services are available to me?

It is important that we all look after ourselves. There is a wealth of information available on the portal, including:

If you need support in any way please speak to your manager, connect with your colleagues and look out for the activities your local Mental Health and Wellbeing Champions arranges or signposts, use the Employee Assistance Programme and/or try out some of the ‘hints and tips’ available to find out what works for you.

Is the university bus service still available and can I park on campus?

You can find out more on our Travel and transport arrangements pages.

How will the university let me know if I needed to self-isolate if someone I have been studying/working or living in halls with tests positive?

The university has strict procedures in place to follow when we are notified of confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 by students, staff or other visitors to campus, so that we can take swift action where appropriate to minimise the risk to others and enable us to liaise with external bodies such as Public Health England and local authorities to ensure that actions are effective and proportionate.

The Safety Unit will coordinate the university's response and will advise line managers, or a relevant member of staff to contact the team/cohort who have been in close contact with the individual and informing them of what actions they need to take, and remind them of the support available to them.

In line with our Covid-Safe Charter, to protect the individual as much as possible when informing teams/cohorts we will not disclose the name of the student/colleague. You can see our protocols on our Covid-Safe Arrangements page.

I'm exempt from wearing a face covering, what should I do?

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, please wear an exemption badge or lanyard.

Badges are available to download online and can also be collected from Student Centres. Badges can either be those provided by the government or the Hidden Disabilities sunflower badges.

For more information please see our Covid-Safe pages.

If I have symptoms of Covid-19 how do I notify the university?

We have further information and online forms on our Covid-Safe pages, please refer to those pages for up-to-date information.

What can teaching staff do if students arrive without face coverings?

Reflecting the change in the government's position, staff are no longer expected to enforce the wearing of face coverings.  However we do ask staff to encourage people to follow our university guidelines.

Where can I find the tool to measure my Covid-vulnerability?

We have updated our Covid Vulnerability Questionnaire and Manager’s Guide to Assessing Vulnerability and these remain important tools in assessing risk. We encourage all colleagues to complete the updated questionnaire to assess your potential vulnerability to Covid-19 and to discuss the results with your line manager.

How will confirmed cases of Covid-19 be communicated?

There are very strict rules about this. When the Safety Unit are notified of cases they will follow the procedures and be in contact with the local council and Public Health England; they will notify people in close contact with the individual.  Where we are able to we will also alert people as appropriate.

Our Covid-Safe charter sets out what you can expect from the university, GSU and GKSU and also how we expect students and staff to behave during the pandemic.

What is in place to increase ventilation in our buildings?

You can see more details on our COVID-Safe Arrangements page, which also includes an Air Handling / Ventilation guide.  We have modified our mechanical systems so they do not recirculate air and windows will be opened where possible.  Where possible this will be done by Security and Facilities colleagues, but staff should also open windows and report any problems by Logging a Facilities Request.

How do I report if someone is showing symptoms of Covid-19?

You should notify the Safety Unit if you have symptoms, or if someone reports symptoms to you.  The Safety Unit will immediately coordinate with the individual, and will follow the strict processes in place which include arranging the necessary cleaning, contact tracing and notifying Public Health England.  They will give immediate advice on a case-by-case basis using the current information.  A fuller response/action plan led by PHE advice will follow this.