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Living with COVID

 

Living with COVID-19: advice for staff

As we begin to move from ‘pandemic to endemic’, we will continue to update the advice below, in line with the Government guidance on ‘living with COVID’. 

Keep safe

You can reduce the risk of catching and passing on COVID-19 by:

  • Getting vaccinated
  • Staying at home if you are unwell
  • Washing your hands and follow the advice below.

Stay compassionate

We ask everyone to consider the needs and feelings of others in our community. Please continue to show the same understanding and respect for each other that has been a hallmark of our collective approach.

As we emerge from the pandemic, hopefully we can all recognise that we have all had different experiences and our levels of personal comfort in situations will vary. Talking to each other can support us to understand these experiences and concerns.

Ventilation

Many areas have mechanical ventilation, which should not be adjusted as it has already been calibrated to the right setting.

Other spaces without mechanical ventilation will have windows that can be opened to let fresh air in. To ventilate these spaces, you could:

  • Open the windows where signage tells you to.
  • Consider how others feel about opening the windows. Those located close to the windows may prefer them to be wide open when people are not in the room, and only slightly open when they are.
  • Leave a window open slightly all day.
  • Open a window fully after a meeting or when you are leaving the space for a break.

Please report any concerns around mechanical ventilation /room capacity to the FD Estates Helpdesk.

Capacities

There is no longer a need for specific distancing measures on campus, however colleagues should respect the personal space of others, as we transition away from COVID-19 measures.

Timetabled teaching spaces (including teaching laboratories) are being reassessed by the FD Facilities teams. The capacities in these spaces will either be revised or reinstated to pre-COVID levels, depending on the ventilation rates.

Other spaces (such as laboratories, offices and meeting rooms) can return to their pre-COVID capacity.

Rooms which have neither mechanical ventilation nor windows that open, should be kept as single occupancy rooms.

What to do if you are unwell or experience cold/ flu-like symptoms

The original legal requirement to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 has now been replaced by advice to stay at home and avoid close contact with others for at least five full days. Please take a community-focused and responsible approach and follow this advice. 

If you are unwell, and/ or if you have symptoms of COVID-19, or any other highly infectious disease (such as, flu, sickness or diarrhoea) and are not well enough to work, you should remain at home and report your sickness in the usual way.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or other highly infectious diseases (e.g. flu, sickness or diarrhoea), and are well enough to work, you should try to avoid coming onto campus. You should speak with your line manager and agree whether it is possible for you to arrange to work from home, until symptoms have eased. 

Please see NHS guidance for more details of when to stay at home if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive.

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals

In the main, the University expects staff to work on campus as requested by their line manager and as required by their role.

Whilst particularly vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable, and high or higher-risk individuals are not being advised to shield by the Government, we understand the concerns this will raise for staff and students in those groups.

In some circumstances, staff and students may have received advice from their doctor or clinician to take additional precautions and they should continue to follow that advice. Whilst individual risk assessments are not required, anyone with health concerns that affects their ability to work, or study, are encouraged to speak to their line manager, HR, personal tutor or supervisor.

Risk assessments

From Friday 1 April, we no longer complete COVID-specific risk assessments.

The Government advises that risk assessments by higher education providers should take account of the approach to managing the virus in wider society, in particular that restrictions have been removed and the vaccine programme continues to be rolled out.

At the University, this means that risk assessments should not incorporate control measures for COVID-19 unless they are to address overseas travel requirements or if a third party (such as the NHS or a placement provider) specifically requires it.

Face coverings

From Friday 1 April, people are no longer encouraged or expected to wear face coverings on campus (clinical settings may still follow NHS guidance, and if so you’ll need to respect this). We recognise that individuals may still choose to wear a face covering and this should be respected by all members of our community.

Hand Hygiene

We all have a responsibility to continue to maintain high personal levels of hygiene, especially by regularly washing our hands. Cleaning materials are provided for everyone to use in all teaching, laboratory and office spaces.

Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs from one person to another and throughout our community. You can follow these five steps every time to help reduce the risks.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Travel

Travel for University activities is permitted, subject to the University travel guidance.

Support

  • If you are concerned about returning to campus or your circumstances change, please discuss this with your line manager or human resources manager.
  • Please report any concerns around mechanical ventilation to the FD Estates Helpdesk.
  • Please report any concerns around room capacities or your safety to your Health and Safety team.
  • For personal support, you can also contact the University’s Staff Counselling and Psychological Support team via staffcounselling@leeds.ac.uk .

  • For more information on support available to University staff see the Wellbeing webpages and the Staff Counselling pages.

Useful links and resources

Health and Safety advice

Living with COVID Downloads