Staff Return to Campus
A huge thank you to all of you for your efforts, both on- and off- campus, during the last stages of lockdown and our recent transition back to on-campus working.
All staff should now be largely campus-based again, supported by our Hybrid Working Scheme which allows many staff to work from home for up to two days a week.
Following such a long break from campus-based activities, we recognise many of you may have some concerns about returning to campus, face-to-face teaching and the delivery of other key services.
Please raise any concerns with your line manager so that they are aware and can either deal with the issues or direct you to the many sources of support available.
We are committed to ensuring all our staff can work safely and effectively regardless of location . We also all need to be respectful of each others’ concerns and make sure we all do all we can to help each other feel safe.
Staying safe on campus
In response to the latest Government guidance, and in consultation with our trade union and staff representative, a full Health and Safety Risk Assessment has been carried out to ensure our spaces are as safe as possible as we return.
A summary of the key actions and recommendations is below - we will continue to consult with our trade union and staff representatives on this as we all get used to working on site again.
Vaccination is the main strand of the Government’s response to Covid-19 and there are very high numbers of both staff and students who have already been double-vaccinated. We strongly encourage all those that can to do this as early as possible.
Grab-a-Jab vaccination buses will be on both the Canterbury and Medway campuses during the week beginning 27 September 2021 offering walk-in vaccinations for both students and staff.
Regular testing is key to getting things back to normal. Everyone, staff and students, should take a Covid test twice a week - you can either do this in person at our asymptomatic Covid-19 testing centre, or collect free take-home testing kits. Pick up a kit and do your bit!
We are strongly encouraging and recommending that students and staff wear face coverings in crowded indoor spaces and when mixing with people they don’t often meet. Examples include teaching and study spaces, while circulating in corridors and while standing in queues. This is no longer a legal requirement and we recognise that not everyone can wear one – however, wearing a face covering can help keep each other safe. Face coverings will be available free of charge at all student receptions.
Ventilation and outdoor spaces
Being outdoors or in well ventilated indoor spaces helps reduce transmission. All our teaching, study and shared recreational spaces have been assessed and, where necessary, adapted to meet Government ventilation requirements. Our blended learning mix for the Autumn Term allows larger teaching spaces to be used for smaller face-to-face teaching groups keeping occupancy levels as low as possible and allowing for safer social distancing.
In addition, we have a 'virtual first' approach to all staff meetings and outdoor meetings are encouraged if all participants are on campus.
Symptomatic testing, isolation and reporting
If you display any symptoms that could indicate Covid-19 or test positive, self-isolate immediately, get PCR tested, and let the right people know. For details of what to do plus an explanation of the recent changes to the self-isolation requirements, please read our ‘Self-isolate, Test, Inform’ procedure for staff.
Contingency and outbreak management
In conjunction with the Directors of Public Health for Kent and Medway and local Health Protection Teams, we have developed and had approved an Outbreak Management Plan should case numbers increase and we will continue to work closely with local public health partners.
Working from home
As we all come back onto campus, we can expect to see a mix of office and home working with many staff taking advantage of our new Hybrid Working Scheme. Our Future of Work Resource Pack has been put together to help us all get used to new ways of working, building on our COPE Framework which includes tips on identifying ways of working remotely that best suit you. We also have guidance on how to set up a work station, help using Kent IT services remotely and support with mental health.
Wherever you are based, the University has committed that no member of staff is subjected to detrimental treatment in relation to their employment as a result of the impact of Covid-19. There is more information on this in our Covid policy statement for staff.
Health and wellbeing
Ensuring the health and welfare of all our staff, wherever they are working, is our absolute priority. Support available includes our:
- Future of Work Resource Pack to help us all adapt to our new ways of working
- COPE Framework to help you work effectively, wherever you're based
- Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) giving you easy access to expert help and free, confidential advice with both personal and work-related issues
- Occupational Health team who are on hand to help with any physical and/or mental health concerns.
If you have Covid-19 symptoms, you need to isolate immediately, book a symptomatic test and let us know. Find out more on our Coronavirus reporting procedure.