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Updated DfE guidance about access to school places for children of HE staff

School boy in library

Further to the information provided last week regarding the national lockdown, and the resulting impact on universities, the Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance specifically addressing the return of students to higher education this term.

Similar to the national lockdown in March 2020, staff and students who are not required to be on campus must stay at home.

Colleagues with school-age children

The DfE has also made clear that parents and carers need to keep their school-age children at home if they can. However, colleagues who are required to deliver, or support the delivery of higher education teaching or research and the provision of appropriate University facilities (including catering, cleaning, laboratories and libraries), are considered ‘critical workers', and may therefore be able to access schools for their child. We understand that further eligibility criteria may be applied by individual schools, including the employment status of both parents. 

You should also consider carefully whether it is appropriate in the context of your role and your particular circumstances. We would encourage colleagues to read the full government guidance and speak to schools directly. If you are asked to provide written confirmation of your employment status at the University, please contact your HR Partner or Adviser in the first instance. 

We fully understand that home-schooling can be challenging and, as with previous lockdowns, we will continue to be as flexible as possible. If you need to provide support for children with their at-home learning because you are not considered a critical worker in the context of a school place, or your child cannot be accommodated by their school, please talk to your line manager about your working arrangements.  

Support for staff

We are reminding colleagues who do need to work on campus to make sure they have completed the two COVID-19 Health & Safety modules on UoR Learn, as well as having  the appropriate permissions and risk assessment completed.

We are also advising colleagues returning to campus to book a Lateral Flow Test to provide reassurance that they do not currently have the virus, although this is not mandatory.

If you have any questions regarding your specific circumstances, please speak with your line manager. For more general queries regarding the University's COVID-19 response, visit our Staff FAQs page which is being continually updated.

Our COVID-19 Support Hotline can be contacted on 0118 214 7813 between 9:15 and 16:30 on weekdays.

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