Our lockdown exit

For employees


Is the University open as normal now?

No – we are beginning to open some key buildings on campus in line with Government advice to allow some work that cannot be conducted at home to re-commence. Buildings will begin to open in a controlled manner, phased according to the University priorities. All return to working on campus will be subject to a risk assessment, and will be implemented in accordance with Government guidelines, also taking into account national Trade Union/UCEA agreed approaches for the sector. These principles are therefore subject to regular review and may change in accordance with national guidelines.

The University has developed over-arching principles for staff working arrangements for the rest of the calendar year. Work is well underway to make the University campus Covid-19 secure prior to staff and students returning in larger numbers.

Detailed guidelines to ensure Covid-19 safety compliance when working on the campus, and guidelines for safe home working have also been developed.

Many of the buildings will remain closed and will be closed for some time.

What are the plans to reopen the Campus?

In addition to the work that is currently ongoing, we plan to open the University in 3 phases. Phase 1 will commence sometime in June, phase 2 in July and August, and phase 3 in September. Phase 3 may continue up to and beyond the end of the year.

Phases 1 and 2 will be restricted in the main to research and science based laboratory spaces.

In addition, there will be a bookable drop in service for people wishing to collect books or other research equipment.

Details relating to Phase 3 are still being considered but will include some student facing staff on campus and science staff. In addition, Halls of residences, the Students’ Union (Percy Gee building) and the Library are likely to open.

Staff who are not returning to campus will be encouraged and supported in working from home.

I need to set up a meeting. Should I continue to do this virtually?

Yes, meetings should ideally be held virtually for the time being, even if it is with other individuals who are on campus at the same time. Please utilise the tools available through IT Services. If a face-to-face meeting is unavoidable, then ensure that you are able to maintain social distancing by remaining at least 2 metres apart.

What do I do if I think I have Coronavirus?

  1. If you develop symptoms, you are required to self-isolate and request a test.
  2. The University have developed an online form for members of staff to complete if they have symptoms or a confirmed case of coronavirus. Please note that should you require a period of sickness absence please inform your line manager and report your sickness on ‘employee self-serve’
  3. If you have been on campus, notify your line manager that you have symptoms and are awaiting a test. Let your manager know of any other staff members or people that you have been in contact with at work.
  4. If you test positive, use the NHS test and trace service. Notify your manager that you have tested positive.
  5. If you have been in contact with someone who has the virus, follow the NHS guidance.

When will I know when I should return to the campus to work?

Your manager will ask you to return when it is appropriate for you to do so. Different colleagues will return at different times, and it’s highly likely that returns to campus will be staggered over a number of months with people working both on campus and at home for periods of time. It’s also likely that there will be rota arrangements for people to work on campus. We will continue to monitor the guidance and will provide updates to all colleagues as often as appropriate.

I am due to return to campus in phase 1, should I bring a packed lunch and refreshments to work with me?

Staff members who are due to return to campus are requested to bring with them a packed lunch and snacks each day. The outlet facilities to purchase refreshments will not be open.

How do I get my post?

The post service has continued throughout the lockdown period. We have received daily deliveries and these are currently being held centrally. There are some changes to the post service as follows:

  • the post room is open daily between 7am and noon to allow both incoming and outgoing post
  • the post room will offer a pre-booked collection service for staff who want to collect their post, but are not yet returning to campus.

Health and safety

What is the University doing to make my work area safe?

The University will implement measures to ensure social distancing can be maintained in common areas, and managers will implement measures to do so in areas they control. Such measures include:

  • Establishing one way systems at entrances and exits, keeping left when walking around buildings, encouraging the use of stairs and reducing passenger lift use and capacities.
  • Installing protective shields, changing the layout and use of desks, restricting numbers of staff at work at any given time.
  • Application of floor marking and signs for direction and spacing similar to supermarkets.
  • Demarcation of reception areas.

As an employee, the expectation is that you will maintain social distancing and follow good personal hygiene routines including regular hand washing.

My Manager has asked me to return to campus, is it safe to do so?

There are a number of actions required to ensure it is safe for you to return to campus. Your manager must follow certain protocols, and you will have to complete appropriate online training. A range of health and safety measures are being put in place for staff. These include:

  • Detailed risk assessments and operating plans created for each building and the activities within each building, completed in conjunction with the Health and Safety team;
  • COVID-19 compliant signage used across all buildings and around campus, taking a consistent approach so that staff can easily spot and follow the guidance;
  • Hand sanitisers made available at the entrance of each building;
  • Plans to clearly set out social distancing requirements, revised procedures and processes for the building use (for example, the use of lifts, kitchens and bathroom facilities) and the enhanced cleaning activities in each building.
  • Along with these measures, all staff should continue to follow advice from the NHS with regards to social distancing and frequent hand washing.

We also require staff members to take a number of steps to ensure safety. You should continue to follow the existing advice from the NHS to maintain good personal hygiene:

  • Maintain social distancing
  • Frequently clean your hands, for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, throw it in the bin and then immediately wash your hands.

Staff will also be encouraged to use the Safezone app when on campus for their own safety.

What Safety precautions will be in place for laboratories and research space where social distancing might be difficult to achieve?

As part of our planning to safely reopen our campuses, the University will follow all government advice regarding protection measures and social distancing in order to protect our students, staff and visitors at the University.

A risk assessment has been conducted to consider the risks and controls in laboratories and research space. These are based around minimising the likelihood of the spread of the virus. The expectation will be that you observe the 2-metre rule, minimise the time you spend in a confined space with others and wear face coverings. If you cannot maintain social distancing, you should question if the activity is essential.

You will be expected to follow strict College and departmental specific management plans. If you have specific concerns, please speak to your line manager in the first instance.

I work in an open-plan office - how will we work safely when we return?

Staff will not be asked to return to campus and work in an open plan office environment for some time. But when the time comes, a risk assessment will be conducted to consider the risks and controls necessary. These will be based around Government guidance at the time, focused on minimising the likelihood of the spread of the virus. The expectation will be that you observe the 2 metre rule, minimise the time you spend in a confined space with others and wear face coverings where appropriate.

If you cannot maintain social distancing, you should question if the activity is essential.

I am concerned about using shared spaces like toilets and kitchen areas is there anything being done to make those areas safe?

Where necessary, in kitchens, toilets and other shared facilities we will look to implement restricted access arrangements (one in one out). Signs will be positioned indicating where this is necessary.

It is advised that everyone washes their hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, in line with Government guidance on entering kitchens or toilets. The University has put in place increased cleaning of shared spaces dependent upon use and is making hand sanitiser readily available.

Is the University going to provide face coverings and other PPE for all staff returning to Campus?

Social distancing of at least 2 metres remains the primary method of reducing the spread of the virus.

The University has ordered a supply of re-useable face coverings for distribution to staff and students. Please speak to your manager to obtain a face covering should you wish to wear one.

Do I need to continue social distancing when I return to campus?

Yes. You will need to ensure that you maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from others on campus, both within buildings and outside. You may be asked to work in a particular way to maintain social distancing, for example there may be one-way systems in place or limits to the number of people who can work in one area.

I share an office and have to sit within 2 metres of colleagues. What should I do when I return?

You should continue to work from home if you possibly can, but if you are asked to come into the office, we will look to introduce social distancing measures which will include, where necessary, reducing capacity or modifying the office layout.

Workstations may be moved, or put out of use to ensure you can work safely. Please speck to your line manager.

How will campus be cleaned?

Each building or area is cleaned to a standard specification; this specification has been adjusted to take account of COVID-19 and current Government advice. In each building, we will provide the following additional services and products:

  • we will deep clean buildings prior to them being brought back to open access
  • prior to open access we will disinfect certain building areas using a specialised fogging system
  • each building has a cleaning schedule which is adjusted appropriately to cover the latest phase of occupation and guidance
  • an enhanced hygiene schedule is in place in each building reflecting the building use.
  • hand sanitiser is available at all building entrances
  • disposable gloves and anti-bacteria wipes will be available on request from reception areas
  • there will be regular sanitation of touchpoints such as door handles in high volume areas
  • toilets and common areas will be cleaned up to three times each day, during the hours of 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday
  • cleaning products, cloths and how to guides will be available at key points for both staff and students to use in order to clean frequently touched areas
  • we will provide a personal cleaning pack to staff and students, this will be tailored to need, e.g. anyone teaching face to face may need larger supplies of anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitiser.

When I return to campus what do I need to do for health and safety?

In order to keep everyone safe and to ensure we are all able to carry out our work, there are some things we need you to do. These are as follows:

  • We need you to be mindful of our teams. We will have staff cleaning, setting up rooms, moving waste, maintaining our buildings and carrying out compliance work. We will try our best to work around you, but we would ask that you respect social distancing and other government advise so that our staff can work safely
  • We need you to use SafeZone and remain checked in when on campus. Where appropriate we would like you to use Safezone and check-in when on campus, you can either do this manually each time you are on campus or enable auto check-in. This will enable us to fulfil our requirements regarding social distancing and lone working. In the event of a first aid incident or emergency, you can use the app in order to summon a response from security. It also allows security to contact you in an emergency should we need to. We have Safezones covering all university areas as well as a number of walking routes between campuses, as long as you use the dedicated routes, we can locate you should you require assistance. You can check our Safezones through regions on the app. If you do not have a compatible device, you can log on using your PC.
  • Take responsibility. We need you to take responsibility for your work area. It is not possible for our teams to clean every kitchen area or toilet after every use. We need you to be mindful of your space and to employ good hygiene. We will provide cleaning equipment and how to guides, but we would ask you to ensure that all regular touchpoints are wiped down frequently, ideally before and after you use them.

You can find our latest information on Campus Services updates and documents MyWorkspace.

Remote working

I am a member of staff needing additional support/equipment to continue to work comfortably at home. What should I do?

You will be encouraged to follow the e-learning training material and complete the remote working questionnaire relating to your home workstation. We will then be in a position to consider how best to support your needs and prioritise equipment and furniture requirements. Where possible we will make arrangements for you to access the University to collect equipment. In addition Occupational Health are able to provide further support in regards to advice on any reasonable adjustments to support a disability.

I don’t have the necessary equipment to continue to work at home, what should I do?

If you need an external keyboard or mouse, headset, webcam or cables to work remotely these can be ordered and delivered to home addresses. All staff will have the opportunity to discuss with their manager any additional equipment requirements they may have to improve working-from-home arrangements, including reasonable adjustments. Managers will be able to apply to a University fund to provide additional equipment requirements, including the purchase of new equipment if it cannot be sourced from existing stocks. In addition members of staff have the option to pre-book a slot to collect items from their office, with the agreement of their line manager.


I am an academic member of staff, and want to come back to campus to continue with my research in a laboratory - can I do this?

You should not return to the campus unless you have been given specific authorisation to do so from your College Director of Operations. This will not be before risk assessments have been conducted and safety measures aimed at social distancing have been implemented.

Staff wellbeing

I am a staff member who is struggling to work at home due to the isolation?

It is recognised that some staff may feel isolated and it difficult to continue to work from home. If you are feeling isolated or anxious about working from home, it is important that you inform your manager and keep in regular contact with them. Your manager may discuss a referral to Occupational Health if appropriate.

I cannot conduct my work remotely, but what if I am concerned about returning to work on campus?

You should discuss your personal circumstances with your line manager. As the University will be operating a phased return, it may not be possible or safe for you to return to work at this time.

There will be a range of considerations to take into account in determining how the workspace can be made safe prior to the resumption of activity.

I am worried about contracting coronavirus and do not feel safe returning to work on campus. Can I still work from home?

The default position is that people continue to work from home if they can and only come to campus where work cannot be done at home and they have been asked to return by their manager. The University is undertaking risk assessments for ensuring the workplace safety and implementing control measures before any employees are allowed to return to the campus.

I have a formal letter informing me that I have a health condition, which makes me extremely vulnerable to coronavirus - what should I do?

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk), you should continue to stay at and work from home. If you are clinically vulnerable (moderate risk) you will not be expected to return to work on campus unless the risk of exposure can be managed. Please inform your line manager and seek further advice from Occupational Health if you have not already done so, so that the correct support can be put into place.

I have been asked to return to campus and I am feeling concerned. What should I do?

We appreciate that despite the steps we are taking to make the campus safe for your return, some staff may feel concerned for their health, safety and wellbeing, particularly in the early stages. We want you to know help is on hand should you need it. If your concern is centred around building and infrastructure adaptions, (signage, demarcation, cleaning) etc., please report these to the service desk (0116 2522319). For any other issues, please report these to your line manager in the first instance.

I am a BAME member of staff and feel anxious about returning to campus, can you provide any specific wellbeing and safety advice to me?

The University is committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to protect our whole community and we recognise our duty of care to all colleagues and students regardless of background or ethnicity. We are working on a plan to reopen our campuses safely to all, in accordance with government advice. This will include measures to help protect all staff including allowing staggered start and finish times and the implementation of social distancing measures for those at work. Current evidence for COVID-19 shows that those from a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background and males have been disproportionately impacted, with age and specific underlying conditions also associated with more severe illness. Please contact Occupational Health for a clinical assessment.

I am living with someone who is shielding, what should I do?

If you are living with someone who is shielding, the current government advice is that whilst you do not have to shield yourself, you should do everything you can to support them by following strict social distancing measures. You should remain working from home at this time and your individual situation should be discussed with your line manager. Depending on your role, if you are authorised to return to campus at any point, your line manager can ensure that where possible, potential mitigation is put in place to limit your chance of any exposure. This will include staggering your work start and finish times and social distancing measures. More information and advice is available from Public Health England.

I have an underlying medical condition that I feel makes me vulnerable to coronavirus, but have not received a formal letter advising me to shield, what should I do?

If you feel you need to undertake shielding in order to protect yourself but have not received a letter from the NHS advising you to shield, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician. Alternatively, contact Occupational Health for further advice. Information and guidance on who is clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk) and who is clinically vulnerable (moderate risk) can also be found on the NHS website. If you are advised to shield, or you fall into either of these vulnerable categories, you will not be expected to return to work on campus unless all risk can be removed, in line with the relevant government advice. Please inform your line manager if you have not already done so, so that the correct support can be put into place.

If a colleague I work with has tested positive for coronavirus, what does this mean?

If someone on campus is confirmed to have contracted coronavirus, we will work with local health services and PHE to ensure that the individual receives the best care. We will inform our community, and ensure that anyone in contact with the infected individual is identified and receives medical attention and that the welfare of the wider University is considered.

We will continue to provide information and guidance to our students and staff via our web pages, and via email updates from the Vice-Chancellor and the Chief Operating Officer’s communications.

I do not fall into the vulnerable category group but I have close relatives that do. What are my options?

We appreciate that staff may have such concerns, and that these are concerns that are shared. Staff and student health and welfare is our priority and balancing this with maintaining essential University functionality has to be our main focus. Staff are asked to raise their concerns with their line manager. Please do continue to work at home for the time being.


I need to use public transport to commute to campus - what can the University do to minimise the impact?

Assuming you have been authorised to return to campus, the current advice is that you should avoid using public transport unless absolutely necessary. You are encouraged to walk or bike. If you need to take the bus, or train you should maintain social distancing and it is mandatory to wear face coverings.

I do not have a car parking permit but I would like to drive to campus to avoid using public transport - can I do this?

We are not yet in a position to confirm arrangements for parking on campus. Spaces will be limited. If at all possible you should consider walking or using a bike. If this is not possible please discuss with your line manager possibilities for parking in the University car parks. Because of the limited numbers of staff returning at this time, this should be possible.

Where do I park my car?

Car parking will remain free of charge until such time as the University is on open access, when it will be reviewed. There are some changes to car parking that we are making as follows:

  • any staff coming to campus in the first phases of return will have access to any of our car parks, regardless of if they have a permit
  • during the first phases of return and when we are clearer on student numbers returning to campus, we will encourage students to use their cars, where possible to travel to their accommodation.


For line managers

Guidance for line managers

I would like to get some floor markings/signs/barriers for my area to ensure social distancing. How do I go about sourcing this?

A risk assessment will be conducted for each area and measures put in place to ensure safety of staff and students. If you need any additional support or amendments, please direct requests to the ECS help desk.