How to come onto our campuses

The University Health and Safety procedures set out a framework that is committed to providing a safe and healthy University, ensuring our community take a proactive approach to health, safety and wellbeing; and to embedding health and safety as a core value in everything we do. We are already operating at full capacity for the majority of spaces and events, with appropriate ventilation in place, and with all staff back at work on campus either for all their working time or in a hybrid way.

Face coverings

It is a matter of personal choice whether to wear a face covering whilst on campus. This might include keeping a mask in your pocket and wearing it when others would prefer you to, for example, if they are wearing a mask and social distancing is not possible.

Disposable face mask dispensers remain available around our campuses. Please contact stores@essex.ac.uk if you wish to arrange for collection of additional masks.

Social distancing

The University will no longer be marking which desks can be used. It is expected that staff will take a pragmatic approach (i.e. windows should be open enough to allow air flow where practical). Ventilation systems remain adjusted to maximise “fresh air” input and minimise/remove air circulation.

PPE

If you require any PPE please contact your department's representative. In instances where this option is not available, PPE can be collected from Central Stores.

Outside of this process, there are other considerations being made to support a safe return to our campuses including provision of hand gel, wipes, face masks and face coverings.

Sanitising units

Wall-mounted hand gel units located throughout the academic and administrative buildings. These are checked each morning and replenished as needed. Should a unit or dispenser need replenishing during the day, please email ems-helpdesk@essex.ac.uk.

Wipes

Sanitising wipe individual packs are held within Central Stores. Staff working in office and reception areas should have access to individual packs of sanitiser wipes so that you are able to keep your work stations and areas sanitised each day. To arrange collections of individual packs of sanitising wipes, contact stores@essex.ac.uk

Hand gel

A stock of alcohol hand gel are available from Central Stores.

Face coverings and face masks

We have installed disposable mask dispensers around our campuses.

Please contact stores@essex.ac.uk if you wish to arrange for collection of additional masks.

FFP2 and FF3 masks (staff only)

Where preferred face masks, rather than face coverings, may be used to provide protection to the user.

FFP2 / FFP3 Masks are only effective if worn correctly and fit tested to the individual covering the nose and mouth, fitted snugly, and kept clean.

Whilst not designated as PPE in this instance, FFP2 or FFP3 face masks will be available for staff to elect to use but these can be individually face fitted to ensure that they are effective. Face fitting will be available for those who choose to use FFP2 or FFP3 masks where these items have been issued by the University.

This test is to ensure you use the mask that best fits your face to ensure it provides a good level of protection.

For a face fitting session you will be required to be clean shaven and bring a bottle of water with you. Face fitting sessions are available to book by emailing safety@essex.ac.uk

COVID-19 testing, vaccination and travel

Regular testing will no longer be recommended, and tests will only be provided by the University in exceptional cases or where a risk assessment by Occupational Health suggests that these are needed.

The University asks that anyone who tests positive stays away from campus facilities (or self-isolate on campus) whilst infectious or for up to five calendar days. Please follow the University’s advice on testing positive for COVID-19.

The University of Essex supports and strongly encourages, staff and students, who are eligible, to take the COVID-19 vaccination when available.

Testing

During the Autumn term we will be offering a symptomatic testing service at all three of our campuses. Symptoms for COVID-19 are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu and include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

Colchester

During October 2022 only we will be offering supported COVID-19 testing for students and staff on campus displaying symptoms in our clinic located next to Everything Essex (Post Office) on square 4.

If living or working off campus and displaying symptoms of COVID-19,  you can contact covid19@essex.ac.uk providing your address and request a test be posted to you.

Southend and Loughton

Students and staff displaying symptoms of COVID-19  can contact covid19@essex.ac.uk providing your address and request a test be posted to you

Testing positive for COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms

If you test positive for COVID-19 or start showing symptoms we ask that you consider the following advice to help reduce the transmission of the virus on our campus.

  • Email covid19@essex.ac.uk to report symptoms or positive test results
  • Stay/study at home if you feel unwell
  • Avoid all teaching events and stay away from all University facilities for either up to 5 days whilst the virus is known to be most contagious, or until you have a negative COVID-19 test
  • Limit contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19
  • Inform any close contacts that you have had over the last 48 hours since getting symptoms or testing positive, so they can be vigilant for symptoms and continue to carry out twice weekly COVID testing
  • Wear a face covering
  • Wash hands regularly and wipe down touched surfaces with cleaning wipes or products

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. However if you develop severe symptoms you can seek advice from NHS 111 or request that a University clinician calls you. Please email covid19@essex.ac.uk if you would like a telephone call from one of our clinicians.

Vaccination

The Coronavirus vaccination is now available and as university students we want to support you to get vaccinated in order to protect yourself, fellow students and the campus community you live and study within.

Research shows that vaccines:

  • reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19
  • reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
  • protect against COVID-19 variants

NHS Ask the Expert event

In December we held a virtual Ask the Expert event for Health and Social Care students with staff from NHS North East Essex. Watch a recording of the event to find out more about the local vaccination programme.

Vaccination clinics

Colchester

We have a vaccination clinic available on campus on Wednesday 14 December for anyone yet to have 1st, 2nd, 3rd doses or booster. Please note that staff and students aged 50+ are now eligible to receive the booster. To book an appointment please email our COVID-19 inbox at covid19@essex.ac.uk by Thursday 8 December providing the following information:

  • The campus you are studying on
  • Number of vaccine doses you have received so far (regardless of the country of origin)
  • The name of the vaccine you have received
  • The date of your last vaccine

Regular vaccination clinics are available in the Colchester area on the Suffolk and North East Essex Vaccination Service webpage.

Southend

The local vaccination centre for Southend is based at the Southend Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea SS1 9SB. To pre-book an appointment, please call 0344 257 3961. Walk-in appointments are also available.

Loughton

The local vaccination centre for Loughton based at St Margaret’s Hospital is not available as a walk-in clinic and should be booked in advance. The address for this location is St Margaret’s Hospital, Spencer Close, The Plain, Epping, CM16 6TN

Further information about other local vaccination clinics and any popup sites are available on Herts and West Essex COVID-19 website.

Further information about the vaccine can be found on the NHS website.

COVID-19 travel information

Please follow the latest guidance from the UK Government regarding to the UK and when travelling to other countries, including the legal requirements for getting tested for COVID-19.

When you travel to England, you:

  • do not need to complete a UK passenger locator form before you travel
  • do not need to take any COVID-19 tests before you travel or after you arrive
  • do not need to quarantine when you arrive

Other countries may have rules about what you need to do to leave the country to travel to England. You should check travel advice for the country you are travelling from.

Strategic approach to COVID-19 Safety

The University’s guidance on COVID-19 safety on campus is driven by the COVID-19 Strategic Risk Assessment which outlines the main measures in place to minimise transmission risks to our community.

COVID-19 risk assessments

Assessing risks associated with COVID-19 for activities and events will be incorporated into the standard departmental/activity risk assessments which follow standard approval mechanisms.

These can be updated at the next review due and will require approval by the relevant manager in the department.

COVID-19 and face-to-face meetings

A generic COVID Risk Assessment for face-to-face meetings has been produced to cover most meetings. Departments are not required to produce a separate risk assessment for standard face to face meetings. Staff must familiarise themselves with the content of the document prior to the start of the event to ensure that they are aware of the University requirements.

Please note that non-standard or very large meetings (over 150 participants) may require a supplementary COVID-19 risk assessment, to be decided by Head of Department or Section.

COVID-19 and teaching

The COVID-19 Standard Teaching Risk Assessment has be updated in line with the controls reflected in the updated University COVID-19 Strategic Risk Assessment (.pdf). This now covers all teaching events except zero distance teaching. Therefore, a separate COVID-19 risk assessment for a teaching event will no longer be required.

Non-standard events, such as events involving close contact activities (such as research with human participants), very large events (over 150 participants), large sporting events, or any other event or activity which is deemed by the Head of Department/Section to present an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission, may require a supplementary COVID-19 risk assessment. The need for a separate risk assessment will be decided by the Head of Department/Section.

COVID-19 travel

Risk assessment templates and guidance have been produced for overseas travel.

Travelling within the UK

Travelling within the UK will only require a formal risk assessment where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is deemed higher than normal for any reason. This decision will be made by the Head of Section/Department.

Travelling overseas

The University has updated its travel process to include a central COVID-19 risk assessment for overseas travel (separate version for students and for staff).1 This can be found on the relevant overseas travel webpages. The traveller will be expected to refer to this risk assessment when planning their trip and will be required to check the COVID-19 restrictions of the country they are visiting.

Where there is an additional COVID-19 risk identified which is over and above that detailed in the central COVID-19 risk assessment (for example if the type of activity increases the risk of transmission, or if the Drum Cussac medical category risk rating is > 3 due to COVID-19) then the traveller will need to address this in the relevant staff overseas travel risk assessment form or student overseas travel risk assessment form, in line with pre-pandemic overseas travel processes.

COVID-19 returning to Campus

Where staff express concerns over returning to campus due to Covid-19 and their individual health vulnerabilities, managers should ask staff to complete the COVID age assessment and refer to Occupational Health for an assessment.

Working from home

If you are continuing to work from home, follow our general working from home guidance. DSE and other office items can be provided to support staff at home and prevent the onset of DSE related illness.

If you are continuing to work from home, here is the IT information you need to know.

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