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Staff furlough scheme

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Where do I find details of the St George's, University of London Staff Furlough Scheme?

We have taken the difficult decision to place a number of our workers onto the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, more commonly known as “furlough”. Individuals placed on furlough will continue to receive their usual pay and benefits but will not be able to undertake any work for the University for the duration of their furlough. Furlough must last at least three weeks but will be reviewed after this time.

Full information is available on the HR website

Return to site

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Now that the lockdown is easing, what are the University's plans for staff returning to site?

Since the announcement of lockdown measures on 24 March 2020, most of the University’s work has been operating remotely.   

On 11 May 2020, the Government published guidelines for working safely during coronavirus. The University’s Business Continuity Planning (BCP) groups have since been interpreting the guidelines for the St George’s setting and have launched a Return to Site project.  

The current guidance asks that those who can work from home continue to do so.  However, people in England who "can't work from home" have been "actively encouraged to go to work" and the advice issued indicated that this applied to scientific research in laboratories. Under Higher Education England essential worker guidance, some postgraduate students (Physicians Associate) who need to complete placements on NHS sites will also return to site.  

The overarching aim of the Return to Site project is to recommission services on site in a safe and secure way where it is sensible and necessary to do so and ensuring the health and safety of the St George’s community.  

We anticipate that a return to site for staff will be rolled out in four phases, beginning now, with an anticipated conclusion in July 2021. This may change depending on further Government guidance. Some phases, affecting different groups of staff, may run concurrently. 

First phase   

During this phase, in line with Government guidelines, anyone who can work from home should continue working from home.  

In this phase, we are aiming for the restoration of all laboratory-based scientific research to site. This will begin with a voluntary return for research staff based in Jenner Wing working on non-Covid-19 related research in three waves at weekly intervals.  

For this group, travel into St George’s must be for lab work/placement only. Staff should go directly to their laboratory/place of work and not linger on site. Any writing up should be done at home. 

Second phase   

In this second phase, some basic services for students, such as the computer room, study spaces, and printing services, will be restored, alongside the Radiography suite and OSCE cubicles. Preparations will be undertaken to establish socially-distanced teaching facilities. Access to site will be facilitated to allow the Midwifery School move to Kingston Hill. 

Third phase   

We anticipate that this phase will include the commencement of 2020/21 academic year courses from their normal start date. Teaching will be delivered online where possible, but this phase will include the resumption of essential onsite, hands-on teaching, including clinical skills, lab practicals, use of the dissecting room and the simulation suite, which cannot be delivered online.  

Fourth phase   

The site will be open for all staff and students, in line with future Government guidance. Some operations may continue to be delivered remotely, depending on business requirements at the time. 

Further details on the project objectives and phases.

What steps has the University taken to minimise risks to staff?

In line with government requirements, we have published a risk assessment, setting out how the University will be managing risks associated with the transmission of the Covid-19 infection.   

As an employer, the University has a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means that the University needs to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of Covid-19.  

The document will be subject to change following amendments to Government guidance and changes that may arise on-site.  

Access the St George’s, University of London risk assessment for responding to Covid-19 (PDF)  

Further guidance has been developed setting out considerations for staff returning to site following the Covid-19 lockdown and the protocols and practices staff are required to follow.   

Guidance on returning to work onsite following Covid-19 lockdown 

Personal safety and social distancing guidance has also been produced to outline immediate measures being put in place to ensure staff and students can return to site safely. It will also cover how these processes will be implemented in the long term to ensure compliance for the foreseeable future.  

Personal safety and social distancing guidance

What overarching principles do staff need to abide by when returning to site?

The following principles are guiding the return of operations to the St George’s site.  

  • 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. Further advice should be obtained from Occupational Health and HR. It remains the Institution’s responsibility for the health and safety of all staff 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 even mild symptoms of Covid-19, or are a household contact of someone who has been symptomatic.  

  • Staff and students should minimise use of public transport as far as possible; if it is necessary to use public transport, try to arrange work so that travel can be at off-peak times.  

  • Travel into St George’s must be for lab work/placement only. Staff should go directly to their laboratory/place of work and not linger on site, write up should be done at home. 

  • 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.  

Further guidance has been developed setting out considerations for staff returning to site following the Covid-19 lockdown and the protocols and practices staff are required to follow.   

Guidance on returning to work onsite following Covid-19 lockdown

Personal safety and social distancing guidance has also been produced to outline immediate measures being put in place to ensure staff and students can return to site safely. It will also cover how these processes will be implemented in the long term to ensure compliance for the foreseeable future.  

Personal safety and social distancing guidance.

There is also specific guidance on the return to laboratory-based work. 

Further details about the approaches to delivering the return to laboratory-based work (Phase 1).

What should I do to prepare for returning to site?

Ahead of the phased return to site, staff need to read and familiarise themselves with the following documents, which are now available on the website:   

More information will follow as we implement these phases of our return.

I’m a member of staff who works in a laboratory. When and how can I return to site?

Recent government advice (issued in May) has permitted a return to scientific laboratory work.  

In response, the University has worked intensively to plan and implement a suite of policies and procedures to ensure the return for staff is as safe as possible. The health and safety of all staff and students remains the University’s responsibility, including deciding who returns to campus and when this is feasible. 

Staff and students who can work from home should continue to do so.  Importantly, at this point, we are only asking those that wish to return, to come back.  

Your circumstances may mean you do not wish to return to laboratory work at present, ifor example due to family commitments, caring for a vulnerable individual or you may simply feel concerned about being back on site. 

The University will be managing the return of staff to laboratories in two waves.  

Please note that the University’s guidance for return is in line with specific government advice for laboratories, which differs from guidance for NHS Trusts. 

Wave 1 

The first wave of people who can return from Monday 8 June includes only those staff who: 

  • Are Research Institute members or joint members doing scientific laboratory work 
  • Who cannot work from home 
  • Who live locally and can travel to work without relying on public transport (this is because we want to ensure our new social distancing measures work with low numbers of people first and individuals can easily return home if required).  
Wave 2 

The second wave of people who we aim to return 7-10 days later are the same as above, except with the inclusion of those who use public transport to travel to the University.  In addition, PhD and MD students who have laboratory work that they wish to continue may return at the same time.   

Any subsequent waves for return to laboratory work will be communicated in due course. 

Further details about the approaches to delivering the return to laboratory-based work (Phase 1).

As a member of staff who works in a laboratory, what specific steps do I need to take before I return to site?
Returning in Wave 1 or 2 

If your circumstances mean you are in any of the groups above, you must discuss and agree your return with your PI/line manager.  

PIs/line managers (or a delegated individual) will need to: 

  • Complete a new risk assessment for your area of work (lab and office) 
  • Make sure your local rules are updated to include social distancing measures 
  • Complete a lab inspection before any work can commence 
  • Review all relevant COSSH forms 

These forms will need to be sent to the RIM before any work can commence. Guidance to support this is available on the Health and Safety website and help is available from the SHE office

Changes to ways of working 

Please remember that returning to Jenner is for laboratory work only and writing up or data analysis should still be performed at home.   

For everyone’s safety, there will be some changes on site and staff should familiarise themselves with how things will change on site in advance. For example:  

  • There will be sign-posted directional routes for entering/exiting and going up/down between floors in Hunter and Jenner buildings.  

  • We have installed more hand gel dispensers at key locations, but we also ask you to wash your hands regularly in addition to good laboratory practice. 

We wish to ensure that social distancing measures are in place in laboratories and offices and hot desking is discouraged. This means that there will be maximum capacity caps in lab and office areas. These will be defined by local rules. 

Some groups may have to work in shifts to accommodate these requirements.  Whether this means working at different times of the day or on different days will be up to PIs to decide.  

The University does not encourage working out of hours, since support from Research Operations and other teams is limited at such times.  We will monitor out of hours usage (after 19.00 Monday-Friday and at weekends) and if this is greater than normal then this will be reviewed. 

If you wish to wear a mask/face covering you may, but this is not compulsory.  

Government guidelines encourage you to bring in your own food and drink; you can use kitchens to make a hot drink or similar, but first wash your own hands and always remember social distancing guidelines in these areas must be adhered to, and you must clean up carefully after yourself. 

You should also be aware that arrangements for obtaining clinical research specimens or using clinical facilities in any way, will depend on the clinical realities at present and will require discussion with clinical collaborators. At the moment, the CRF is Covid-19 focused (St George’s is currently recruiting to more NIHR-approved studies than anywhere else in the UK), but we expect other clinical research to resume soon.  

Staff with any further queries should contact either Professor Jon Friedland or Professor Debbie Baines.

Further details about the approaches to delivering the return to laboratory-based work (Phase 1).

If I am not laboratory based, should I continue working from home?

On 11 May 2020, the Government published guidelines for working safely during coronavirus. The University’s Business Continuity Planning (BCP) groups have since been interpreting the guidelines for the St George’s setting and have launched a Return to Site project.  

The current guidance asks that those who can work from home continue to do so.  However, people in England who "can't work from home" have been "actively encouraged to go to work" and the advice issued indicated that this applied to scientific research in laboratories. Under Higher Education England essential worker guidance, some postgraduate students (Physicians Associate) who need to complete placements on NHS sites will also return to site.  

The overarching aim of the Return to Site project is to recommission services on site in a safe and secure way where it is sensible and necessary to do so and ensuring the health and safety of the St George’s community.

We anticipate that a return to site for staff will be rolled out in four phases, beginning now, with an anticipated conclusion in July 2021. This may change depending on further Government guidance. Some phases, affecting different groups of staff, may run concurrently.  

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. Further advice should be obtained from Occupational Health and HR.  Willingness to return to campus does not automatically mean that you 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.  

  • Staff and students should minimise use of public transport as far as possible; if it is necessary to use public transport, try to arrange work so that travel can be at off-peak times.  

  • 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 for social distancing. Where it is not possible to organise work to maintain social distancing, careful consideration must be given as to whether this activity should proceed.  

  • Staff and students are advised to bring their own food and drink to work if required.   

  • Staff must wash their hands with soap and water or hand gel frequently, including whenever they leave a laboratory.  

I’m not part of the phased return yet, but can I collect things from my office?

All non-research based staff wishing to return to site prior to their agreed phase return date will require their Line Manager's approval.

Once approval has been granted staff must notify Estates (estates@sgul.ac.uk) and Security (sgul-security@sgul.ac.uk) before they attend site. In the event of an emergency such as a fire alarm activation, staff must evacuate the building and ensure that they inform a Fire Marshal (who can be identified by their Hi-visibility vest) that they have vacated the building and their office location.

Face masks and coverings

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What are the government guidelines on face coverings?

The use of face coverings on all public transport is now compulsory. 

Anyone entering a hospital site (visitor/patient) is required to wear a face covering (for exceptions see NHS guidance).  

You should also wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. 

You do not need to wear a face covering in a Covid secure area

University guidance can be found here

What is the difference between a face covering and a face mask?

A face covering can be made at home from fabric or cloth and should cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably. Gov.uk has produced guidance on how to make your own face covering at home.  

A face mask is a professionally made, fluid resistant mask used in healthcare settings.  

The BBC has a helpful article here

Do I need to walk through the hospital to get to the University?
No you can use a dedicated University entrance and flow route to avoid the Hospital.  The map can be found here. 
Do I need to wear a face covering if I am just walking through the hospital to get to the University?

Yes, you will be considered a visitor to the hospital site.  

There are some exceptions, which include: 

  • Anyone with breathing or developmental difficulties 

  • Anyone who experiences genuine discomfort or distress while wearing a face covering  

  • Anyone unable to remove their covering/mask without assistance.

Are visitors allowed to wear face masks instead of face coverings?
Yes. However, these should not be supplied by the University/Trust unless it is essential. Face masks must be disposed in the offensive waste bins provided at locations throughout the Trust – do not dispose of them in general waste bins.
Can face coverings be reused?
The majority of face coverings can be washed and re-used. This includes those made out of old clothing.  
What is a Covid secure area?

This is an area in which: 

  • A COVID-19 risk assessment has been carried out and shared with the people who work in the area 

  • There is easy access to handwashing/hand sanitising facilities 

  • The area is cleaned regularly 

  • Social distancing can be maintained at all times with staff 2m apart 

If I am working on the Trust site should I bring my own face mask?
You will not need to bring your own face mask as the Trust will be providing them. Staff/students should read the NHS guidance.  Students should follow their course guidelines on procedures.  However, you will need to wear a face covering to enter the hospital and make your way to your place of work. 
How do I dispose of my face mask?
You should dispose of old masks in the offensive waste bins provided at locations throughout the Trust – do not dispose of them in general waste bins. 

Remote working

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Can I work from home?

In line with this Government guidance on 23 March 2020 the University has decided that its education, research and administrative functions will operate online and remotely with immediate effect. The University is strongly supportive of all government guidelines and understands the urgent need for increased social isolation. 

This means that the University site will be closed until further notice to all but essential staff. These include those required for University maintenance and those who are part of our major Covid-19 research effort, involving both clinical and laboratory science. 

Your manager may, if necessary, ask you to undertake alternative duties from home (eg if you cannot access a specific system at home). Guidance for remote working and accessing University systems remotely can be found here.  

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 10 May, there is no immediate change to the University's current working arrangements. The senior leadership team will be considering carefully the further guidance promised and any implications for the University's operations in the short-term.  

Updates will follow when there is further clarity of requirements during this next phase. 

Now that I am working from home, what costs will the University cover?

If you need help regarding an IT purchase for use at home please contact itav@sgul.ac.uk who will be happy to advise on suitable items. IT can process hardware ordered through Dell against your budget code, but other items should be procured through your normal departmental processes as any costs need to borne by your department. It is now possible to edit the delivery address within Agresso. The University does not reimburse for any other costs associated with working from home, for example utility bills, broadband or stationery supplies.

Can I get financial support from the Government for working from home?

You can apply for Government tax relief for some working from home expenses. This can be done directly with the HMRC here.

You can only claim for things to do with your work, for example, business telephone calls or the extra cost of gas and electricity for your work area. 

You cannot claim for things that you use for both private and business use, for example, rent or broadband access. 

How can I work well remotely?

Read our guidance for working from home, including accessing your apps, documents and St George's IT systems.

Follow our checklist for ensuring your workstation is set up correctly at home.

We have created a dedicated area on Canvas for all staff, which is now available to you as we continue to prepare for remote and online delivery of courses at St George’s.

For St George’s staff, you can access this support area here or https://canvas.sgul.ac.uk/courses/36.

For HSCE staff, do not click on this link until you have logged into Canvas and opened up a SGUL awarded module (and your URL states https://canvas.sgul.ac.uk/), then click on the link provided above (this is because you need to authenticate before accessing the link).

If you require support on the use of any of the recommended technologies, please email LTS@sgul.ac.uk

I have teaching scheduled. How do I prepare to deliver this online?

As of Monday 23 March, all teaching and support will be offered remotely online. We will be asking students to check their emails and Canvas for updates from their relevant programme team.    

Assessment processes play a key role in the graduation and progression of our students, which remain priorities. We are working through details of arrangements for assessments and coursework. However, we will not be requiring students to take assessments on site this academic year.  

To ensure that we are well-prepared to deliver teaching and learning activities remotely, we have identified the core hardware/infrastructure needed to deliver teaching and learning remotely. These are: 

  • Internet connection 

  • Web-enabled device (PC/laptop/tablet/phone) 

  • Audio playback (most devices have this built-in) 

  • Webcam (most devices have this built-in) 

  • Microphone (most devices have this built-in) 

  • Headphones or headset (as an alternative to audio playback and microphone).  

Guidance for staff to support plans is available on Canvas here. You can also read our full remote delivery plan (PDF). 

If you feel that you are not equipped with one of these, could you please contact edtech@sgul.ac.uk so that we can liaise with you directly on how we might be able to support you.

Should line managers continue to complete Personal Reviews during this time?

Yes. Line managers should continue to carry out their roles and responsibilities in line manging their staff in their teams and this includes leading, developing and managing staff. Managers are responsible for planning the aims, objectives and priorities of their work area (and communicating this to their team and to colleagues as appropriate). Providing structure and direction and purpose to their teams - and ensuring staff are engaged and also feel valued – is particularly important in the current evolving working environment.

We would expect line managers to have an ongoing dialogue with their staff. Whilst there continues to be a degree of uncertainty it is important to discuss current and future work objectives and review and update these. This includes signing off probation and completing Personal Reviews if these are due. No doubt future objectives will need to be revisited once we return to business as usual, but this does not preclude Personal Reviews being undertaken now.

It is important to keep undertaking regular one-to-ones and team meetings. This maintains a sense of structure and continuity for all. Below is some additional advice and guidance for managers on how to conduct effective remote one-to one meetings:

Which survey tools are staff able to use?

Throughout the academic year staff across the University use surveys to inform their work. In light of this, it is important all staff are up to date with the latest University advice. Below is an update on the tools to help you with this activity.

  • Microsoft Forms - Please use this survey tool, if you need to create a survey or questionnaire as part of your work or study.

  • Survey Monkey - We do not recommend this online tool due to data protection concerns. For staff with a subscription to Survey Monkey it can be used during the academic year 2020/1.

  • JISC Online Surveys - Where Microsoft Forms does not provide the necessary functionality for your needs, it may be possible to use JISC Online Surveys instead. We will be transitioning to Jisc Online Surveys as the preferred tool for 2021/2.

Guidance on survey tools can be found here.

Please make sure you refer to relevant guidance before setting up your survey, in terms of either data protection or research ethics requirements. Data protection guidance is available here and more details for researchers can be found here.

Data protection/information governance

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I have an information governance question, where can I access help?

To assist staff the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) and best practice guides are in place and are regularly updated: 

If you have any questions or concerns around data protection or information governance compliance please contact Claire Morrissey or Geoff Gray via dataprotection@sgul.ac.uk

Please note all staff have a responsibility in how they handle confidential information and to ensure the right controls are in place as the same compliance responsibilities apply whether working remotely or from their desktop on site.  You must comply with the Information Governance Framework policies and procedures which can be accessed here.  

For further guidance on remote working please see here

I have a data protection question, where can I access help?

To assist staff the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) and best practice guides are in place and are regularly updated: 

If you have any questions or concerns around data protection or information governance compliance please contact Claire Morrissey or Geoff Gray via dataprotection@sgul.ac.uk

For further guidance on remote working please see here

What video conferencing tools can I use?

St George's, University of London hosted video conferences and meetings are to be carried out by the use of Microsoft Teams or Teams Live. Due to recognised security concerns we do not allow the use of other video conferencing services for St George's hosted events without the approval of the Senior Information Risk Owner.

Staff or students can take part in externally hosted video conferences / meetings that use other tools, such as Zoom or Zoho, but sensitive data (including personal identifiable data)

from St Georges' is not to be communicated at these events and staff or students are not to initiate meetings using these tools. Further guidance on this can be found here:

How do I report a data breach?
Data breaches should be reported using the data incident reporting form here

Working on-site / Research and clinical staff

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I am a member of research staff. What preparations do I need to consider now should the University be further affected?
Further information can be found here.
I am a clinical academic and may be required to increase my clinical work to support the NHS in dealing with Covid-19. How should I reorganise my work for the University to enable me to do this?

You should discuss the situation with your manager within St George’s, University of London so that you can determine what can be de-prioritised. If you are undertaking more hours for the NHS please let your Finance Manager (Karen Stewart or Matthew George) know so that we can charge appropriately.

I am a clinical academic. What is the University’s position if I need to reallocate my duties to do clinical work?

We support colleagues who want to contribute more to clinical service. However, we need to ensure that our students are also supported in their studies and related assessments, to ensure they graduate on time. 

Where clinical colleagues have a leadership role in either education or research, they should identify an ‘academic buddy’. If clinical work becomes more of a focus, the ‘buddy’ would take over their university responsibilities to ensure business continuity. 

I am a member of research staff involved in clinical research studies at St George's. What action do I need to take?
Read our guidance for restarting clinical research studies.
Can I still come in to do experiments now that the University is closed?

No currently only priority projects on Covid-19 (as agreed with the Deputy Principal (Research and Enterprise)) will be ongoing now that the University is closed.*  

During this time only skeleton staff will be present on site for essential maintenance/support.

For those staff on site, performing essential Covid-19 research, they must follow the guidelines for lone and out of hours working  and sign in with Security on entry to the university and sign out when they leave. 

If you are in the laboratory on your own, you must follow the guidelines for lone and out of hours working and implement the buddy system to ensure someone knows where you are.

It is essential that you read and follow the risk/COSSH assessment guidelines associated with the protocols you are using in the lab and familiarise yourself with the processes/equipment needed to minimise risks.  You should also make sure you clearly understand the waste disposal processes and check that they are available.

You need to ensure that you know what to do in the event of an emergency, fire, chemical and biological spills and how to report incidents and accidents.

Further information can be found on the Health Safety and Environment webpages.

*Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 10 May, there is no immediate change to the University's current working arrangements. The senior leadership team will be considering carefully the further guidance promised and any implications for the University's operations in the short-term.  

Updates will follow when there is further clarity of requirements during this next phase. 

What happens if I feel ill when I come into work?

If you are working on a priority project and start feeling ill on the way into work you must not enter the university or hospital grounds, and if you are showing any signs of COVID-19 infection you should go home immediately and self-isolate for at least 7 days. Please see NHS guidance on self-isolation.

If you fall ill whilst at work with symptoms of COVID-19 infection you should phone security on (X 0909) who will guide you to an isolation room where you will be provided with protective equipment and can make arrangements to be taken home to self-isolate as above.

 

What do I do in the event of an incident or accident on the University site?

All staff should follow the guidance contained in the relevant health and safety policies and procedures which can be found on the Health & Safety webpage.

In the event of fire you must leave the building immediately by the nearest exit.

For other accidents and incidents, you should contact your Line Manager for advice and inform Security Control on 0909 or 0208 725 0909. You can ask Security to contact the SHE Manager or SHE Advisor. 

If you require first aid you should call security on 0909 or 0208 725 0909. Many of the security staff are first aid trained and can provide assistance.  If the injury is severe, you should go to the Emergency Department in St. James Wing of the hospital.

When you leave the site you must notify your Line manager and sign out at the Security Control Centre.

You or your Line Manager must complete the RIDDOX accident / incident report available at this link.

Sickness, absence and self-isolation procedures

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I have symptoms and think I might have Covid-19 / I have been diagnosed with Covid-19. What should I do to let the University know?
If you are feeling unwell with:     
  • a new continuous cough    

  • a high temperature    

  • loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

You must stay at home and self-isolate.  

Anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days.  

If you live with other people, then all household members should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. 

If anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they're at home for longer than 14 days. 

Further information on self-isolating can be found here 

Staff should notify their manager, who can record this as a sickness absence in MyWorkplace.   

‘Covid-19 Unconfirmed’ and ‘Covid-19 Confirmed’ have now been added as an additional sickness category in MyWorkplace and managers should record the absence appropriately.   

Managers should also let HR know.  

Further NHS guidance can be found here.
I live with someone who has symptoms of Covid-19. What should I do?

If someone in your household is displaying symptoms of Covid-19, you must stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person has had symptoms.  

If you are well enough to work, follow the guidance on self-isolation below.  

If you yourself become unwell, follow the guidance below on sickness. 

I am a staff member, what do I do if a student needs to self-isolate or is diagnosed with coronavirus?
Please email Students Services on coronavirusconcern@sgul.ac.uk.  
Why has the advice on self-isolation changed from 14 days to 7 days?

The 14 day period is for those who have had exposure to a confirmed case but have not shown symptoms. The 14 days represents the potential incubation period (the time it takes for symptoms to show if you have been infected).

Most people will no longer be likely to transmit the virus 7 days after the onset of symptoms. You do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms persist past 7 days you should contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.

I am a member of staff and need to self-isolate even though I feel well enough to work. What arrangements should I make?

If you have been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, you should self-isolate and use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.  

You should call your manager and inform them that you are self-isolating and the reason for your self-isolation.  If self-isolating we would normally require that, if you are well enough to do so, you should work from home. You should discuss arrangements for working from home with your line manager, who may, if necessary, ask you to undertake alternative duties from home (eg if you cannot access a specific system at home). As the majority of staff are now working from home, arrangements may already be in place. 

If you self-isolate and your work cannot be undertaken at home you should discuss this with your line manager. In some cases, you may be asked to undertake alternative duties from home or be put on furlough.  

More information on self-isolation is available on the here.  

At the end of a period of self-isolation you should contact the Occupational Health Unit on 020 8725 1633/1622/0460 to confirm that you may return to work. 

As a staff member who is self-isolating, what leave should I take? 

If self-isolation is required and it is possible to work from home this will be considered as a normal working day. 

Do I need a Fit Note (doctor's note) to self-isolate?

No, we will waive the requirement for a Fit Note for more than 7 calendar days in these exceptional circumstances. However, you should refer to the government’s advice on self-isolation and explain to your manager why self-isolation is required. The University may require evidence that you have been instructed to self-isolate for up to 14 days. Evidence of medical advice for self-isolation of more than 14 calendar days would be expected. 

If I self-isolate, will I be paid?

If self-isolation is required and it is possible to work from home this will be considered as a normal working day. If it is not possible to work from home during self-isolation furlough may be more appropriate. You should discuss this with your manager.

I am the line manager of a member of staff who needs to self-isolate or has been diagnosed.  What should I do and how do I record the absence?

If self-isolating, discuss whether the individual is well enough to work from home and what remote working may be possible. If necessary, you may need to ask the individual to undertake alternative duties. You might need to make arrangements for a laptop to be delivered to them, although face-to-face contact with the individual should not be made. As the majority of staff are now working from home arrangements may already be in place.

If an individual is self-isolating because they have symptoms of Covid-19, you should record their sickness absence in MyWorkplace, assuming that they are not well enough to work. Two new sickness absence categories have been created “Covid-19 Confirmed” and “Covid-19 Unconfirmed”. In most cases they will likely need to be recorded as “Covid-19 Unconfirmed”. Should the employee be tested and confirmed to have Covid-19 please use the “Covid-19 Confirmed” absence reason.  

However, if an employee is self-isolating but is well and is working from home, there is no need to record their absence as they continue to work. 

If an individual is away from work because they are unwell and unable to work but do not have symptoms of Covid-19, you should record their sickness on MyWorkplace in the usual way, using one of the existing sickness categories.

 

You should also ask the individual if they require additional assistance, for example to support them with the emotional impact of self-isolation or with practical assistance. You may wish to direct the individual to our Employee Assistance Programme (assist@cic-eap.co.uk), which can provide support and counselling or direct the individual to the Counselling Service (020 8725 3628, counselling@sgul.ac.uk).  

 

My child's school is closed, what do I need to do and know?

We recognise that school closures are bringing additional challenges for staff around child-care. 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 ac-tivities. 

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. In some cases where workloads have reduced furlough may be appropriate.

We will do everything we can to accommodate your situation. Please speak to your line manager.

I was planning to go away on holiday but it has been cancelled at late notice due to travel restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Can I cancel my annual leave and book it at another time?

Your manager would have to approve any leave cancellation and may not feel able to do so, particularly if only a few days’ notice has been given – in general we would expect you to give as many days’ notice of cancellation as the length of the leave (eg 2 weeks’ notice to cancel a 2 week holiday).  

At present we would strongly advise against cancelling leave. Even if we can’t go away we will all still need a break during this time. 

Given the current global uncertainty it is not clear that individuals will be able to rebook holidays by end July and there is, therefore, no guarantee that leave will be able to be taken prior to the end of the leave year if it is cancelled now.

Only the equivalent of one working week (dependent on your working pattern) can be carried forward to the 2020/21 leave year and must be used by end October 2020.

Will there be any changes to the annual leave year in light of the Covid-19 outbreak?

No, the leave year will continue to run until end-July. As with previous years, you are able to carry over the equivalent of one working week (dependent on your working pattern) to the 2020/21 leave year, which must be used by end October 2020.

You are encouraged to continue to take annual leave during this time in order to ensure you get a break from work.

The government has eased restrictions on the carry-over of statutory leave, can I now carry forward more than a week’s annual leave?

For the majority of university staff, it should still be possible to take your leave this leave year and therefore you would not be able to carry forward more than one weeks’ leave (dependent on working pattern) in to the 2020/21 leave year. The University’s policy is that you should continue to take annual leave during this time in order to ensure you get a break from work.

The government’s change is predominantly aimed at key workers who are unable to take their leave due to their work in tackling the Covid-19 epidemic. For the University this is likely to relate mainly to clinical academics who have had to increase their hours working with the NHS, or individuals involved in Covid-19 research. In such cases you should speak to your manager about leave carry over. HR will need to be informed of any agreements you reach.

Am I able to attend conferences?

According to current guidance to avoid non-essential travel and mass gatherings, staff should not be attending conferences. 

Can I accept an elective student to join my group?
No. Electives are voluntary activities and in the current unique circumstances we must assume we may not have staff available to offer students the support they need on a placement at St George’s.
I am a staff member or student affiliated with the Joint Faculty. Which guidance should I follow – St George’s, University of London advice or Kingston University’s?
Staff and students should follow the guidance for whichever site they are usually based at or attended during the day, e.g. if you feel unwell on-site or need to notify other staff of contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19 while on the St George’s site, this guidance should be followed.   

Volunteering

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I’ve been injured while working or volunteering at St George’s or elsewhere. What should I do?

Please see above question “How can I work well remotely” or contact St George’s Safety Health and Environment office to obtain advice on working from home safely. If you have been injured while working at home or on the St George’s, University of London site please follow the guidance contained in the relevant health and safety policies and procedures which can be found on the Health & Safety webpage.

If you are working or volunteering elsewhere, you will need to contact the health and safety team of the place you are working or volunteering at.

Does St George’s, University of London support Staff Volunteering?

St George’s, University of London is encouraging staff to consider registering their interest to respond to the national call for NHS Volunteer Responders. However, this is entirely a decision for the individual. In general volunteering for this scheme should be possible outside normal working hours. However, the University recognises that for this scheme volunteers may need to work flexibly in order to undertake their volunteering activities, for example by taking a longer lunch break. Nevertheless, employees should ensure that they are still able to deliver the requirements of their job.

In line with the Coronavirus Act 2020, staff have the right to request to volunteer for other roles to support the efforts to combat Covid-19. In such circumstances employees must give the University 3 days’ notice and provide a copy of their emergency volunteering certificate. Staff should discuss their volunteering with their line manager. 

An emergency volunteering certificate is a document issued by an appropriate authority confirming the details of the issuing health and social care authority, the details of the named volunteer who has been permitted to volunteer and the duration, which may be for a period of up to two, three or four consecutive weeks, up to a maximum of sixteen weeks, unless the emergency is curtailed by the government who have committed to constantly review the measures in place. The expectation is that staff would volunteer for at least a fortnight in the first instance. This means that St George’s, University of London would expect employees to regularly review their volunteering activities with their line manager and no less than once a fortnight. 

These opportunities are classed by government as unpaid leave at present and staff may use annual or unpaid leave to cover the absence from the University. Anybody who is on furlough may volunteer during their time on furlough.

All Staff have the right to volunteer and to return to their substantive role at the end of the volunteering period. 

The situation will be kept under review in line with the current imperatives and requests from the government and NHS.

Finance and pay

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How are death in service payments affected if I volunteer or work elsewhere?
If you are on the St George’s, University of London payroll and still paying pension contributions, death in service is covered regardless of where you are working/volunteering, including if you are furloughed.
I have a timesheet or an expense claim which needs to go to payroll but am working from home, what do I do?

We understand that in the current situation where the majority of staff are working from home you may not be able to obtain approval signatures for timesheets and expenses in the normal way. Please see below details on how to process these. 

Timesheets: please email these to the approver for them to send to payroll via email with their approval. 

Expenses: The new online expenses system is now live and all staff expenses should be submitted via the new system. The system is a module within the current Agresso/FRIS system and payment will be processed via accounts payable following electronic approval from managers/budget holders and payroll. The claimant and approver quick card guides can be found here (PDF).

You will be required to scan and upload receipts as part of the claim process, if you do not have access to a scanner, you can download “Office Lens” app onto your smartphone, or alternatively you can use other scanning apps that you may already have and comfortable with.

Payroll will still require the original receipt’s but understand the issues at this time, therefore in the meantime please hold onto all receipts and then submit to payroll as per the user guide when normal business resumes and we are back onsite.

People not on our payroll who need to claim expenses via the University will continue to use the paper-based forms. Please either hold onto these until we are back onsite, or alternatively email through to payroll@sgul.ac.uk


What happens to my pay during this period?

Staff will continue to be paid as normal. Working from home is considered to be a normal working day. 

If staff fall ill, usual sick pay entitlements will apply.

Recruitment

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I'm starting a new job at St George's shortly, can I still start and what do I need to do?

St George’s will continue to employ anybody for whom we have made an offer and agreed a start date. However, if you would like to reconsider your start date, we would be happy to discuss this with you. New starters will likely need to commence work virtually and your new line manager will discuss how to do this and plan the most appropriate induction. Unfortu-nately new starters may not enjoy as comprehensive an induction as would have been the case if they had physically joined and met the team from day one but we will do all we can to ensure that your new job with St George’s goes smoothly.

If a start date has not been agreed yet, then we may discuss with you an alternative start date that is mutually convenient.

I have a role in my team I need to fill, can I still recruit and if so how?

Given our current financial constraints, any recruitment will require approval by RRC. 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 ac-count. 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.

Communications and updates

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How is St George’s coordinating its response to Covid-19?

To coordinate the University response to Covid-19 and ensure careful planning and considered decision-making for the future, the St George’s Business Continuity Planning (BCP) framework is operating. This involves a number of response teams meeting regularly to manage the institutional response, enable resumption of operations and minimise risk to St George’s: Gold (strategic), Silver (operational) and specific sub-groups focusing on Education, Recruitment and Admissions, and Technology.  Read more about the response structure here.

The BCP response is operating in addition to the University’s existing governance structures. Reports from the BCP teams are received by the University’s Council and Executive Board.

I’m a member of University staff. Should I send out my own communications about coronavirus, or update my local web pages with information? Where should I direct any enquiries?

All communications should go through the Communications team to ensure communications across the University are consistent and in-line with the latest Government advice and University policy.  

The Communications team will be keeping in touch with you as the position evolves with any urgent messages and regular updates

The FAQs on the website will continue to be updated regularly. Please refer to these in the first instance for answers to any questions you might have.  

We are aware that some staff are dealing with a high volume of enquiries. If any answers are already covered in the FAQs, please use these in your responses.

Please notify the Communications team about any new questions you are receiving so they can update the FAQs, or if there is information you suggest is covered in the new regular bulletins

The team can be reached on 0208 725 5180 / 1139 or on communications@sgul.ac.uk. Out of office hours, the duty press officer can be reached on 07979 913 141 for advice.   

I’ve been called by the media asking about the University’s preparations / outbreak etc. – what should I do?

Any media enquiries should be directed to the Communications team. Within business hours, the team can be reached on 0208 725 5180 / 1139 or on communications@sgul.ac.uk.  

Out of office hours, the duty press officer can be reached on 07979 913 141 for advice.   

What is the University doing to plan and keep people informed during the current coronavirus outbreak?

The Communications team will be keeping in touch with you as the position evolves with any urgent messages and regular updates

Staff, students, visitors and others who are part of the University’s broader community should refer to www.sgul.ac.uk/Covid-19 for the latest advice. 

Events 

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Can lectures, public events, meetings and conferences still take place?

In line with this Government guidance on 23 March 2020 staff should now work from home where possible and everyone should stop non-essential contact with others.  

Guidance on social distancing can be found here.  

This is a difficult time and may be unsettling and distressing. Please continue to look after your mental health as well as your physical health. Please see the link to ‘MIND’ below which offers some useful suggestions: Coronavirus and your wellbeing

What should I do if I have worries related to Covid-19 (Coronavirus)?  

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I’ve experienced bullying or abuse related to Covid-19 (Coronavirus). Who can I talk to?

St George’s does not tolerate any bullying and harassment of staff. If you think you may have been the subject of any bullying or harassment within the University, you should inform your line manager or HR. You can also contact our Employee Assistance Programme (assist@cic-eap.co.uk), which can provide support and counselling or the Counselling Service (020 8725 3628, counselling@sgul.ac.uk). 

If you have been subject to any bullying or harassment outside of the University, you may also contact the police to report a hate crime. 

What support is available if I am feeling anxious about family or friends who may be affected by the virus? 

If employees or students would like to talk confidentially to someone, St George’s, University of London has a counselling service that can be contacted by email or 020 8725 3625. 

Students can seek advice from a Personal Tutor, Student Union Vice-President (Education and Welfare) or Student Union Welfare Advisor. 

The Confidential Care Employee Assistance Programme will be continuing to provide their telephone service during this time. If you would like to use the service, please follow these instructions:

Email assist@cic-eap.co.uk and include the following information:

  • name
  • organisation
  • contact phone number
  • the best time to receive a return a call (preferably with a 2 hour time window)
  • a brief sentence on the reason for calling.

If you are a member, the British Medical Association provides confidential counselling which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0330 123 1245. 

Will the Counselling Service continue to offer appointments?

The Counselling Service staff will be continuing to offer sessions remotely.  The booking chart will not be available and there will be no Open Sessions for the moment. 

For staff who already have a named counsellor

Some counsellors are working remotely from the 16 March and will get in touch if you have a session booked. Please contact your named counsellor if you are unsure or have not heard from them. You will need to download Skype for Business onto your computer/laptop or it is possible to have a phone session. All students and staff are entitled to Skype for Business as part of Office 365.

Please contact the counsellor you have been seeing by their individual email address. The counsellors are:

If you have not been to counselling at the SGUL Counselling Service previously

We still want to hear from you. Please send an email to counselling@sgul.ac.uk and we will be in contact as soon as we can to take a referral from you. Please note we are not a crisis service but will check this email at least once a day. 

This is a difficult time and may be unsettling and distressing. Please continue to look after your mental health as well as your physical health. Please see the link to ‘MIND’ below which offers some useful suggestions: Coronavirus and your wellbeing

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