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Face coverings required in communal indoor spaces on campus

As the University moves forward with comprehensive plans to reopen campus for the start of term, it has been agreed that face coverings will be required in communal indoor spaces on the University of Sussex campus where 2m social distancing cannot be achieved. 

This policy means that all students should wear a face covering in seminar rooms and other teaching spaces, including computer clusters, and the University will provide face visors for teaching staff to wear during classes. Academics should be able to maintain a 2m distance from the front of the class and so do not need to wear cloth face coverings; visors are an added protection that will allow students to see the academic's face. Academics are asked to deliver their session entirely from the front of the class and should not walk around the class.

Other common areas where staff and students are asked to wear a face covering  such as foyers, corridors, toilets, stairs, lifts and the Library  will be identified with signposts.

Face coverings will not usually be required in staff offices, because other mitigations are in place.

Those who have a medical reason not to wear a face covering will be given a lanyard to signify this.

Bridget Edminson, General Counsel and Director of Governance and Compliance, says: “It is vital that all students, staff and visitors feel comfortable, confident and safe on the Sussex campus.

“There is increasing evidence that wearing face coverings can reduce transmission of coronavirus from an infected person to others.

“So we should all carry a face covering with us and wear it in communal areas on campus where it is not possible to maintain social distancing of at least two metres.

“This is an evolving situation, and we will continue to update our policy. We are making decisions at Sussex based on the feedback we are receiving from our students and staff, and what feels best for our whole community. Of course we will continue to do that as we progress through our phased return to campus.”

The University has bought a large number of disposable face masks, which will be available for staff who need to be face to face in their interactions with students or colleagues. Information on the collection of masks will be shared soon. As masks are required for all our day-to-day lives now, it is recommended that staff also bring their own masks onto campus too. Other protective measures have also been put in place in many areas, such as Perspex screens for additional safety.

Face coverings should be used alongside social distancing measures and personal hygiene practices, such as frequent hand-washing, being tested when displaying symptoms, and self-isolating when unwell.

The University of Sussex policy on face coverings applies in addition to legal requirements, which currently require all students, staff and visitors to wear a face covering:

  • inside shops, supermarkets and banks – including those on the Sussex campus
  • in the campus cafes when are buying food or drink to take away
  • when travelling to or from campus on public transport (i.e. by bus or train).

A face covering safely covers the nose and mouth. It is a matter of personal choice for staff and students which form of face covering they choose to wear, such as a scarf, bandana or other cloth covering, a single-use disposable covering, or a religious garment.

A full set of FAQs on the use of face coverings is available in the Health & Safety section of the Return to Campus webpages.



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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Wednesday, 26 August 2020

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