The Government yesterday announced new COVID ‘Plan B’ rules and the Department for Education has today also published updated guidance for higher education providers (.pdf). I am writing to let you know the steps the University will be taking as we enter this further period of national restrictions in the run up to Christmas.
The Department for Education guidance states that teaching and learning should not be moved online as a result of the general work from home guidance, and that staff can continue to attend work as necessary to deliver this. In-person teaching and learning will therefore continue in line with our published timetable. Staff needed to support the continuation of in-person teaching and learning are also exempt from the working from home order.
We will be continuing face-to-face teaching until the end of the Autumn term 2021 and on-campus research activities will also be continuing.
For other areas, activities will fall into one of three main groups:
There will be colleagues whose personal circumstances mean either that they need to continue to work on campus, or that they cannot continue to work on campus.
There may also be staff who are required to continue to work on one of our campuses, but feel unable to do so. In all these situations, staff should discuss their concerns with their line manager and we want to be as flexible as we can be. Our Occupational Health Team, led by Lara Carmel, is available to provide support and advice to managers. I am also very happy to be contacted directly for further support or advice.
The additional measures that we put in place last week also remain in place.
In addition to the requirement to wear face-coverings set out above, these also include, social distancing where possible and testing twice a week or if you have any COVID or cold symptoms. Anyone not able to wear a mask should be asked to socially distance. If you able to, please get vaccinated including taking up early boosters. You can check the number of cases on campus on our live tracker.
Thank you for everything that you are doing to keep us all safe. I do appreciate that the introduction of these additional measures at this time of the year is especially challenging. I will keep in touch to update you as soon as I can as circumstances change, including with our plans for the Spring Term (17 January to 25 March 2022).
People and Culture, University of Essex
Alix Langley joined Essex in September 2021 as the Director of People & Culture. People & Culture includes the Employee Relations and Reward team, Workplace Health & Safety and Wellbeing, Organisational Development and Inclusion, who deliver services to staff and students and are responsible for the People Supporting Strategy to 2025.