eNews extra: coronavirus (#24) sent 25 September

Coronavirus (covid-19)

The Government is today (25 September) expected to announce further restrictions for residents in Leeds following an increase in rates of transmission of covid-19 in the city. Please see the Leeds City Council website to ensure you understand the restrictions and advice that is likely to be in place from midnight tonight.

We want to reassure you that this does not change life on campus. Students and staff can and should continue to attend campus for face-to-face teaching activity, use the library and study spaces and to carry out work if you are required to be on site. Students can still socialise with people they live with, either in private accommodation or a hall of residence, and participate in the social activities provided on campus, so long as they remain in their household.

For the start of term, this week’s Extra is a little different. We’ve drawn together some of the most commonly queried topics, with a particular focus on teaching and being on campus.

  • Arrangements in the new academic year – a message from the VC
  • A safe campus
  • Covid-19 guidance – symptoms, positive testing and self-isolation
  • Teaching and learning methods
  • Student support and experience
  • Your comments and questions

Arrangements for the new academic year – a message from the VC

In an email to all colleagues earlier today (25 September), the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, outlined arrangements for the new academic year, including our thinking on delivering face-to-face teaching. You can also read the message sent to students on the coronavirus website.

A safe campus

Members of our University community respect and care for each other and the wider community. We’ve shared the ways we’ll be working together to stay safe

You can also watch the video – A Safe Environment at Leeds – about how we’re making campus covid-secure.

We must all remember: hands (wash them frequently for 20 seconds), face (cover up, where required), space (keep 2m apart) and ventilation (see below).

Face coverings on campus

Face coverings must be worn in certain places on campus. Exemptions apply.

Please refer to up-to-date guidance on the use of face coverings and face shields

Free-of-charge face coverings (and shields, where appropriate) are available from a range of campus locations – you’ll need to show a staff/student card and share some basic details. Locations are listed on the guidance page above.

Ventilation on campus

All teaching space where there is either no mechanical ventilation or no windows have been taken off the timetable and are out of use.

More generally, changes have been made to improve ventilation. This means that room temperatures may be lower than normally experienced and draughts may be more noticeable, due to adjustments to the air conditioning units.

Wellbeing, Safety & Health gives the following advice:

  • Don’t cover up ventilation supply and extract grilles.
  • Do open windows to improve ventilation.
  • Where rooms require windows to be open, there will be signage advising of this.

We are reviewing spaces where we rely on windows for ventilation to look at alternatives for when it becomes colder.

Cleaning regimes

Cleaning equipment is being provided in all teaching and study spaces for staff and students to use before and after they have accessed them.

There’s a new agreement for increased cleaning:

  • Main entrances, internal access routes, large circulation spaces, lift cars and lobbies are increasing from weekly to daily cleans, with the biggest focus on obvious touch points – e.g. door handles and plates, handrails, intercoms, reception area fixtures and fittings.
  • Toilet/washroom facilities are being cleaned twice a day (up from once a day).
  • Welfare and rest areas, such as shared kitchens, are being cleaned daily (up from weekly).
  • Floors and accessible surfaces in offices, meeting rooms and teaching spaces are being cleaned weekly (up from fortnightly), with a continued supply of cleaning materials for local use by staff.
  • Refuse and recycling will continue to be removed on a daily basis.

Between cleaning visits, staff will be expected to clean their own workstations, and materials are provided to do this.

Safety measures for teaching

In line with the message from the VC issued earlier today (see above), new guidance has been issued to assist teaching colleagues to understand the safety measures that have been implemented for the protection of both staff and students when they need to deliver face-to-face teaching.

Teaching areas in use this semester have been rearranged significantly to provide a covid-secure environment. There’s a greatly reduced student capacity, as well as arrangements to keep students distanced from each other and to provide academics with a safe area for teaching.

This information supplements existing advice on the coronavirus website, and covers what to do:

  • when you’re setting up for teaching
  • when students are entering and leaving the room
  • to ensure social distancing during the session
  • before you leave the room
  • to ensure advice on face coverings is followed
  • in the event of a medical emergency or fire alarm.

You can download the key points in a handy poster format, which will also be located in all central teaching spaces.

What to do if something doesn’t seem right

If you have a query, concern or suggestion related to covid-19 control on campus (e.g. activities where queues form, or issues about buildings or cleaning etc.), contact the Estates Helpdesk via eshelp@leeds.ac.uk or on 0113 343 5555. Email safety@leeds.ac.uk for issues related to safety on campus.

Covid-19 guidance – symptoms, positive testing and self-isolation

New guidance has been issued to highlight how we will support colleagues who develop symptoms of covid-19, test positive and/or are required to follow Government guidance to self-isolate.

While the University has ensured all of its environments and activities comply with the Government’s covid-secure workplaces, we are acutely aware many of our colleagues will be impacted by coronavirus in some way. This may be as a result of developing symptoms, a family member/close contact developing symptoms, being required to self-isolate or receiving a positive test. We recognise that all of these circumstances may create concern and worry, so this latest information is intended to provide clarity on what can be expected from the University.

Read the full guidance on the steps you must take, details about the University’s covid-19 reporting line and answers to questions you may have on how the University is supporting test and trace.

Download the NHS covid-19 app

The free NHS covid-19 app launched this week to help people identify if they’ve been in close contact with someone who subsequently tests positive for covid-19. Members of the University community are encouraged to download and use the app. Posters with QR check-in codes to scan with the app are being put up at key points across campus.

Teaching and learning methods

A guide to hybrid teaching and learning: tools, resources and support (now including Microsoft Class Teams and Zoom)

 As the start of teaching approaches, we want to ensure that colleagues and students have everything they need to make a successful transition to hybrid teaching and learning. You can now access guidance on Student Education Delivery principles, virtual classrooms and available support

As a recent update to the guidance above, Microsoft (MS) Class Teams and Zoom are now available to use, when appropriate, as virtual classroom tools. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra should always be your first choice, but MS Class Teams and Zoom offer practical alternatives when Collaborate cannot be used. Find out when and how you can use MS Class Teams and Zoom

Support and further information about online teaching and learning

The Digital Practice website has development opportunities and resources for online teaching, working and study, plus access to the Digital Education Service Helpdesk, which operates 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.

Student support and experience

Student resource: Getting Started at Leeds

With students starting to arrive in Leeds, it’s important they understand the safety provisions being put in place, and what the campus and learning experience will look like this year. We’ve shared the Getting Started at Leeds resource with 12,600 new students and summarised arrangements in the Preparing to welcome students to Leeds update on For Staff.

Your comments and questions

We are using Microsoft Forms to capture and consider feedback on the re-opening process. Please use this form, rather than email, to share any comments and questions you have relating to re-opening. While we cannot respond to individual questions using this mechanism, your feedback is helping to shape the process and communications.

Working Together – Autumn Term 2020

Bookings are now full for all three sessions arranged for colleagues to hear about the steps we are taking to welcome back students and deliver a high quality education in the coming academic year.

You can register via Eventbrite to join the waitlist for any of the sessions (see the links below), in case of cancellations, and a recording of the presentation will be made available on the For Staff website:

Kind regards,

Internal Communications

Visit the coronavirus website