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COVID-19 FAQ: General

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Topics covered: Post-Covid-19 Response Programme; annual leave; childcare vouchers; support for children/young adults.

Questions

What do I need to consider if I am returning to work on campus after a period working remotely?

Please liaise with your line manager about returning to work on campus.  You should also read the update from MRT about health and safety arrangements on campus for the autumn term.

All colleagues should complete our COVID-19 Health & Safety modules on UoRLearn which are currently being updated and will be made available soon.

Please also consider your IT requirements, as outlined in our previous update on the Staff Portal.

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What is the guidance around holding meetings on campus?

Large and/or formal calendared meetings and meetings that are largely transactional or involve cascading of information should be held virtually.

Small meetings that involve collaboration or co-creation may be better suited to face-to-face environments, subject to ongoing COVID measures and dynamic risk assessment (including checking room capacity and opening windows).

new meetings generic risk assessment template is now available.

Please be sensitive to the concerns of others about meeting in person.

Further guidance on meetings is available on the Staff Portal.

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What is the guidance for events?

There are no longer any restrictions on event types or categories, however event organisers should continue to consider whether face-to-face event delivery is necessary. Where an online offering could be successful and not detrimental to the event aims, this should be pursued in the first instance to prioritise high impact, strategically important events activities taking place on campus.

If events do need to be held face to face, all of the University's health and safety rules, including any applicable COVID regulations, should be followed (including one-way systems, NHS Test & Trace, wearing face coverings in shared indoor spaces etc). Read the Safety for Campus Events guide(PDF).

All on-campus events activity will return to the usual safety management of campus activities, requiring approval for all events via the Event Notification process. (NB - Teaching, research activities, meetings and commercial events (hosted by Venue Reading and Venue Henley) do not require an event notification).

To process Event Notifications, organisers must complete and submit the following forms:

For more information, visit our on-campus events guidance page.

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What's the current vaccination advice for colleagues and students?

In line with advice from the National Health Service and the World Health Organisation, we strongly encourage colleagues and students to get both doses of the vaccine as soon as they can.

If you haven't been contacted yet, please speak to your GP for further advice. We are also encouraging flexibility of working hours to enable colleagues to access vaccination appointments. Please speak with your line manager if you need to take some time out of your working day to attend your vaccination appointment.

International students who live in the UK and are registered with a General Practitioner (GP) can access COVID-19 vaccinations free of charge.

For guidance on taking regular tests after your vaccination, please see the COVID-19 FAQs: rapid non-symptomatic testing page.

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Are vaccinations being offered on campus?

The University is hosting an NHS ‘Health on the Move’ van on campus for first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine on the following dates between 10:00 and 18:00:

  • Monday 20 – Wednesday 22 September
  • Sunday 26 September
  • Monday 4 – Thursday 7 October

The van will be located in the layby in front of the ICMA Centre on Whiteknights campus.

The van will be returning to campus eight weeks later to deliver follow-up doses, details of which will be confirmed later.

Book an appointment through our booking system. A small number of doses will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on the day, for those who haven’t pre-booked.

All students and staff over the age of 18, including international students, can receive their first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on campus.

However, anyone who has received a first dose of a different vaccine (for example, Moderna or AstraZeneca) is asked to book their second dose through the NHS website.

You will be required to wear a face covering for the duration of your appointment and you should also take your University of Reading Campus Card.

Those hoping to receive a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine must have allowed at least eight weeks since their first, and should bring along their Campus Card and the vaccination card they received at their first appointment.

You do not need an NHS number or to be registered with a GP to receive your vaccine.

If you have recently received a positive COVID-19 test result, you should wait four weeks from the date you tested positive before you book an appointment.

The vaccine will be given by trained healthcare professionals inside the NHS ‘Health on the Move’ van, located in the layby in front of the ICMA Centre. Healthcare professionals and wellbeing teams will be on-hand to answer any questions you may have.

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What is the Post-COVID-19 Response Programme?

The COVID-19 crisis has created upheavals in every aspect of the way we live and work. For the higher education sector, the financial impact of the pandemic far exceeds that of existing challenges, like income shortfalls due to inflationary pressures, a demographic dip, and static Home Undergraduate fees.

The Post-COVID-19 Response Programme aims to urgently address the most pressing issues brought on by the pandemic, including financial stability, optimisation of services and operations, and future sustainability.  Please see these FAQS for full details.  

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What is the University's position on annual leave?

The University Executive Board has agreed a change to the current annual leave policy. The amount of leave that colleagues can carry forward to the 2021/22 leave year increases from five days to a maximum of eight days, or the pro-rata equivalent. Please note that the system will not be automatically updated - any holiday carried over will have to be manually added.

The change only applies to the 2021/22 academic year, and will allow colleagues the use the carried forward leave at any time up until 30 September 2022. The revised arrangements for carry forward will also apply to colleagues who have been on furlough leave.

Colleagues who have taken a period of furlough leave will be required to manage their leave arrangements to ensure that they take some of their annual leave during or around the period of furlough leave.

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Should I book leave as normal?

Yes, leave should be booked in the usual way through Employee Self Service and agreed in advance with line managers.

It is important that all of us book and take annual leave to allow ourselves a break.

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Where can I find the COVID-19 induction modules and guidance for working on campus?

While the University has put in place lots of safety measures, we all have a responsibility to help keep our whole community safe. Before working on campus, please complete two short induction modules in UoRLearn so that you understand what you need to do:

  • Generic COVID Induction Module 1 - Health and Workplace Expectations. This covers our expectations of colleagues, when not to return to campus, NHS Test & Trace Service, wellbeing support, controlling workplace transmission, face coverings, and travel to and from work.
  • Generic COVID Induction Module 2 - Buildings and Workspaces. This covers COVID-19 secure measures, common area plans, external areas, cleaning, emergency arrangements, and using workplace facilities.
  • Colleagues involved in face-to-face teaching will also need complete the Generic COVID Induction Module 3. This covers key information and documents, teaching activity, face coverings, responsibilities "before, during, and at the end of a teaching session", student information/expectations, and fire safety.

If you are  returning to work on campus after a period working remotely, you will also be invited to take part in a local induction outlining the safety measures that have been tailored to your individual School or Function. Details will be shared by your Head of School/Function, or your local Health & Safety Co-ordinator.

Key things to read

As well as the induction modules mentioned above, you should also review the following guidance before you return:

If you have any queries, please speak to your line manager in the first instance.

What guidance and resources do you have for those working remotely? 

Please visit our guidance and resources for working remotely page for more information.

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