Update ahead of changes to national COVID-19 measures

Last week the UK Government announced the easing of Plan B restrictions in England, with mandatory face coverings no longer required in indoor public spaces and compulsory COVID passports no longer required by law from this Thursday (27 January).

While the latest national update and the notion of moving towards a greater sense of normality is extremely encouraging, when considering how to implement any changes to campus the safety of our University community remains our ongoing priority.

This is particularly important as we approach the start of Semester Two next week (starting 31 January), which will see significantly more in-person teaching and more staff and students on campus. Our aim is to provide you with the best possible student experience, and we hope that you will benefit from the latest changes both in your studies and during your leisure time.

Equally, we understand that some of you may be nervous about being in crowded areas, especially if you are vulnerable, and this has been taken into consideration when reviewing our approach to safety. If you have any concerns please contact your School in the first instance. You can also contact our Student Services team, or take a look at our wellbeing resources.

With all of these issues in mind, the University has taken the decision, for now, to maintain tighter safety measures on campus than those in public spaces, as we continue to take a cautious approach with the aim of both minimising transmission among our University community and minimising disruption to teaching and research. The following measures will apply on campus from Monday, 31 January (until then current policies remain in place):

  • Face coverings will still be strongly encouraged in all indoor spaces on campus, including teaching areas, unless you are exempt. If you cannot wear a face covering, please wear a sunflower lanyard so that others are aware you are exempt from wearing one. Lanyards are available for free from Student Services in the Alsop building or can be purchased from Hidden Disabilities.
  • Social distancing requirements across campus are to be removed in all indoor spaces, except in limited circumstances if local risk assessments indicate they remain suitable.
  • All students and staff regularly visiting campus are expected to continue testing twice-weekly using Lateral Flow tests and follow our reporting processes to record their result. In the event of a positive test you should self-isolate and follow the latest NHS guidance. Testing will continue to be available on campus for those with symptoms via our PCR test centre on Peach Street car park. Lateral Flow home test-kits are available to collect at the Chapel, Foresight Centre, Guild and Sydney Jones Library.
  • There will be no limitations on visitors accessing campus, however, all visitors should follow our safety measures and are expected to test negative before coming onto campus.
  • We encourage you to continue to support all of the latest public health measures to help control COVID-19, including getting your vaccine and booster, when eligible, and continuing to follow basic personal hygiene measures e.g. regular handwashing, sanitising etc.

All of these measures will be kept under regular review on a fortnightly basis, or as required in the event of any significant local or national changes.

Please remember that while we have worked hard to make sure our campus continues to be COVID-secure, each and every one of us has a responsibility to keep each other safe whilst we are on campus by following our latest campus safety measures. As the country comes out of restrictions, our friends, classmates and lecturers will approach this in different ways and adjust at different speeds, and for some time there will be individuals who are more anxious than others. Whilst taking care of yourself, please also respect their concerns and play your part in making our campus a respectful and caring community. Agreeing to small things, like wearing a face covering if asked, can make a huge difference to the safety and wellbeing of others.