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Chair of Health & Safety Committee reports on latest measures for autumn 2020

Tim Westlake, Chief Operating Officer

This week the focus of the Health and Safety Committee was on how we will share information on the number of current positive Covid-19 cases among our staff and students, the availability of a mobile testing unit on campus, and the latest guidance on the ventilation of study and office spaces.

Our overriding ambition is to work together as a community to tackle how we respond to the Covid-19 and to collectively ensure that we prioritise the safety of staff and students.

Some of the key points covered in the meeting include:

  • Cases among staff and students: The number of cases we have had reported are low compared to other universities that were the focus of media attention last weekend. We do have confirmed reports of a small number of cases amongst our community, with the majority of these people living off campus and who have not visited campus this academic year.
  • Dashboard: A dashboard has launched this week which will allow us to share information on a regular basis on the number of current positive Covid-19 cases for both staff and students, on and off campus.
  • Mobile testing unit: We will have a mobile testing unit on campus which allows up to 400 tests a day (although the precise number of tests it will be able to carry out will depend upon the laboratory capacity to process them). The unit will prioritise symptomatic testing – and will be a bookable, online system. This has been possible as a result of successful partnership working between the University, local council and PHE.  Initially the unit will operate for three days from Friday 2 October. Provision of testing sites in the area is determined by the local Public Health Authority working with central Government; we will do all that we can to retain the facility on site.
  • Ventilation: The guidance on ventilation has been updated and the Health & Safety team will continue to work with Schools and Divisions to ensure that all the ventilation is suitable.

Teaching began this week; thank you to everyone who has worked hard to deliver the blended learning approach. We have had feedback that it’s going really well and it’s fantastic to see students and staff back on campus.

I am committed to continuing to provide colleagues with regular updates of the work of the Committee, what we discuss and the decisions we make. 

We will continue to meet regularly and my aim is to be open and transparent and to answer many of the questions colleagues have about how we are ensuring the health and safety of staff, students and visitors on our campus.

Tim Westlake
COO and chair of Health & Safety Committee


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By: Charlie Littlejones
Last updated: Monday, 5 October 2020

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