It is an extraordinary time and I recognise the stresses and strains that you may be feeling. Across the whole of society in the UK and globally, we are adapting to a new set of rules following the fast-paced developments with the Covid-19 outbreak.
We have done our best at St George’s to offer you clarity on our response as soon as possible and I thank you for your patience and your resilience. I have always been proud of the strength of our community and never has that been more important as we navigate this new path.
We may be dispersed, but I promise you are in my thoughts. We all remain part of St George’s and I am confident we will pull together in new ways through the next phase.
Please reach out and connect with each other virtually. We all have a role to play in ensuring that no member of our community feels isolated.
Below are links to our latest communications to students and updates to our guidance. We will continue to keep in touch.
Professor Jenny Higham
Messages to students
We are posting all communications about the university’s response to Covid-19 developments on our website. You can access our latest messages to students via the links below:
20 March: student support and advice
18 March: updated FAQs, guidance for international students and clinical placements
At the present time the campus remains open. Please keep an eye on the FAQs page of the website for any changes to opening times of facilities or services.
Latest government advice regarding schools closures
We recognise that school and nursery closures are bringing additional challenges for staff around childcare. St George’s wants to support staff to balance their work and childcare responsibilities during this very unusual time.
Please discuss your working arrangements and workload with your manager. You may need to work flexibly or flex your hours in order to manage both, for example adjusting your hours so that you can work when your childcare needs are less or focusing on business-critical activities.
If you need to concentrate solely on childcare you may wish to consider taking annual leave. In some cases special leave may apply, as outlined in the special leave policy (please see the HR section of the website).
We will do everything we can to accommodate your situation. Please speak to your line manager and rest assured that you will continue to receive your normal pay (as will all St George's staff).
A number of online tools are available to support remote working. Microsoft Teams is already proving valuable for staff as a new way to hold virtual committee meetings, individual catch-ups and team chats. It can be used for video conferencing, file sharing and online chat functionality. Further information is available under ‘Applications’ within the advice on remote working.
Please update your email signature to remove any contact details that are not currently appropriate, for example your desk phone number.
MyWorkplace - recording sickness absence relating to Covid-19
As a reminder to managers, please ensure that any sickness absences as a result of Covid-19 are recorded correctly. There are two options:
Individuals reporting symptoms of Covid-19 should be recorded as “Covid-19 Unconfirmed”
Individuals who have been tested for Covid-19 and have received a positive result should be recorded as “Covid-19 Confirmed”.
Recruiting to roles in your team
You should give careful consideration to whether recruiting now is the best option. We can expect the current arrangements of working from home and social distancing to continue for some time and it is likely that many potential candidates will defer applying for roles while the current measures are ongoing and it remains uncertain how long they will last.
You also need to consider whether the work the role entails will be required at the same level while the current situation continues. On the other hand, the timeframes for recruitment, including advertising and somebody having to work their notice should also be taken into account. In light of this, you may decide that continuing to recruit is the best option in order to try to fill a role once business as usual can resume. HR will be monitoring the situation and will discuss with managers whether recruitment at this time is the best option.
If you do decide to recruit you will most likely need to undertake a remote interview. This could be undertaken using Microsoft Teams or Skype for business.