The University Executive Board has reviewed the new requirements from Government along with specific guidance for Higher Education and assessed the actions that need to be taken at the University.
We need to continue to be responsive and flexible within a changing national situation, as we have been throughout.
Here you will find details on arrangements for teaching, research, travel, clinically vulnerable staff and furlough leave during this national lockdown.
There are some gaps in the detail that we can provide at this stage and we will share further information on testing, building access, risk assessments and any other safety measures as soon as possible. There will also be information to follow later this week on the government definition of critical workers.
We will also continue to update our web pages as needed.
Our plans for teaching, learning, and the wider student experience are aligned with government guidelines.
Teaching will be delivered remotely (online only) from the beginning of term (11 January 2021) until mid-February for all subjects, with the exception of MBChB, Initial Teacher Training and Social Work.
Travel and movement - updated guidance
Wherever possible, those staff who are able to should work off campus. Staff who need to come to campus – to deliver teaching, to prepare for teaching, to undertake research that can’t be done remotely, or to provide critical services, can continue to do so, but will need to undertake further safety measures outlined below.
The new government guidance is that students should remain where they currently are wherever possible and start the term online, until at least mid-February. This means that if they are aren't currently back at Warwick, they need to remain where they are and engage remotely. We are writing to students with guidance, but also to be clear that we will continue to provide support and facilities for those students who are already on campus or need to travel back.
For PGR students, government advice remains unchanged; where they are able to work from home, they should do so, but those who require access to specialist facilities on campus or cannot work from home are able to do so.
Government advice remains unchanged; where research staff (including PGR students) are able to work from home, they should do so, but those who require access to facilities on campus or cannot work from home are able to do so in line with undertaking further safety measures detailed below.
Campus remains open and campus facilities such as the library, study spaces and retail outlets with take-away services will be open for term 2. Accommodation and wellbeing services will also remain open.
We will provide more detail on services and on building accessibility before the start of term.
Additional safety measures for people coming to campus
We are in a very different position to March 2020 because we have already introduced a significant number of safety measures to reduce transmission and help protect everyone’s health. Testing provision, risk assessments, social distancing, appropriately ventilated spaces, along with the use of face coverings are all in place.
There are some additional safety measures to be introduced, including the strong recommendation for all staff and students to take lateral flow tests before they come to campus for work or study, and updated requirements on face coverings. There will be more detail on this before the start of term.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Staff
Members of staff who meet the Government definition of being clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus will receive confirmation of this status from their GP or the NHS. Clinically extremely vulnerable staff are advised to follow resumed shielding guidance and work from home until advised otherwise. Individuals who cannot undertake their role from home will not be required to attend work and should not travel to campus during this period.
They will continue to receive pay and are advised to discuss their situation with their line manager / HR Business Partner in order to consider any other duties / reassignment opportunities which can be undertaken remotely, or being placed on furlough leave. The University may require individuals to provide medical evidence to verify their individual circumstances.
Decisions on which roles to furlough will continue be taken within departments based on the work required to maintain campus services and activities, and line managers will be required to notify affected staff about their working patterns as soon as possible following dissemination of Government and University guidance. It is expected that initial notification will be by phone, and a formal letter will follow.
Staff who were previously furloughed and are currently assigned to temporary alternative roles are expected to continue with these arrangements unless advised otherwise. The furlough scheme will continue to allow for ‘flexible furlough’ opportunities as before, and we will encourage all staff to continue to be as flexible as possible in order to support the University’s long term goal to protect jobs.
These continue to be challenging times for staff and students. We will be continuing our wellbeing check calls to students from the start of term.
Please see details of the support available to staff and please don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it.
The University’s highest priority continues to be the safety of staff, students and the local community. We have a responsibility as a community to help prevent the spread of Covid. Our safety measures on campus, which include social distancing, face coverings, enhanced cleaning and test and trace, remain in place and important for all members of our community.
We will continue to work in consultation with local public health and base our decisions on the latest public health circumstances, taking account of the need to minimise risk.
At this stage, we expect additional restrictions to remain in place until mid-February, as indicated by Government, but we will of course review any plans we have in place in light of any changes to this Government guidance.
We will provide further updates as soon as we can, and certainly before the start of term. We will also be updating the University webpages. We will continue to keep you informed with further news as we receive it via insite and via email.