Covid-19 Update: Changes from next week

From Martin Atkinson, Director of HR & Organisational Development 

Following the Government announcements on changes to Covid-19 restrictions earlier this week, there are a number of things for us to consider at Kent. While the national guidance has changed, our focus throughout the pandemic has been on keeping our entire community safe and, at this stage, that means making gradual changes so that we continue to limit the risk of infection while we return to our usual working practices.  

With that in mind, our intention is that we all treat February as a transition month where we can start to relax some of our existing measures at a pace that suits individuals in different areas while continuing to keep an eye on the situation locally.  

Returning to campus  

Any staff currently based at home are welcome to start coming back to work on campus from next week, with hybrid working arrangements back in place where relevant. Do discuss this with your line manager ahead of your return, and bear in mind when you do come back that we’ll need to keep safety at the front of our minds in busy areas in particular.   In-person meetings can also be booked where it makes sense – however, do consider what the appropriate format is for these, with a continued recommendation that we think ‘virtual-first’ given people will be working in different locations.  

Face Coverings  

We’ll also all need to recognise and respect the different situations both staff and students may be in and that some, particularly those who are more vulnerable, will be concerned about the changing picture nationally. With that in mind, our expectation is that everyone should continue to wear face coverings in teaching spaces, communal areas of our buildings and other areas where there are lots of people around. As before, in most cases those teaching classes won’t need to wear a face covering as they will have sufficient space at the front of the class.  

Face coverings can make a real difference to infection rates, along with reassuring those who are most at risk – we are also writing to students today to confirm that our current approach remains in place.  

Testing  

Everyone coming onto campus should also continue to test twice a week and register their results with the NHS – free lateral flow test kits are available on the Canterbury campus from College receptions, Campus Security, the Registry, Estates and the Templeman Library, plus at the Old Sports Hall at Medway.  

There is a lot to take in with a number of national changes happening in a short period of time – do talk this through with a manager if you have any concerns or via our Employee Assistance Scheme if you want to do this anonymously. Thank you also to all of you for your continued support with keeping each other safe throughout this period.  

Martin  

Martin Atkinson | Director of HR & Organisational Development

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