The UK Government has announced new measures to restrict the spread of the newly identified Omicron variant of the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19.
The new measures, which come into force today, 30 November, include:
- New guidance on wearing face coverings in universities
- Compulsory face coverings in shops and on public transport
- A requirement for contacts (those that have been close to) suspected Omicron cases to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status
- Mandatory PCR testing for those traveling to the UK within 48 hours of arrival
It is important that you keep up to date with the latest national coronavirus guidance on the UK Government webpages.
Safety on campus
The Government’s latest announcements included a tightening of national guidance on the use of face coverings in universities, affecting all students, staff and adult visitors (except those who are medically exempt).
The new guidance does not change the expectations of members of our University community, as we already require face coverings to be worn in University buildings and to maintain a 1m social distance from others in all spaces. These measures have proved effective in preventing outbreaks and allowing teaching and other activities to continue with minimal disruption. All current measures will remain in place, as planned, until the end of the semester.
The latest developments in the UK and internationally highlight the responsibility we all have to remain vigilant and uphold public health measures to reduce the spread of infection. We will continue to keep our approach to teaching and safety under regular review in light of the most recent guidance and communicate with you should any of our policies on campus change.
We are maintaining the use of face coverings and all students will continue to be required to wear a face covering within buildings on campus, including in teaching sessions, face-to-face research activities, in offices, corridors, in our libraries and other communal areas.
If you cannot wear a face covering for medical reasons, we encourage you to wear a sunflower lanyard so that others are aware you are exempt from wearing one. Lanyards are available from Student Services in the Alsop building or can be purchased from Hidden Disabilities.
If you are not wearing a face covering or a lanyard, a member of staff may ask you to do so in the interests of protecting you, your fellow students and staff. Unless you are medically exempt, please respect this directive and remember that all of our staff and students have the right to work in a positive environment, and we will not tolerate aggressive, threatening or abusive behaviour towards any member of our University community.
Everybody aged 12 and over in the UK is now eligible to receive their Covid-19 vaccination. If you have not yet received your vaccination please book directly on the NHS website.
A series of changes to the UK vaccination programme have been announced by the UK Government amid concerns about the new Covid variant:
- 18 – 39 year olds will now be offered booster jabs
- Boosters will be prioritised according to age and for at risk groups
- The minimum gap between receiving a second Covid vaccine dose and booster will be halved to three months
- Children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a second dose, three months after the first
- Severely immunosuppressed people will be offered a fourth dose of the vaccine, as a booster
If this applies to you, you will be contacted by the NHS when you are eligible to receive your next dose.
International students studying in the UK are eligible for the vaccine while in the country. Please remember that you need to be registered with a GP before you can book a vaccination, or any medical treatment.
Remember that if you are regularly on campus you are required to take twice-weekly quick-results lateral flow tests (approximately every three days).
This can be done using the University’s on-campus Lateral Flow testing service, collecting home test kits, or using one of the SMART testing facilities in the city. All of these testing options are free.
Testing kits are also being delivered to all students living in University accommodation in the coming days. When available they will be supplied directly to individual flat communal areas and extra kits will be available at Halls reception desks if needed.
Isolate if you need to
If you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, it is vitally important that you obtain a test and isolate until the result is known. Tests for people with symptoms of COVID-19 can be booked here.
If you are in a teaching session on campus when you begin to feel unwell, please leave the teaching session immediately to self-isolate.
If you need assistance whilst you are isolating the University will be able to support you. Please visit our campus safety pages for further information.
Further information about testing, and what to do when you have received your test results is available on our Campus Safety Webpages.
Thank you for continuing to play your part in #TeamLivUni to help keep our campus and community as safe as possible.