Current context (August 2021)
Throughout the pandemic higher education was recognised as an essential activity. Some colleagues remained on campus throughout to carry out and support our essential work. HE colleagues, classified as Key Workers, were able to attend work to deliver on-site activity. The campus also remained open for any student or member of staff that needed to access it for health and wellbeing reasons.
On the 19th July 22021 the Government ended all Covid-19 restrictions in England, although we must all remain vigilant. The Department of Education (DoE) has published updated guidance for universities [PDF] and all students and staff are now able to return to campus.
From 1 April 2021 the Government advised that clinically vulnerable members of our community no longer required to shield and they are now advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else. The guidance, in this document, and our thorough risk assessment processes, aim to support all our staff with their continued safe presence on, or return to, campus. Key equality considerations for managers have been included to ensure no member of our community is exposed to unnecessary or disproportionate risk to their ongoing health and wellbeing.
Current confirmed cases remain low with active, confirmed cases reported on a daily basis across our UK-based staff and student population.
People who started at Queen Mary in this last year may not have attended campus often. Please find below information that might be helpful.
Security and Access Control: You will need a staff ID card. This is necessary to get access to University buildings, and for using local printing and scanning facilities.
You get your staff ID from the control room for your campus, locations can be found here. These pages also give information on parking for vehicles and bikes, and a downloads section for the permits you may need.
Accessibility: The AccessAble website gives a useful access guide for most campus buildings. You can search by building name, e.g. ‘Garrod’ or ‘Fogg’ or “Barts”. This site also gives information on standard and accessible toilet facilities and, often, shows a photo of the building you want to locate.
Other useful links:
All students and staff are now able to return to the University from 19th July 2021. All staff should by now be spending a good proportion of their time working on our campuses to support our students and staff living, studying and working here. Local management teams will set expectations in relation to attendance on campus.
The safety of our staff and students continues to be our foremost concern as we welcome back increasing numbers of staff and students to our campuses.
The Health and Safety Directorate have worked consistently to ensure environmental risk assessments are up to date, and risk assessment profiles are updated to take account of changing circumstances. They have also produced comprehensive Covid-19 Secure Procedures including on face coverings, social distancing cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and spaces.
The Health and Safety Directorate have also developed a Travel to and from Work Procedure which lays out how all Queen Mary staff and students can limit their exposure to Covid-19 and travel to and from work safely in the current circumstances, including details on how staff and students can travel safely to and from Queen Mary campuses by walking, cycling, using private vehicles and public transport.
The University has invested heavily to ensure that our campuses are Covid-Safe.
We are encouraged by research undertaken by Imperial which shows that there was little trace of Covid-19 on public transport and there is constant monitoring of public transport for the latest Covid variants.
Staff are encouraged by the University to have the vaccine to protect both their own health and the health of others. We understand that this is ultimately everyone's choice, but we encourage staff to make an informed decision about getting the vaccine by reading about Covid-19 vaccinations via official sources such as the NHS; paying attention to the information the NHS provides when offering a vaccine and being wary of misinformation around Covid-19 vaccinations put out by unreliable sources.
Having the vaccine is currently voluntary, and as such, the University will not require staff to confirm their vaccination status and will not compel anyone to have a vaccination.
Where staff have had a vaccine, they will still need to abide by the relevant university requirements related to health safety at work, as set out in this document and guidance issued by the University, e.g. the Covid code, face mask policy etc.
Any sickness absence taken as a result of staff feeling unwell after having their vaccine will be managed in the same way as absence for Covid 19 – i.e. the absence will not be taken into account for absence management purposes.
Where it is not possible to schedule an appointment for the Covid-19 vaccination outside of working hours, paid time off will be available.
For staff who are asymptomatic (i.e. you don’t have Covid-19 symptoms) and are attending work on campus, participation in our Covid-19 testing programme is voluntary. However, we strongly encourage individuals who are attending work to take the opportunity to be tested twice a week. We also encourage staff to be tested even if they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The University is offering two tests per week for every student or member of staff living on our campuses or travelling regularly to our campuses. We have test facilities at our Charterhouse Square and Mile End campuses in London.
More information and booking is available here.
Regular testing, along with following our Covid Code, will help keep everyone safe.
Staff will not be prevented from working on campus if they do not wish to take a Covid-19 test and they do not need to provide proof of a negative test result to attend work. However staff are strongly encouraged by the University to take the test to help prevent the spread of the virus and to help protect the health of others.
If you are a line manager and have been asked to prepare for return to work by your Head of School, Institute Director or Professional Services Director, please ensure that you:
- understand and adhere to the requirements set out in the University Risk Assessment, the Queen Mary Covid Code and other relevant health and safety guidance;
- understand and adhere to your local Risk Assessment and communications for staff, which will be provided prior to the return by your Head of School, Institute Director or Professional Services Director;
- conduct further Risk Assessments appropriate to your team’s work settings/activities and staff members, mitigating any identified risks;
- work with the University’s Health and Safety department and any local Health and Safety Representatives;
- consider what information you may need to collect from your team to feed into the planning for return;
- share with your staff the 3 essential steps for staff remaining on campus