Last updated: Friday 13 October 2023
It has been some time since the UK Government brought an end to COVID-19 restrictions in England and introduced their Living With COVID-19 plan, we have moved into the next phase of living with the virus, which is more in line with how we manage other respiratory infections. There continues to be small increases in infection rates which are likely to continue throughout the winter period when other respiratory infections also tend to be higher. Find out more about the University's guidance in response to the small rise of cases (log-in required).
Face coverings and staying safe and well
The wearing of face coverings is no longer a requirement in most areas across campus although you will be supported if you choose to use them. They remain a sensible precaution and we continue to provide them free of charge to those who want them.
The NHS trust at University Hospital Leicester has reintroduced face-masks in clinical settings. This is a precautionary measure taken by the Hospital Trust and applies to all clinical areas.
Although the University is not mandating the wearing of masks in our buildings adjacent to the hospitals, they are advised for those working with hospital or patient-facing teams. If you go into the Hospital, you should follow any local rules regarding mask wearing.
If you feel unwell
The symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections are very similar. In order to minimise the spread of all respiratory infections, if you feel ill you are advised to stay away from campus until you are symptom-free. While we are not required to test, if you have used a lateral flow device and you have tested positive, please stay at home for at least five days.
If you are feeling well enough and your working arrangements support homeworking, with the agreement of your line manager, we would encourage you to work from home. If you are unable to work from home, please ensure your period of absence is reported via Employee Self Service (log-in required), or your usual route for reporting sickness.
For those with teaching commitments, colleagues should consult their line manager in the first instance but follow common sense precautions. Options for discussion should include finding cover, rescheduling or as a final resort moving the session online.
All sickness absence and circumstances will be considered in line with the provisions of the Maximising Attendance Policy.
It remains important to follow the general infection prevention control measures in order to limit the spread of respiratory infections:
- Catch it: Always carry tissues and use them to catch your cough or sneeze
- Bin it: Dispose of your tissue as soon as possible
- Kill it: Clean your hands as soon as you can
If you have an immune deficiency condition, then continue with the necessary precautions you currently undertake.
Lateral flow tests
The Government has removed the requirement to test twice a week in education settings. We encourage, if you are able to continue to test if you feel unwell with COVID symptoms.
Our contract to distribute lateral flow tests has now ended and we are no longer be able to make these available from our building receptions to staff and students. We are however retaining a supply of test kits for outbreak management should they be needed in future.
You can now only order, if you are eligible, free lateral flow tests from the NHS, including if you have certain health conditions or you're going into hospital for surgery. You can buy COVID-19 tests from some pharmacies and retailers, but we do not expect you to do this.
If you are testing regularly and you do test positive, even if you have no symptoms, you should stay away from campus until you have tested negative.
The next vaccination booster campaign is well under way. We would encourage everyone who is eligible to take up the booster vaccination when offered. The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others by:
- reducing your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19
- reducing your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
- protecting against COVID-19 variants.
While the University is not able to offer COVID vaccinations, we do offer the Flu vaccine for under 65s. See our latest news post for more information (log-in required).
Further resources and support