At the beginning of June we started our phased return to site. The first phase has been in progress since then and has seen the successful restoration of laboratory-based scientific research on site. On 22 May we emailed you to advise on the direction of travel that St George’s will be taking for the start of the next academic year, which will fall under the third phase, and today I want to update you on the second phase which comes into effect next week.
The second phase comes into effect on Monday 13 July. This is the return of some basic services such as the Library computer room, study spaces, basic Library services and printing services alongside the Physio Labs, Radiography Suite, Paramedic Simulation Suite and OSCE cubicles. Preparations have also been undertaken to establish socially-distanced teaching facilities.
Attending Physio Labs, Radiography Suite, Paramedic Simulation Suite or OSCE cubicles (MBBS P Year and Physicians Associates)
Students who will need to come onsite to use the Physio Labs, Radiography Suite, Paramedic Simulation Suite or OSCE cubicles as part of their course, will be contacted by their Course team to discuss and agree arrangements. Students who identify themselves as vulnerable or have concerns about returning to site will be asked to complete a personal risk assessment.
If you have any queries, please contact your Course team.
Library, computer room and study spaces access
From 13 July students will be allowed access to basic library services between the hours of 11am-3pm. However, library capacity is very limited with only 45 silent study spaces and 18 PCs available. Social distancing is required in all spaces within the library and computer rooms and there are specific guidelines for using the library. Before attending please review the guidance on the student FAQs here.
If you arrive and there are no spaces or PCs available you will need to leave the area and come back another time. Regular patrols will take place to ensure that users are adhering to guidelines.
Institutional safety measures
The top priority throughout this process is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. With this in mind, we have undertaken a detailed institutional risk assessment so that everyone is able to see for themselves the thorough steps which have been taken to ensure this as much as possible. This risk assessment is being updated for each phase. Further measures which have been taken to manage risks include:
· Undertaking local risk assessments and implementing mitigations
· Cleansing facilities and providing additional resources for individual hand cleaning/ clear hand cleansing signage
· Displaying signage for social distancing and one-way routes on site
· The provision of necessary PPE by the University, if required.
Student responsibilities and key principles
In addition to actions the University is taking, students are required to comply with the principles guiding our return to site, which will evolve to reflect the latest Government guidance. This of course will change with time but at present, the following points apply:
- Any work that can be done at home, should be done at home.
- Shielding, extremely vulnerable and vulnerable staff/students should work at home wherever possible in line with government advice. If vulnerable individuals need to return to site, an individual risk assessment evaluating fitness to return should be completed and discussed with their Line Manager/Course Leads. Further advice may be obtained from Occupational Health and HR. Willingness to return to campus does not automatically mean they should.
- Individuals must self-isolate if they have even mild symptoms of Covid-19, or are a household contact of someone who has been symptomatic. Anyone with symptoms should obtain a test through the government Test and Trace system.
- 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.
- Staff and Students should go directly to and from their destination and not linger onsite.
- Face coverings must be worn if entering the Hospital site and we recommend wearing face coverings whilst in the communal walkways and reception of the University.
- Line Managers and Course Leads 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 are advised to bring their own food and drink to work if required.
- Staff and students must wash their hands with soap and water or hand gel frequently and whenever leaving the laboratory/placement.
Please review the complete principles here.
Key documents for students
All students need to read and familiarise themselves with the following documents, which are now available on the Return to Site webpages and student FAQs:
A handy pocket guide on social distancing and returning to site can be found here. A large-font version is also available here.
Thank you for your patience during this challenging and uncertain time. We aim to return to site in a way which prioritises the safety of our students and staff, while also enabling the vital teaching and research we offer, and the services we provide to support these, to continue.
Very best wishes
Chief Operating Officer
St George’s, University of London