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COVID-19 (coronavirus): information and guidance

Page last updated: 31 March 2020, 18:35

This is a rapidly evolving situation where information is being gathered and assessed daily by Public Health England. Based on the current available evidence, the risk to the UK is considered to be high.

The Prime Minister has announced that apart from workers in essential businesses everyone in Britain should stay at home. This will save lives.

There is an ongoing a campaign to recruit NHS volunteers to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see further details including how to volunteer at Your NHS Needs You.

As a University, the wellbeing of our staff and students is always of utmost importance, and never more so than in situations like this.

All colleagues who do not have an essential reason to be on campuses (approved by your Dean or Executive Director) must now work from home. The category of ‘essential’ can only be designated directly by a Dean or a Professional Services Director.  Named permits will be provided to those designated staff in case they are asked to provide formal evidence that they are considered essential.

All University systems can be accessed remotely.

The Chief Operating Officer (Interim) is leading the University’s business continuity approach, supported by a team of senior managers.

You can find relevant information on the following topics in our FAQs:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please note: new questions and answers will continue to be added to this list, as required.

Services

All students who do not have an essential reason to be on campuses should now stay at home. This will reduce the chances of contagion and allow staff with essential roles to work in a safer environment.

The University will never completely close, but it can safely scale back its operations and is doing so to ensure the wellbeing of its community. 

All non-essential University buildings are now closed. A detailed list of open and closed buildings can be found in the University Building Status tab below.

Following is an update on the status of key services. 

Accommodation: Our halls of residence remain open.

Advice Centre: The SUSU Advice Centre will continue to operate remotely and students can phone or email as usual for support. Contact details can be found here.

Arts Venues: In line with advice from Public Health England, John Hansard Gallery, Turner Sims and Nuffield Southampton Theatre will be closed until further notice. As a result, upcoming events will be postponed or cancelled.  For further details please visit their respective websites or social media.

Careers: The Careers Centre in B37 is closed and students can contact the service remotely on careers@soton.ac.uk where advice will be provided. We have put together advice and guidance relating to all Work Experience Programmes on our webpages.

If you want to further develop your CV or find resources to help you develop your career options, please visit the Careers web pages.

Early Years Centre: in accordance with the Government directive, the Early Years Centre is now closed.

Enabling Services: the team are still available online and you can also contact them by e-mail on enable@soton.ac.uk.

Faith & Reflection Centre: no matter what your faith you can contact the team. Contact details can be found here.

Suspension of Prayers: following advice and guidance from the Muslim Council we are regrettably suspending all congregational gatherings for the foreseeable future to protect the health and safety of everyone. We understand that this will be distressing at this difficult time and we would encourage everyone to support one another through their online support networks.

HR: Ask HR will continue to operate remotely and staff can phone, email or raise a ticket as usual for support. Contact details and opening times can be found on the Ask HR page.

The Recruitment team will continue to provide administrative support remotely for University staff recruitment. Individual team members can be contacted via their University extension number (although if they are unavailable this will not be answered by another team member during remote working) or via a Teams call.

HR Transactions will continue to operate remotely. Tickets to request changes can be raised as usual via the ServiceNow Portal.

The Employee Relations department will continue to work remotely and can be contacted through email or ‘Microsoft Teams’. Please continue to raise any new queries through Ask HR.

Institute for Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR): Staff and clients of the ISVR can find the latest information on the service’s dedicated webpage.

The iSolutions Stores are closed to visitors. Orders for small items can be shipped direct to staff addresses, larger items such as new laptops will be distributed in bulk to a drop off point (to be confirmed) for collection.

Libraries:

All of our library buildings are closed until further notice - this includes the Hartley Library, the National Oceanography Centre Southampton Library, the Health Services Library, the Avenue Library and Learning Commons, and the Winchester School of Art Library.

  • Students will not be able to access study space in Building 100 (the Centenary Building) - this is closed.
  • Any borrowed items from libraries will automatically be renewed until further notice.

To access our library resources digitally, please visit our website where you will be able to: 

  • Use our extensive e-resources, including ebooks and ejournals.
  • Use our online study support resources.
  • Get help and support online via Library Enquiries or talk to us online via Library Chat. 

The Print Centre: The Print Centre is closed until further notice.

Service Line: ServiceLine will continue to be available to support staff and students by phone, email and self-service tickets, with new operating hours of 09:00 to 17:00, Monday - Friday.

Physical IT Helpdesk locations are now closed until further notice.

If you need out-of-hours assistance, please visit the Self-Service Portal to raise a ticket or search our knowledge base for answers to common issues or frequently asked questions. 

Student Life: Members of the Student Life team are no longer present in halls. The service will continue to be available to all students to contact 24/7 by emailing studentlife@soton.ac.uk. If the enquiry is urgent, students will receive a call back from a member of the team.

Sport and Wellbeing

Join the new SUSU Facebook group. This is being used to share wellbeing tips, offer support and share some ‘How to’ and activity videos in conjunction with clubs and societies.

Our sport and gym facilities are closed until further notice – this includes the Jubilee Sports Centre, Mayflower Gym, facilities at Glen Eyre, Connaught and the Team Southampton Gyms and Wide Lane facility.

All fitness classes held on-site are cancelled until further notice, however, a Virtual Fitness & Wellbeing site has been set up. Find out more at DoesYouGood and sign up for a class via Facebook Live.

Student Offices: All Student Offices are closed until further notice. Staff who support students in faculties will continue to be available remotely. Students should e-mail their enquiries to ssc@soton.ac.uk.

Student Services Centre (SSC): The front desk is closed, and the SSC is operating as an email-only service until further notice. Enquiries should be emailed to: ssc@soton.ac.uk

Students’ Union: All Students’ Union facilities in B40 and B42, as well as the SUSU Shop, are closed until further notice.

The Advice Centre and SUSU Reception are operating a remote service.

You can access SUSU's FAQs page here.

Advice has been issued to clubs & societies about their planned activities, and additional FAQs have been made available here. SUSU has also made the decision to cancel all upcoming large-scale events taking place in the summer term. Please see further details here.

Unilink buses: If you are an essential worker or need to make an essential journey please be aware of the reduced UniLink Bus service.

University Cafés: All University cafés and restaurants are closed until further notice. 

VISAs: The VISAs team will continue to advise students remotely. Students should send enquiries by e-mail to visa@soton.ac.uk. Scheduled drop in sessions have been moved online. The team can no longer complete 'right to study' checks for new students. It is important that any non-EEA nationals joining the University do not travel to the UK – please ask them to contact the VISAS team directly for guidance. For more information, please visit the website

Health

[Q] How does this virus spread?

The new strain of coronavirus is a respiratory virus that spreads primarily through contact with an infected person through respiratory droplets generated when a person, for example, coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. The new strain of the virus is referred to as COVID-19.

It is important that everyone practice good respiratory hygiene. For example, sneeze or cough into a flexed elbow, or use a tissue and discard it immediately into a closed bin.  

It is also very important for people to wash their hands regularly, preferably with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub if washing facilities are not readily available. This kills the virus if it is on your hands.

[Q] Can COVID-19 (coronavirus) be caught from a person who presents no symptoms?

According to recent reports, it may possible that people infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus) could be infectious before showing symptoms. However, based on currently available data, the people who have symptoms are causing the majority of virus spread.

[Q] How long does the virus survive on surfaces?

It is still not known how long this strain of coronavirus survives on surfaces, although preliminary information suggests the virus may survive a few hours (similar to normal influenza). Simple disinfectants can kill the virus making it no longer possible to infect people.

[Q] Is it safe to handle books, newspapers, magazines and letters that others may have touched?

There are no recorded instances of coronavirus being spread through these media. It would be good practice to wash your hands after handling shared materials, in line with the normal advice on preventative measures.

[Q] How are students being looked after?

The University is working with Public Health England to ensure we have the latest advice. A task force has been established that is focusing on the student experience and colleagues in Student Life are leading on local support of students who may be affected. 

Student Life - is available to all students to contact 24/7 via studentlife@soton.ac.uk. If the enquiry is urgent students will receive a call back from a member of the team.

The Student Life team are planning lots of online events such as cooking classes, quizzes and book clubs. Sign-up now for on-going updates via their Facebook Live.

Students can keep in touch with family and friends over the phone and on social media. There are also external sources of support and information that can help, such as Every Mind Matters.

[Q] How are staff being looked after?

Following the Government’s introduction of stringent new measures to limit social contact, the University has instructed that all colleagues who do not have an essential reason to be on campuses (approved by your Dean or Executive Director) must now work from home. The category of 'essential' can only be designated directly by a Dean or a Professional Services Director. Named permits will be provided to those designated staff in case they are asked to provide formal evidence that they are considered essential.

This new working situation will limit the spread of the virus, protecting essential workers on campus and those working remotely, as well as the wider population. 

If staff have any concerns about their health or wellbeing they should contact the University’s confidential, dedicated staff helpline on Tel. +44 (0)23 8059 9000 (open Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 17:00 until further notice) / or NHS 111.

Mind has provided some useful information to help you cope if you are worried about coronavirus and how it could affect your life.

To report all absence types (except annual leave), staff should inform their line manager and the University. As of 16 March 2020, staff can inform the University either by calling the dedicated Absence Reporting hotline on Tel. +44 (0)23 8059 7111 (open Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 17:00) or, alternatively, staff can report their absence online via our Absence Reporting Form. In either instance, you will need to provide your staff ID number, which can be found on your University ID card.

PLEASE NOTE: It is not necessary to report 'Working from Home' to the absence reporting hotline even when the reason for doing so is related to COVID-19.  It is only necessary when you are working from home as a result of the need to self-isolate because of COVID-19.  If you are unsure, please check with Ask HR prior to reporting.

For further clarity on reporting absences, please refer to HR’s Absence Summary document.

[Q] I work as a doctor, nurse, midwife or Health Care Professional (HCP) for both the University and the NHS or primary care, both organisations are providing advice on COVID-19, which advice should I follow?

Academic clinical staff/research nurses/midwives/HCPs who have joint contracts with the NHS (primary care, secondary care, PHE) should refer to the NHS guidance in relation to work activities, control and containment measures from their host organisation.

[Q] What health and safety guidance is in place for home-working?

A one stop shop for all things Health & Safety is available here, this includes guidance on setting up workstations at home, support for vulnerable adults and the risk assessment template. 

Volunteering opportunities for staff

The overarching principle is that the University should do everything it can to support the national and regional response to the COVID-19 crisis. Some staff may already be helping, or expressing an interest in being involved. Three broad strands of volunteering opportunities are emerging:

  • University: We may need volunteers to help supplement front-line Estates and Facilities and Student Services staff if there are significant absences through self-isolation and illness.
  • NHS: University staff who are also NHS clinicians who want to dedicate more time to their NHS role and also colleagues who wish to respond to the national appeal for NHS volunteer responders.
  • Community: The Government is actively encouraging community volunteer support for vulnerable people required to stay in their homes, and a myriad of local and community groups are springing up. This is a particular area of interest for many university staff.

We have developed three Volunteering principles to help you discuss this with your line manager. These and further information can be found here.

The Health Secretary also launched a campaign to recruit NHS volunteers to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see further details including how to volunteer at Your NHS Needs You.

[Q] I’d like to volunteer for NHS Volunteer Responders or a local charity/volunteer group. Can I do this?

The University supports and encourages employees actively to volunteer for community or NHS based roles during the Covid-19 outbreak, as part of their own free time. Please be mindful of your own health and safety.

[Q] Can I volunteer in work time?

The University supports any employee who wishes to volunteer for community or NHS based roles as part of their paid working day, providing they agree this first with their line manager.

Staff who have been identified as essential workers are needed to support the University so unfortunately are unable to volunteer in work hours.

[Q] I have clinical expertise, can I offer my services to the NHS?

The University supports and encourages those such as clinical academics who already work closely with the NHS to continue to do so and expand their involvement where considered necessary.

Please inform your line manager and agree how to proceed.

[Q] Can I offer my technical services to the NHS as a non-clinician?

Please inform your line manager and agree how to proceed.

[Q] Can I volunteer as an academic with expert knowledge?

Please inform your line manager and agree how to proceed.

Preventing infection

[Q] How to reduce your risk of COVID-19 (coronavirus) infection

  • Frequently clean your hands with soap and water or by using hand sanitiser if washing facilities are unavailable;
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and a cough;
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
  • Please ensure that you are registered with a local NHS general practitioner (GP).

Self-isolation

[Q] What does self-isolation mean?

You should stay in your home and not go outside or travel. If you are sharing a home with others you should avoid close contact and make sure that you follow the advice to wash hands thoroughly and frequently.

Public Health England has issued the following guidance. PHE has also published a number of leaflets and posters in both English and Mandarin to summarise this guidance.

[Q] I think I have mild symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus) – what should I do?

Public Health England (PHE) advice states:

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (This ending isolation section has more information)
  • if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. See the explanatory diagram.

[Q] I have returned from overseas and NHS 111 has advised that I self-isolate. How long should this be for?

The NHS has advised that this should be for 14 days from date of arrival. They will advise further when you speak to them.

[Q] I am a member of staff and I have been advised to self-isolate. Who do I need to inform?

If you are self-isolating, you need to report your absence to your line manager, and the University either by calling the dedicated Absence Reporting hotline on Tel. +44 (0)23 8059 7111. Alternatively, you can report your absence online via our Absence Reporting Form. In either instance, you will need to provide your staff ID number, which you can find on your University ID card.

Please note that you should inform the University of any absence (except annual leave) by following the instructions provided above. This process is not just for COVID-19 related illness.

It is not necessary to report 'Working from Home' to the absence reporting hotline even when the reason for doing so is related to COVID-19.  It is only necessary when you are working from home as a result of the need to self-isolate because of COVID-19.  If you are unsure, please check with Ask HR prior to reporting. 

For further clarity on reporting absences, please refer to HR’s Absence Summary document.

[Q] If I self-isolate, how do I get food and other provisions?

If you are a student, please contact the Student Life team and they will discuss what you need and can arrange for provisions to be delivered to your door.

[Q] I have self-isolated and have developed flu-like symptoms. What should I do?

If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your condition doesn’t improve after 7 days use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you have no internet access call NHS 111 (dial 111). For a medical emergency dial 999.

If you are a student and able to, please contact Student Life to provide an update. We just want to make sure you’re being looked after.

If you are self-isolating, you need to report your absence to your line manager, and the University either by calling the dedicated Absence Reporting hotline on Tel. +44 (0)23 8059 7111. Alternatively, you can report your absence online via our Absence Reporting Form. In either instance, you will need to provide your staff ID number, which you can find on your University ID card.

Please note that you should inform the University of any absence (except annual leave) by following the instructions provided above. This process is not just for COVID-19 related illness.

It is not necessary to report 'Working from Home' to the absence reporting hotline even when the reason for doing so is related to COVID-19. 

For further clarity on reporting absences, please refer to HR’s Absence Summary document.

[Q] Based on current Public Health England guidance, I am self-isolating. How long should this be for?

Public Health England (PHE) advice states:

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (This ending isolation section has more information)
  • if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. See the explanatory diagram.

My studies: education and assessment

All students who do not have an essential reason to be on campuses should now stay at home. This will reduce the chances of contagion and allow staff with essential roles to work in a safer environment.

All teaching and academic support for the remainder of this academic year will be delivered online. There will be no teaching activity for the remainder of this academic year that will require you to be on campus.

[Q] Where can I get advice about education online?

The University’s specialist teams have created information designed to help you find the most appropriate options for you and your students.

[Q] When will next term begin?

Next term will begin, as currently scheduled, on Monday 20 April. 

[Q] What can I expect in the first week of term starting 20 April?

The first week of term will be devoted to a University-wide ‘introduction to ­­online learning and engagement’ programme. This will help students get accustomed to the new environment, and will give us an opportunity to test our systems. It also means that we will push programme delivery back by a week.

[Q] When will programme delivery start?

Programme delivery by Schools and Depts will start on Monday 27 April. We will then teach for five weeks; this will allow us to make up for the week we missed by bringing forward the Easter Vacation.

[Q] What date will teaching end in the spring term?

All teaching will end by Friday 29 May.

[Q] When will the Assessment Period run from?

The Assessment Period will run from 1 – 19 June; term will officially end on Friday 19 June.

All programmes being offered during this current academic year will have forms of assessment that can be undertaken off-campus and indeed outside the UK.  There will be no assessment tasks for the remainder of this academic year that will require you to be on campus.

[Q] Are the libraries open?

All of our library buildings have closed until further notice – this includes the Hartley Library, the National Oceanography Centre Southampton Library, the Health Services Library, the Avenue Library and Learning Commons and the Winchester School of Art Library.

Students will not be able to access study space in Building 100 (the Centenary Building) – this is closed.

Any borrowed items from libraries will automatically be renewed until further notice.

To access our library resources digitally, please visit our website where you will be able to: 

  • Use our extensive e-resources, including ebooks and ejournals.
  • Use our online study support resources.
  • Get help and support online via Library Enquiries or talk to us online via Library Chat.  

[Q] I’ve been trying to get hold of Student Life team by phone but there is no answer.

The Student Life team has now switched to remote working, with all members of the team working from home. They will still be operating a 24/7 service, but you will need to contact them by emailing: studentlife@soton.ac.uk.  

[Q] If I’ve had to self-isolate how will this impact on my academic studies?

We will deal with each case on an individual basis. If you are self-isolating, please contact the Student Life team at studentlife@soton.ac.uk as soon as possible. They will help co-ordinate with your Student Office regarding your module and programme requirements. Your Student Office will then be in touch with you as to what you need to do next, to help fully support you in your academic studies.

The University is doing everything possible to commence teaching online at the start of the summer term, with all assessment conducted remotely. This means that if you are in isolation you may continue with your studies if you wish to, as you will not need to be on campus.

[Q] As a student, how can I study remotely?

iSolutions provides advice and guidance for students about working remotely (away from campus) on their 'Away from campus' webpage.

International students, please ensure that you are remaining compliant with the conditions of your visa, see our specific Visa webpage

The University plans to commence teaching online at the start of the summer term, with all assessment conducted remotely. Please familiarise yourself with the advice found at the iSolutions link above so that you are prepared to begin your studies again after the Easter break.

[Q] I have a Tier 4 visa and permission to travel abroad. Will it affect my studies if I get stuck in another country?

We recommend that you make your own risk assessment based on the latest official guidance from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The University plans to commence teaching online at the start or the summer term, with all assessment conducted remotely. This means that you do not have to be on campus to continue with your studies and so disruption due to travel restrictions should be minimal.

[Q] I am an undergraduate and I want to go home because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. What is the University’s policy on this?

Term ended on 13 March as the University brought forward the end of the academic term.

Our Halls of Residence remain open for students that either want to stay during the Easter break, or need time to plan arrangements to go home and therefore you are welcome to stay should you wish.

International students, please ensure that you are remaining compliant with the conditions of your visa, see our specific Visa webpage.

The University plans to commence teaching online for all undergraduate students at the start or the summer term, with all assessment conducted remotely. This means that you may continue your studies from home during this period, should you wish to do so.

[Q] The University is now operating its Easter vacation scheduling. What does this mean for me?

Teaching and research materials that students normally access online will continue to be available.

All of our library buildings have closed until further notice – this includes the Hartley Library, the National Oceanography Centre Southampton Library, the Health Services Library, the Avenue Library and Learning Commons and the Winchester School of Art Library. Students will not be able to access study space in Building 100 (the Centenary Building) – this is closed.

Any borrowed items from libraries will automatically be renewed until further notice.

To access our library resources digitally, please visit our website where you will be able to:

- Use our extensive e-resources, including ebooks and ejournals.
- Use our online study support resources.
- Get help and support online via Library Enquiries or talk to us online via Library Chat.   

Arrangements for students on placements and clinical programmes are being confirmed by individual Schools and Faculties.

The University’s wellbeing support for both our students and our staff will remain available throughout the extended Easter vacation.

University-owned and managed accommodation will remain open – those who can’t travel home or who wish to remain over the Easter vacation will be able to stay on in their residence.

Students should prepare themselves to have access to a device/broadband in or near their home environment as the University plans to commence teaching online at the start of the summer term.

[Q] What are the plans for my exams?

The University plans to commence teaching online at the start of the summer term, with all assessment conducted remotely.

Further details about this will be provided as soon as they are available.

Please continue to check frequently this web page, Blackboard and your University email for updates.

International students, please ensure that you are remaining compliant with the conditions of your visa, see our specific Visa webpage.

[Q] My assignments are physical rather than digital (e.g. artwork), how do I go about submitting my assignments?

Please contact your Subject Student Office for more information.

[Q] I had a field trip planned as part of my studies. Will this be going ahead?

In line with the latest advice (17 March 2020) from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, all international and UK field trips within the next thirty days will be postponed. This period may be extended, so please check this webpage. This does not include placements.

[Q] I’m a Postgraduate Research student, is there any specific advice for this type of study and research?

Postgraduate Research (PGR) students should visit the Doctoral College website for additional specific advice.

[Q] I’m due to graduate in a summer 2020 ceremony. Will graduation be going ahead?

All summer 2020 graduation ceremonies are postponed until further notice.

This decision was made so that we have a longer academic year in which to ensure the successful completion of our students’ education.

SUSU has decided to cancel all of its upcoming large-scale events taking place in the summer term.

This includes AU Ball, WSA Ball, Academic Awards, Society & Volunteering Awards and Grad Ball.

Those of you who have already bought tickets for WSA Ball and Grad Ball will be refunded automatically (you don’t need to worry about contacting SUSU) in due course.

[Q] Will I be able to return to University Halls of Residence at the start of the summer term?

The Halls of Residence remain open as usual. Should the situation change, affected students will be contacted individually.

[Q] Will I be able to access Student Services during the summer term?

Subject to government advice, we plan to make our on-campus Student Services available for students during the summer term, even though teaching for that term will take place online.  Any changes to the current operating hours or processes for these services will be communicated on this page or via your University email.

My work

UCEA and the EIS, GMB, UNISON and Unite have come together to agree this joint statement for the HE sector regarding staffing issues associated with Covid-19. 

[Q] Can I access my office?

Following the Government’s introduction of stringent new measures to limit social contact, the University has instructed that all colleagues who do not have an essential reason to be on campuses (approved by your Dean or Executive Director) must now work from home. The category of 'essential' can only be designated directly by a Dean or a Professional Services Director. Named permits will be provided to those designated staff in case they are asked to provide formal evidence they are considered essential.

This new working situation will limit the spread of the virus, protecting essential workers on campus and those working remotely, as well as the wider population. 

[Q] What is the University policy on working and childcare in the light of the government’s decision that all schools, nurseries and further education colleges are to close from 20 March?

The University has temporarily extended the current provision of four days Compassionate & Domestic Leave to 10 (calendar) working days for this COVID-19 related situation.

The expectation is that this extension will be in place until 12 November 2020 in line with the government’s emergency Statutory Sick Pay provision. However, we will keep this under review and it may change to align with any new advice from central government.

If you do need to use any of the Domestic Leave entitlement, please ensure that this is agreed with your line manager in advance and reported via the Absence Reporting Hotline.

For further clarity on reporting absences, please refer to HR’s Absence Summary document.

[Q] Am I considered a ’Key Worker’ under the Government’s school closures announcement?

The Government has published information on Key Workers on their website.

[Q] I’m a member of staff and I’m unable to return from an affected area due to travel/quarantine restrictions. Will my absence be counted as paid or unpaid leave?

If you have travelled to an affected area and you’re prevented from returning, you should inform your line manager. Your line manager must inform Ask HR and should have a discussion with you to establish whether you can work remotely. If this is possible, you should work remotely until you are able to return to work. If you’re unable to work remotely then your line manager, on advice from HR, can grant paid special leave.

[Q] I am a casual worker. How will I be affected?

The University has agreed that any casual worker (normally paid through UniWorkforce) who had a commitment from a line manager for work up to 19 April 2020, will be paid. Line managers should submit time sheets in the normal way and highlight the hours that the worker could not complete due to the current circumstances.

[Q] I work as a doctor, nurse, midwife or Health Care Professional (HCP) for both the University and the NHS or primary care, both organisations are providing advice on COVID-19, which advice should I follow?

Academic clinical staff/research nurses/midwives/HCPs who have joint contracts with the NHS (primary care, secondary care, PHE) should refer to the NHS guidance in relation to work activities, control and containment measures from their host organisation.

[Q] As a member of staff, how can I work remotely?

iSolutions has developed extensive advice and guidance for staff on working remotely (away from campus). Please visit their 'Away from campus' page.

Staff are encouraged to use their existing home broadband or mobile data to undertake their work from home.  Many broadband providers have recently lifted data usage caps and so many staff will be able to work from home without additional cost.

In exceptional circumstances, staff may require additional mobile data in order to undertake work from home.  The University has been unable to source additional dongles from its existing mobile data provider as these are currently on at least a 3-4 week lead time.

For the period of the lockdown only, staff will be able to purchase additional data from their personal mobile provider and reclaim up to £20 per month via expenses in exceptional circumstances.  Staff must provide evidence that the cost is additional to their normal expenditure and make a declaration that the mobile data will be wholly, exclusively and necessarily used for only work purposes.  This is to ensure that the payment does not become a taxable benefit. Staff must obtain permission from the relevant budget holder where the cost will be charged before committing any expenditure.

[Q] I’m a member of staff. How will I deliver teaching and assessments remotely?

Panopto Lecture Capture improvements - an alternative version of Panopto that can record your voice, your image (if you have a webcam and choose to do so) and your desktop without installing any additional software on your computer, will be available from Thursday 26 March. You will then be able to go into Blackboard or the Panopto Admin Website select Create > Panopto Capture (Beta) in Chrome. You can create presentations directly in your browser and edit them too. Admin rights on the computer are not required.

Please continue to check frequently this web page and your University email for updates.

[Q] I’m a member of the teaching staff. What are the plans for the remainder of this academic year?

Next term will begin, as currently scheduled, on 20 April. The first week of term will be devoted to a University-wide ‘introduction to ­­online learning and engagement’ programme. This will help our students get accustomed to the new environment, and will give us an opportunity to test our systems.  It also means that we will push programme delivery back by a week, so

Programme delivery by Schools and Depts will start on 27 April.

We will then teach for five weeks; this will allow us to make up for the week we missed by bringing forward the Easter Vacation. So,

All teaching will end by 29 May 

The Assessment Period will run from 1 – 19 June; term will officially end on 19 June.

[Q] How can I get advice about teaching remotely?

The University’s specialist teams have created information designed to help you find the most appropriate options for you and your students.

[Q] What health and safety guidance is in place for home-working?

Extensive information on Health & Safety is available here, this includes guidance on setting up workstations at home, support for vulnerable adults and the risk assessment template. 

[Q] What is the guidance about data protection whilst working from home?

Data protection and confidentiality are extremely important, particularly when working from home. Please read this short presentation from Information Governance.

You must NEVER give your password to anyone including colleagues or superiors. If you have done this, please immediately reset your password.

[Q] I'm a member of staff and have a question about my situation.

If you are a member of staff, please call the confidential, dedicated staff helpline on Tel. +44 (0)23 8059 9000 (open Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 17:00 until further notice).

[Q] How do I report an absence from work?

If you are a staff member, please inform your line manager and report your absence to the University. As of 16 March 2020, you can inform the University either by calling the dedicated Absence Reporting hotline on Tel. +44 (0)23 8059 7111 (open Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 17:00) or, alternatively, you can report your absence online via our Absence Reporting Form. In either instance, you will need to provide your staff ID number, which you can find on your University ID card.

PLEASE NOTE: It is not necessary to report 'Working from Home' to the absence reporting hotline even when the reason for doing so is related to COVID-19. It is only necessary when you are working from home as a result of the need to self-isolate because of COVID-19. If you are unsure, please check with Ask HR prior to reporting.

For further clarity on reporting absences, please refer to HR’s Absence Summary document.

Research

[Q] I am a researcher whose clinical/non-clinical studies involve human participants. Where can I find specific advice?

Guidance for research involving human participants can be found here. (University login required)

[Q] I am the supervisor of a research postgraduate student. Where can I find relevant advice?

Guidance for Supervisors and Research Students can be found on the University’s Doctoral College webpages.

[Q] What is the UK Higher Education funding bodies’ current position in relation to contingency planning for COVID-19 for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021?

Research England has postponed the REF submission, originally scheduled for 27 November 2020, and will announce a new submission date no later than eight months prior to the deadline. In response, we have made some adjustments to the University’s submission timetable including relaxing the dates for completing the current Outputs benchmarking exercise, and for finalising the Impact Case Studies and Environment Statements. These changes will provide some respite to colleagues adjusting to new ways of working while maintaining the strong momentum we have developed so far. The timetable will of course be kept under review in response to feedback from Faculties and further announcements from Research England. More details are available here.  

[Q] What is the impact of the pandemic on existing research grants and future applications?

Research and Innovation Services (RIS) has gathered together the latest announcements on how measures introduced to limit the spread of COVID-19 will be affecting projects, calls and evaluations funded by our key research funders. More details can be found here. (University login required)

University Building Status

All University buildings are closed, unless listed below.

Open = only essential staff with suitable security access to that building will gain entry.

Partial Access = only designated areas will be accessible by essential staff with suitable security access.

 

1 GUILDHALL SQUARE  

Partial Access – iSolutions and HR

 

AVENUE

65       Partial Access

65A     Partial Access – Archaeology materials

 

BASSETT HOUSE             

Partial Access

 

BOLDREWOOD

178        Partial Access – contractors

185        Partial Access – contractors

 

HIGHFIELD

4            Partial Access – Deanery

5            Partial Access – R&D

13          Partial Access – R&D

19          Open – Cochlear Implant Centre in emergencies

20          Partial Access – HV

27          Partial Access – Equipment Maintenance

29          Partial Access – Research

30          Open – Research

32          Open – Security

33          Open – Estates

35          Open – Estates

37          Open – Command centre

44          Partial Access - Research

46          Partial Access – Research

53          Partial Access – Equipment Maintenance

59          Partial Access – Deanery

67          Partial Access – Simulation suites for emergency NHS training

85          Open – Restricted Research

 

SOUTHAMPTON GENERAL HOSPITAL

Partial Access - please be aware of changes to access for all visitors to the Hospital.

 

WSA

63F        Partial Access

63G       Partial Access

Travel to the UK

If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines have suspended flights and many airports are closed, preventing flights from leaving.

[Q] What to do if you’ve recently arrived in the UK from an affected country or area

Public Health England has updated its information for all returning travellers here: COVID-19: Stay at home guidance.

[Q] How is the University ensuring that staff and students are receiving the necessary support?

The VISAS team have created a new information webpage to provide students studying in the UK on a visa with specific advice during this situation. If you require further support, please contact Student Life.

If you are a member of staff, please notify your line manager and report your absence to the University. As of 16 March 2020, you can inform the University either by calling the dedicated Absence Reporting hotline on Tel. +44 (0)23 8059 7111 (open Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 17:00) or, alternatively, you can report your absence online via our Absence Reporting Form. In either instance, you will need to provide your staff ID number, which you can find on your University ID card.

For further clarity on reporting staff absences, please refer to HR’s Absence Summary document.

[Q] I travelled to the UK on a visa which is expiring soon and I'm unable to return due to travel restrictions relating to COVID-19 (coronavirus). What should I do?

If you are in the UK on a visa that will expire between 24 January - 31 May 2020 and cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions or isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19), you must now contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team at the Home Office to update your records and provide the information stated on the GOV.UK website.

International students, please ensure that you are remaining compliant with the conditions of your visa, see our specific Visa webpage.

[Q] I travelled to an affected country on University business but due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions I now need to change my plans. Will University insurance cover me?

University insurance should cover you if you travelled for University business. Please contact the insure@soton.ac.uk.

[Q] I travelled to an affected country for personal reasons but due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions I now need to change my plans. Will I have to rely on my own personal travel insurance for costs such as accommodation and re-booking flights?

If your travel to one of these countries/areas is a private trip that you personally organised then you will need to contact your travel insurance provider and/or airline to make alternative arrangements.

Travel from the UK

If you are in the UK on a visa that will expire between 24 January - 31 May 2020 and cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions or isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19), you must now contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team at the Home Office to update your records and provide the information stated on the GOV.UK website.

Staff and students should consider the need for any non-essential international travel (to or from our University) very carefully, taking account the potential risks of the country or area to be visited, and the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice.

On 17 March 2020 the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days.

[Q] Can I travel internationally on University business?

As of 13 March 2020, there will be no international staff travel on University business, unless demonstrated to be essential and an approved risk assessment is in place.

In line with our usual internal approval processes, all travel to Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) designated areas will have to be referred to the VC’s Office, via the Insurance Office, for approval before travel can take place or insurance cover confirmed.

A detailed risk assessment and explanation for the purpose of the trip must be submitted to insure@soton.ac.uk at least three working days before the trip is due to take place. This process will remain in place until the FCO advice is amended.

Anyone making an unauthorised international trip will not be insured under the University’s Travel & Personal Accident policy.

[Q] What do I do if, as part of my course, I was planning to travel to a country that is on the FCO advisory list?

The University will not require you to do any travel that conflicts with FCO advice. Please discuss your options with your supervisor.

Travel within the UK

The UK Government has now implemented a strict directive that everyone, except essential workers, must stay at home.

The Department of Education confirmed UK students returning home is 'essential travel'. Students should only return home if they are able to do so without using public transport. On returning home, the household should begin a period of whole household isolation for 14 days following PHE guidance.

Events

All conferences to be held at the University during the Easter vacation have been cancelled. This decision enabled us to ensure residences are available for students staying with us during this period.

Please note that, in line with this fast-moving situation, the University is keeping all planned events, including Open Days, under constant review.

[Q] I had a field trip planned as part of one of my modules. Will I still be able to deliver this?

As of 13 March 2020 for a six-week period, all international and UK field trips are postponed.

[Q] I have planned (or am planning) to host external visitors at the University, can this still go ahead?

No. Given the extraordinary circumstances regarding COVID-19, you should consider arranging a Teams call or exploring a similar internet-based solution.

[Q] Are events still taking place at Turner Sims, the Nuffield Southampton Theatres, the John Hansard Gallery and City Eye?

In line with advice from Public Health England, John Hansard Gallery, Turner Sims and Nuffield Southampton Theatres will be closed until further notice.

As a result, upcoming events will be postponed or cancelled. For further details please visit their respective websites or social media.

Assets and collateral

Staff seeking collateral to be used for posters or digital screens should refer to the links below.

Colleagues should only use assets downloaded from the websites listed below. Under no circumstance should staff attempt to create their own.   

Please note that staff who print or upload material for use in their local areas are responsible for ensuring that they have used the most up-to-date assets.

Please check the trusted webpages linked below frequently.

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