Covid-19 update - 20 July 2021

The Gulbenkian with red flowers at the forefront of the image.

From Nikki Hyde, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

As you will be aware, Government Covid-19 guidance changed earlier this week (Monday 19 July) and most legal restrictions have now been lifted in England.

In keeping with the Government’s emphasis on a gradual return to workplaces for those who have been working from home, our roadmap for staff returning to campus remains unchanged:

  • Any staff who wish to start working back on campus are now free to do so, but they should talk to their line manager first to ensure that returns are managed and gradual.
  • From 20 September, all staff are expected to work on campus, albeit with increased flexibility offered by the new Hybrid Working Scheme where possible.

While the restrictions have ended, staff still working at home should only come back on campus as much as they are comfortable with from now until 19 September.

A range of guidance, activities and initiatives will be available soon to help support staff with a gradual return to campus from mid-August, and to support teams manage new hybrid ways of working.

The return to campus process of requesting approval from HR and the requirement for a logged Risk and Concern Conversation is no longer in place. However, the framework for holding conversations with staff and the option of logging any concerns remains in place if line managers feel this is appropriate.

Updated risk assessment

The University is currently revising its Covid-19 risk assessment following the receipt of new Working Safely guidance from the Government and has begun the process of consulting with Staff and Union reps. Once the risk assessment is finalised and published, we will update our staff FAQs and supporting guidance.

Although all social distancing requirements and therefore current building occupancy limits are being removed, the resulting changes to campus layouts and signage will take time to implement. During this period, until the risk assessment is finalised, staff should follow existing rules and signage, where still in place. In line with Government guidance, we recommend face coverings continue to be worn in crowded and enclosed spaces, and where possible natural ventilation should be increased by keeping doors and windows open.

Thank you for helping us manage the process of safely returning staff to campus. If you have any questions, please contact hrcovid19@kent.ac.uk.

Nikki

Nikki Hyde | Deputy Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

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