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COVID-19: Information for Students, Staff, and Fellows

Last updated 18 January 2022

Welcome back to Hilary Term and we hope everyone has had a good rest over the Christmas break.

The current trends with COVID-19 are quite positive but nevertheless, we’ll be watching carefully to see what happens in the next two weeks. We hope to be able to continue the term as normal, enjoying all the events and plans set out. Please remember that many staff and students still have cause to be concerned about infections so please continue the behaviours that keep you and others safe as you move around and use facilities in College.

Pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the University Club

The University will host a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the University Club on Mansfield Road on Thursday 20 January from 10am to 2pm. It will be staffed by NHS vaccinators who will administer doses of Pfizer. Anyone aged 18 and over who is due a first, second or booster dose is welcome, as are immunosuppressed adults due a fourth dose. No booking is necessary, but it is helpful if people can bring their NHS number where possible.

Students and staff who have received previous vaccination doses overseas, and who have been unable to book a booster on the NHS system, are particularly encouraged to go along with details of their previous vaccination(s) as GPs will be available to advise on individual cases.

All adults aged 18 years or over are eligible for a booster if it has been at least 3 months since their second dose of the vaccine. Those who have had COVID-19 recently must wait 28 days until after their positive test or their symptoms started, before getting any dose of the vaccine.

Other Covid-19 information

While the Omicron variant causes less severe symptoms in most people, it is more contagious and can still pose a serious health risk. Alongside other measures, such as face coverings, testing is a very effective way of reducing the spread of the virus. Please collect and use LFD tests available from the Lodge.

IF you have a positive LFD, or you are symptomatic, staff and resident students should follow the guidance below and the Lodge will send further guidance on what to do. 

  • If you have a positive LFD result (whether symptomatic or not), you no longer need to book a PCR test. The LFD should be treated as confirmation of infection, and you should self-isolate in line with government guidance (paragraph 5.2) and ensure you report the LFD result to the Lodge, and on the EAS website at the University, and the NHS. See also NHS advice.
  • If you have symptoms, you should self-isolate and perform an LFD test. If positive, you should follow the guidance above. It is advised that you book a PCR test, preferably at the University’s Early Alert Service, if you:
  1. have COVID-19 symptoms and receive two negative LFD results 24 hours apart; or
  2. are an unvaccinated contact of a positive case (you should do the PCR between 3 and 5 days from contact if your LFDs are still negative)

Note, if you are self-isolating because you are positive with Coronavirus, you can stop isolating at the start of day six if you get two negative rapid lateral flow test results on days five and six and do not have a temperature. Tests must be at least 24 hours apart. If either test is positive, wait 24 hours before testing again. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-isolation-for-those-with-covid-19-can-end-after-five-full-days-following-two-negative-lfd-tests

IF you have been a close contact of someone:

Those who have been fully vaccinated* and identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, do not have to self-isolate. You should instead take a lateral flow test (LFD) every day for seven days (or until 10 days since their last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 if this is earlier). This rule applies whether the case is Omicron or any other variant.

* ‘Fully vaccinated’ means that you have been vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine (both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine), and at least 14 days have passed since you received your second dose. 

To better understand when you legally must self-isolate, about testing during self-isolation, and information about what to do as a close contact, see the following guidance:

IF you are ever in doubt about the right thing to do just ask the Lodge for advice!

Other news

The most significant news for many students is that the Beer Cellar is now open, but running on a reduced schedule due to the difficulty in recruiting staff at the moment. For now, Beer Cellar will be open on each Thursday, Friday and Saturday, of term. We also are required to run at a maximum capacity of 50. This is in accordance with guidance on venues with poor ventilation, as mandated by the Health and Safety Executive, so please be patient and thoughtful in letting everyone have a chance to get back to the BC!

We hope the term will be productive and enjoyable for everyone.

Keep inf​​ormed​

We encourage everyone to continue to check the University's Coronavirus webpages regularly to keep informed of the latest local advice. The webpages include detailed information for students and staff, including frequently asked questions.

You may also find the following sites useful:

Final note

Above all, please remember that everyone is different. It has been a challenging time for all of us but not always in the same ways. In philosophical and political ideas as well as in personal approaches to COVID-19 (including but not limited to face coverings), we must be respectful of others’ preferences, whether or not we agree with them ourselves.  Our considerate, open, and respectful community relies on people being kind to each other. 

  • For staff

    You can download further information for academic staff about COVID and also information for non-academic staff about COVID.

    Working from home

    Please make use of Microsoft Teams as much as possible (including for virtual coffee breaks!). The LinkedIn Learning courses provide useful introductions to a range of things, including a one-hour introduction to remote working, and the University has a site licence for everyone. David Olds has compiled a set of resources on the Queen's IT Office Blog that may help you adjust to remote working. (There is also a useful page of resources compiled by Oxford IT Services.)

    The University has created resources on the HR website to support those working from home.

    On a practical note, please use an out-of-office auto-reply message to let people know when you are / aren’t available if you’re following a different routine from usual.

    Special Leave Policy for COVID-19

    Until further notice the following arrangements will apply:

    In the event that you have symptoms of coronavirus:

    * You should contact your line manager, who will discuss with you whether and how you can work from home.

    * You will be expected to take a test for coronavirus as soon as reasonably practicable.

    If you test positive for coronavirus and have to self-isolate:

    * You will be expected to carry on working from home if possible, so long as your symptoms are mild enough that you would ordinarily continue to come in to work. If you are too unwell to work during the period of self-isolation, you should contact your line manager from home to let them know.

    * If you are unable to work from home, you will be granted special paid leave at the normal rate of pay for a period of up to 10 days. This absence will not be included in your sickness record.

    * If you are unwell beyond the 10 days of self-isolation required by Public Health England advice, then the resulting absence will be treated as sickness absence and the College’s normal sick leave policy will apply.

    If you are notified that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus:

    * If you are fully vaccinated (which for these purposes means you have received at least two doses of a covid-19 vaccination), or are exempt, you will be expected to carry on working in College as normal.

    * If you are not fully vaccinated, or exempt, your absence while you self-isolate will be treated as sickness absence and the College’s normal sick leave policy will apply.