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Cor​onavirus: Information for Students, Staff, and Fellows

Last updated 6 October 2021

Following the relaxing of government restrictions, the College’s supplementary rules relating to Covid have been updated: https://www.queens.ox.ac.uk/covid-19-rules.

College is returning to (near) normal working processes; staff are returning or have returned to onsite working at usual levels in order to prepare the College for the academic term. Most students are returning to College for Michaelmas Term. Teaching onsite is encouraged in all areas of College. We have (re)opened most of our spaces apart from the Beer Cellar, Gym, Squash Court, and Berners-Lee Room.  These spaces are under review due to poor ventilation and we are working internally as well as with external inspection teams to get them open as soon as possible. 

We will continue to monitor illness in our College, and the Lodge will be communicating with staff and students who become unwell and require information and support. 

Vaccination

We encourage all eligible members of College to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect their own health and the health of others. If you are fully vaccinated (one is fully vaccinated 14 days after a final dose of an MHRA-approved vaccine that was administered in the United Kingdom) then you are NOT legally required to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive for COVID-19, unless you have symptoms yourself.   As last year, we have created ‘households’ in College that consist of a small group of people with whom you live and perhaps share bathroom and/or kitchen facilities.  If you are an undergraduate Fresher you will be contacted separately about which household you are in by the JCR; if you are a returning undergraduate then you will already be aware of the household structures.  Postgraduate Freshers living in College will be in households that are clear from their layout. There is a household diagram inside your room door. The household system may be used again, as last year, if there is a rise in cases of COVID-19 in our student accommodation and we need to notify of wider isolations. However, the more people who are vaccinated the less likely we see such a rise in case numbers.

A pop-up walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic operated by the NHS is open at the University Club on Mansfield Road. The centre is primarily aimed at students (and particularly international students) who have been unable to get fully vaccinated before arriving in Oxford. Further details can be found on the vaccination centres webpage:  https://www.ox.ac.uk/coronavirus/health/vaccine-centres.

Ventilation

One of the key ways we will be keeping our community healthy is proper ventilation in shared spaces, since this has been shown to greatly reduce the transmission of COVID-19.  Please note that this might mean rooms are cooler than usual and you may wish to have an extra layer of clothing.  Some of our buildings (for example the Shulman Auditorium and the underground library) use modern ventilation systems whereby there is a constant exchange of air and windows should be kept closed.  Please follow guidance on the signs or ask a member of staff if you are unsure.

Face coverings

Face coverings can help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The College does not require you to wear a face covering, but encourages you to consider doing so, if you are able to, in shared indoor spaces, particularly when they are crowded and you are with people who you do not normally meet.

Cleaning

Enhanced cleaning routines will remain in place throughout the College and hand-sanitiser will continue to be made available.

Microwaves

We are reverting to the usual practice of providing microwaves for self-isolation on a need-only basis as we did in Trinity Term 2020 when the pandemic broke out.

Microwaves were provided in every room as an extraordinary measure in the previous academic year, and the College performed both global and individual risk assessments on their use as a crisis measure in the pandemic. Our recent fire risk assessments do not permit us to continue to use microwaves as we had during the height of the pandemic. Therefore, if you need to self-isolate, a microwave will be provided for use in your room and we will perform a written risk assessment with you to ensure safe use. This is to conform to the fire regulations and fire risk assessments.

Lateral Flow tests

We urge you to collect packets of seven Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests from the Lodge on arrival and also throughout term. All you need to do is show your University card, or have your Single Sign-On username, and you’ll be able to collect a box, free of charge. 

Register with a GP

If you have not done so already, please register with a GP. The College requires all Junior Members to register under the NHS or to make a private arrangement with a doctor, who must be in Oxford, in which case you must notify the College of the name of the doctor. Junior Members should remain registered in Oxford during their time at the University, but can obtain treatment elsewhere as temporary residents.  The College Doctors have agreed to accept any member of the College as a patient; their surgery is at 19 Beaumont Street: https://www.19beaumontstreet.com/.

Facilities that are closed for the time being

There are some spaces that we are unable to open just yet, however we are working on ventilation risk assessments for these spaces.  These spaces are somewhat different to others because they are enclosed with little or no ventilation and we are required by the Health and Safety Executive (the national regulator for workplace health and safety) to identify poorly ventilated areas and manage the risk of Covid-19 in them. In the case of the Beer Cellar, we will also begin recruiting staff to run the Beer Cellar as soon as we can so we are able to open safely.

What to do if you test positive  

Anyone who tests positive in any LFD tests (including those via community testing or received from the Government via another route), must immediately self-isolate and book a confirmatory PCR test, preferably through the University’s Early Alert Service. 

If you are a student in residence and feeling unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus, please make an appointment through the University EAS testing. You should report that you are unwell to the Lodge immediately and report the results of a positive PCR test or a LFD test to the Lodge and the EAS website.

You should follow the current Government guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.

Please note the process to follow if you experience symptoms of the virus:

Further information is available on our page of Frequently Asked Questions for students with symptoms of COVID-19 as well as information about self-isolation and support available for students.

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.

    Temporary sick pay arrangements for staff

    Until further notice the following arrangements will apply in the event that you have symptoms of coronavirus:

    • If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should contact your line manager, who will discuss with you whether and how you can work from home.
    • If you 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 have to self-isolate but are unable to work from home, you will be granted special paid leave at the normal rate of pay for that period.
    • 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.
    • You will not be required to use annual leave to cover a period of self-isolation, and this will not be included in your sickness record. If you are unwell beyond the period of self-isolation required by Public Health England advice, then the resulting absence should be treated as sickness absence, and the College’s normal sick leave policy will apply.
    • In the event that you do not have coronavirus symptoms but a member of your household does, and/or if you are contacted by Test & Trace and told to self-isolate, and you cannot work from home, you will be granted special paid leave at the normal rate of pay for that 10-day period.