New national restrictions and impact on the University

Email issued: Wednesday 4 November 2020
From: Internal Communications
Subject: New national restrictions and impact on the University

Dear colleagues,

As you will be aware, the Government has announced further restrictions throughout England from Thursday until at least 2 December in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Government has been clear that universities and other education settings will remain open during this period, therefore our intention is to proceed as set out below. We are still reviewing and interpreting additional Government guidance received late yesterday and will provide further clarification as soon as possible.

Campus will remain open and will continue to operate in a covid-secure way, with the safety of staff and students remaining our top priority: read our guidance, keeping safe on campus. In general, current arrangements for delivering research, teaching and learning, and the student experience will continue. Bright Beginnings nursery will also remain open.

Research

In general, on-campus research activity will continue as now – where it cannot reasonably be conducted from home. Some research (for example, research involving human participants outside of NHS medical or clinical trials or approved covid-19 research) will require additional risk assessments which we will manage on a case-by-case basis in consultation with Executive Deans. 

Student education

We are encouraging students to follow government guidelines and remain in their current accommodation until the end of term (11 December). By remaining in Leeds, students will be able to get the maximum benefit from teaching and learning activities and co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that are provided face-to-face, as well as benefit from the support and camaraderie of those in their immediate households.

Teaching will continue as outlined in the email sent to colleagues on 25 September: where it is safe, practicable, and pedagogically advantageous or necessary, teaching should be delivered face-to-face, but where these criteria cannot be met it is recommended that teaching is moved online. This approach is consistent with a direct request made to universities by the Government.

If for any reason students are unable to be on campus we will deliver teaching activities remotely.

We are in the process of planning arrangements for next semester (for returning and new students). We will share these plans as soon as possible.

Campus facilities and services

There are no planned changes to library services; study spaces and clusters for postgraduate researchers will remain open and we will continue to encourage students to use these spaces for their education. There will also continue to be student information points on campus

Cafes on campus will remain open for take away services and the Refectory will continue to provide a seated service – for students in catered halls only – and a study space for all students.

All sports and physical activity will close until 2 December, with the exception of those provided for elite or academic purposes.

Face coverings 

For the period of the national restrictions, government guidance advises that face coverings should be worn in all ‘higher education learning environments’ (study spaces, libraries and teaching environments), provided the use of face coverings does not have an impact on teaching and learning. This means face coverings should be worn for the duration of the time spent in these areas, including when seated. The need for hand sanitisation and two metre social distancing will continue to be required in these areas. All guidance and signage will be updated as soon as possible.

Student support

Student support and wellbeing services will continue to operate as they are currently, including counselling services. Details of how students can access these are on the support and wellbeing pages of our coronavirus website

LUU’s help and support services will also continue and financial advice and hardship funds are available for students who need support.

Working arrangements    

Our general principle remains that staff who can work effectively from home (in the UK unless otherwise agreed) will continue to do so, coming onto campus only where that is necessary to deliver or support research, student education or the student experience, or because of another agreed reason to work on campus. We previously said this arrangement would continue until at least the Christmas break, but it is now clear it will last well into 2021.

We do understand how challenging working from home might be for some and we are continuously reviewing the wellbeing, health and support services we are providing to colleagues who continue to work from home.

If you are working on campus on an ongoing basis or a one-off visit, it is important that you follow the safety measures in place and agreed working on campus processes

Travel

As a general rule the University is not permitting any travel, international or domestic, for staff or students on University business.

Where travel is required to deliver essential University activity, such as research or fieldwork, then the normal routes of approval must be followed. For more information, see the travel advice section on the coronavirus website

If you commute to campus or need to travel for any other reason, please follow government guidance on safe travel

Conclusion

We will also be sharing a version of this email with students very shortly. A copy will be available on the coronavirus website

I am very aware that these are difficult and unprecedented times, and further restrictions bring with them challenges for us all. I am grateful for the deep commitment and resilience being shown by our University of Leeds community. Thank you all for everything you are doing.

With all good wishes to your friends and families.

Roger Gair

University Secretary

 


See also

Read copies of email communications issued to staff (from 11 March 2020) which have included coronavirus advice or updates.