National lockdown - January 2021

Page last updated: Wednesday 6 January 2021, 16:30

We understand that staff and students may be concerned about the impact of the latest announcement of new national lockdown for England which come into force on Tuesday 5 January.

Whilst restrictions have tightened considerably since the autumn, this lockdown differs from the situation last March. The University will remain open to support students already resident, to facilitate teaching, including face-to-face teaching for those on a defined number of exempt programmes (medicine, allied health, teacher training and social care), and to sustain research (including for PGR students) requiring specialist facilities, including libraries.

The government has updated its guidance to universities on resuming face-to-face teaching with the expectation that, apart from the small number of exempt programmes noted above, teaching will be online only until mid-February. To support those students who are permitted to return before mid-February, our LFD testing site will be providing asymptomatic COVID-19 tests to ensure we minimise the risk of on-campus transmission and within the local community.

For our students, we recognise how anxious they are about how this lockdown will affect their progress and ability to graduate, with growing calls for different types of ‘no detriment’ policies. We are currently revising our policies and will continue to do everything we can to support them to achieve their full potential while also maintaining the integrity of their degree for successful employment or further study.

We recognise that the abrupt closure of schools until February half-term will have created significant challenges for many staff, but are pleased to let you know that we have been informed that higher education staff, whether working on campus or working from home are viewed as key workers whose children can be considered for continued attendance at school. The key worker status applies to all staff at the University.

We also recognise the importance of the government’s general message that, where it is possible for people to work from home they should do so in order to support public health. We have therefore updated our guidance about working on campus and working at home for the period up to mid-February 2021.

We are also updating the below series of FAQs to help answer any questions you might have about what this means for your work, study or arrival on campus. Please note that the below FAQs relate specifically to the current national lockdown - for more general FAQs regarding COVID-19 please visit the main Coronavirus intranet pages.

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