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1. Introduction

Essential staff have been on site since the first lockdown in 2020; “scientific research in laboratories” was allowed to return to site in June 2020 (Phase 1) and those who needed to be onsite to prepare and open basic services from 6 July 2020 (Phase 2). On 17 July 2020, the governmentissued further easing of lockdown restrictions and a roadmap for recovery. The University prepared to reopen for essential, hands-on, skills-based teaching and assessment from normal course/year start dates (Phase 3).

We amended the guidance for a period of National Restriction starting 5 November 2020 and again for a period of National Lockdown starting 5 January 2021. The guidance has been further reviewed based on the government’s roadmap out of lockdown in February 2021.

Our priority remains to ensure the safety of staff and students and to safeguard public health and the NHS. In line with government guidance aiming to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, staff and students should therefore comply with Covid-19 control procedures outlined below and the government advice (Staying safe outside your home). The University wishes to ensure that its staff and students are protected to the highest possible standards particularly in the light of new variants of the virus. Therefore, following the University recommendation, all staff and students must wear Type II face masks when on site. If you are medically exempt from wearing a face mask, in order to provide some protection to yourself and others, we strongly recommend that you wear a visor while on the University site.  Face masks and visors will be provided and can be collected from the following points on site: Hunter Wing, Reception Desk (staff, students and visitors), Hunter Wing, Library (staff and students), Jenner Wing, Site Services (Staff).

NOTE: This guidance will change as further phases for return are implemented and specific instructions may change as public health advice is updated.

2. Overarching Principles

The following principles act as a guide to how we organise continued essential, hands-on, skills-based teaching and assessment and support services and research:

  • The University will continue to provide services which are essential to continuing research and education, including the relevant educational facilities to students.  
  • All on-site skills-based teaching which is scheduled during this period will continue as planned.  
  • Staff who deliver these essential services and who cannot do their jobs from home will be expected to continue to work on site. Measures to ensure the site is Covid secure will continue to be in place.  
  • Research staff should continue to conduct and supervise research onsite; however, work which can be done effectively at home, such as writing up, should be done at home.Any research activity which involves gathering with others must abide by current Government guidelines.
  • For other staff, any work which can be done effectively at home should be done at home.  
  • University work/study places are being made safe by following COVID-19 Secure guidelines
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable staff and students are no longer required to shield but should be extremely diligent in ensuring they follow social distancing rules. The government’s guidance for individuals who are extremely clinically vulnerable is available here. If extremely vulnerable or vulnerable individuals need to return to site, an individual risk assessment evaluating fitness to return can be completed and discussed with their Line Manager or Course Admin Team. All individuals undertaking clinical placements will be required to complete an individual risk assessment sent to them by Course Admin Teams. Further advice may be obtained from Course Admin Teams and HR. It remains the Institution’s responsibility for the health and safety of all staff and students and this responsibility cannot be delegated to individual staff /student members to decide when/how/if they return to campus. Willingness to return to campus does not automatically mean they should.
  • Individuals must self-isolate if they have any symptoms of Covid-19, or are a household contact of someone who has been symptomatic or tested positive.  Fuller details are available here. Anyone with symptoms should obtain a PCR test through the government Test and Trace system. Members of staff who work in education (teacher/ support staff), are entitled to priority testing. Tests can be booked online, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet.
  • The University also has a LFD testing facility on site for testing of staff and students in accordance with government guidelines. Students and staff who regularly attend site should undertake twice weekly LFD testing to help identify asymptomatic infections and reduce transmission
  • Staff and students should minimise use of public transport as far as possible; if it is necessary to use public transport, face coverings are mandatory and staff should try to arrange work so that travel can be at off-peak times
  • Travel into St George’s must be for work/placement/teaching that cannot be done at home. Staff and students should go directly to their laboratory/place of work/teaching space and not linger on site.  
  • Face masks must be worn if entering the Hospital, public areas and retail facilities. Face masks must be worn whilst in the communal walkways and reception of the University and in all educational environments including teaching rooms, library and laboratories.
  • Line Managers, Course Leads and Project Supervisors will facilitate staff and students to organise their work to enable social distancing but individuals must also take personal responsibility. Where it is not possible to organise work to maintain social distancing then careful consideration must be given as to whether or not this activity should proceed. If it must then additional precautions must be identified to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
  • Staff and students must wash their hands with soap and water or use hand gel frequently and whenever leaving the laboratory/place of work/teaching space.
  • Staff and students are advised to bring their own food and drink to work if required as access to kitchen facilities will be limited.

Staff and students are expected to read the following documents:

3.0 Support to deliver National Restrictions

Building requirements

  • Jenner and Hunter Wings will be generally accessible between 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday-Friday, to enable individuals to travel out of peak time and to arrange shifts if required. The library is open until 11.00pm Monday-Friday and from 9.00 am – 9.00 pm at weekends.
  • Directional flow around the building has been introduced and signposted with staircases designated for up or down movement. Floor plans of Hunter and Jenner Wings showing social distancing measures
  • The use of lifts will be reserved for staff/students who cannot use stairs and for transporting good and materials.
  • Kitchens/Tea rooms will remain open but will be subject to social distancing rules and individual users will be responsible for cleaning after use. Hand sanitiser and cleaning products will be made available. Dishwashers will be switched off.
  • There will be some core central services that support the building (Goods In, Estates support for maintenance, waste collection etc) available during core hours. IT have a presence onsite on Tuesdays and Thursdays if required.
  • We would not expect out of hours or weekend working beyond the usual arrangement. The out of hours and lone working policy must be adhered to at these times.
  • Security would continue as in a business as usual arrangement.
  • Cleaning services will include additional hygiene measures.
  • Office accommodation will be available and subject to social distancing measures. Desks should be allocated to one individual to reduce transmission risk (rather than a hot desk arrangement) and should follow social distancing guidelines for offices.

3.1 Safety requirements

  • Indicative maximum occupation numbers for office/lab/teaching areas will be indicated.
  • Line managers/Course Lead/Project Supervisors should have completed a local area risk assessment and inspection before work/study can commence, and any local rules must have been updated to consider social distancing and cleaning measures. These should be regularly reviewed and must be shared with staff/students as appropriate. Use of local shared tea rooms should be assessed by Line Managers in their risk assessments.
  • In person face to face meetings should be avoided and remote working tools should be used wherever possible. Any in-person research activity requiring gathering with others e.g. meeting with research participants should be paused for the period of national restrictions.
  • In the event of a fire alarm all personnel must leave the building immediately and as quickly as possible by the nearest exit. Once outside the building social distancing should be re- established. Please see further guidance here
  • Safety colleagues will consider other aspects of using the building in a safe way, including shared spaces and staff/students will be updated where necessary via the University Covid-19 (Coronavirus) guidance and Safety, Health and Environment webpages.

3.2 Line Manager/Course Lead/Project Supervisor and staff/student responsibilities

  • We will ask Line Managers/Course Leads/Project Supervisors to regularly review risk assessments and local rules, plan proposed working/study arrangements in line with principles above, and paying particular consideration not only to working safely, but keeping in mind and discussing with their staff/students, travel, health, caring commitments and other factors which may impact an individual’s ability to return to work/study at St George’s.
  • All staff/students must ensure that they read (e.g. local risk assessments, local rules) and abide by new and amended University Health and Safety documentation.

3.3 Other

  • We expect individuals sharing space to work together to agree an optimum safe way of working within the shared space. If this cannot be resolved, the relevant Head of Institute/Head of Directorate will determine the prioritisation.
  • Any concerns regarding safety or breach of social distancing rules should be reported to Line managers/Course Leads/Project Supervisors. Alternatively, individuals can contact their concerns will be treated in strict confidence or utilise the whistleblowing procedure.
  • Individuals who breach Health and Safety guidance and social distancing rules may be subject to disciplinary procedures which could result in suspension of activities or access to the site.


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