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Report from Chair of Health & Safety Committee on preparations for teaching

Tim Westlake, Chief Operating Officer

Our focus in this week’s Health & Safety Committee meeting was the delivery of in-person teaching during the Coronavirus pandemic and preparation of the spaces on campus where that face-to-face teaching will take place.

Some of the key points include the following:

  • Students will be asked to wait outside before classes, i.e. not in corridors.
  • A set of protocols will be posted in all teaching rooms.
  • Academic staff should be able to maintain a 2m distance from the front of the class and so do not need to wear cloth face coverings. All teaching staff will be provided with a face visor for use in teaching spaces.
  • Each student will wipe down their own desk at the start of the class.
  • Students will follow ‘1m plus’ social distancing rules, i.e. 1m apart from each other plus other mitigating measures e.g. sitting side by side, facing the front of the class, and wearing a face covering.
  • The furniture in teaching rooms must be kept as in the existing layout, without being rearranged.

Teaching starts today (Friday 4 September) with the arrival of 350 teacher-training students in the School of Education and Social Work. ESW colleagues have kindly agreed to work with central colleagues on both the set-up of teaching rooms and the health and safety training for all students and academic staff. This will give us the chance to review our procedures and processes and amend them as necessary before the start of wider teaching on Monday 28 September.

Given the importance of teaching arrangements, I have scheduled an extra meeting of the Health & Safety Committee for next week, focused entirely on that topic. A risk assessment for all General Teaching Space (GTS) for the ESW teaching over the coming weeks has been approved and the Committee will review this for the start of all teaching on 28 September.

We know colleagues have questions about the cleaning regimes for teaching spaces, guidance on moving around spaces, and the use of materials. Information about these issues will be included in the comprehensive health and safety guidance that is currently being developed for staff who will be delivering teaching.

The principle that has been driving all of our plans is to provide a safe environment for our students and staff. This has been complex, as I am sure you can appreciate. We are taking an agile approach, because undoubtedly we will need to adapt our plans along the way. 

Tim Westlake
COO and Chair of Health & Safety Committee

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Posted on behalf of: Health & Safety Committee
Last updated: Friday, 4 September 2020