Returning to campus

See our plan and guidance to keep our community safe during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Our approach

We are following these steps in line with the Government’s roadmap:

  • From August onwards, it is anticipated that a fuller return to campus for all staff will be allowed, in adherence to our health and safety guidelines about social distancing
  • For the new academic year, 2021/22, we anticipate there will be a full return to campus with in-person teaching resumed, again linked to Government guidelines and continuing health and safety measures.

Coming back

We have been welcoming staff back to campus since August, giving ourselves time to respond to any new measures required.

This gives you the opportunity to enjoy being back on campus and familiarise yourself with the benefits of working with colleagues in normal surroundings as we begin the new academic year.

Make sure you have the agreement of your line manager about returning to campus. This helps us understand the number of people in buildings and offices.

You can download specific guidance on working in offices [PDF 200KB], using labs [PDF 217KB] and working in teaching spaces [PDF 204KB].

From now

We are optimistic this academic year will be close to normal for students returning to Sussex, with a full return to working on campus with a new Remote Working Framework in place (to support a hybrid model of working).

This means:

  • staff return to new ways of working (hybrid model)
  • teaching – we are aiming to return to mainly campus-based teaching and learning in September 2021, while recognising that some students may need to study remotely
  • assessment – this will be online for the academic year 2021/22 (although there may be exceptions, for example if required by accrediting bodies)
  • sport and activities – Sussexsport plans to return to a normal pre- Covid service. Visit Sussexsport for full details and opening hours
  • catering on campus – Sussex Food catering will resume their main operations. See our catering venue opening times.

The above will depend on the government’s Covid-19 advice for England.

This phased campus re-opening is informed by medical advice and government guidance. It is prioritised around:

  • ensuring the safety of students, staff and visitors.
  • supporting students’ education.
  • enabling research to continue.

Having sought the views of staff in a recent questionnaire about returning to campus, the University will ensure that a number of health and safety measures are in place to manage the Covid-19 pandemic by the start of term:

  • refreshed signage in high footfall spaces that face coverings are expected from 9am-5pm
  • sanitiser stations in place across campus
  • Perspex screens remaining in place where requested
  • additional bins in teaching spaces
  • QR codes to support the Track & Trace app
  • ensuring ventilation systems and windows operate effectively
  • the provision of red lanyards so staff can signal they’d prefer greater social distancing

Also...

If you are returning to campus you might be wondering about:

Security passes

If you’ve not been back on campus for some months, then you may need to reactivate your security card. Contact your Facilities Manager.

Face coverings

We recommend that students and staff wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces on campus including in all teaching spaces, and to follow the instructions indicated by signage. This signage will be very visible across the campus.

We will be reminding all students before and during the term through regular communication, signage and our new Community Pledge that we recommend students wear face-coverings in busy indoor spaces – such as the classroom.

We know that some staff may be worried about how to broach instances where students are not wearing face coverings. While it is not a legal requirement to wear face coverings, we are making it very clear that it is the expectation of our community. If a member of staff does have concerns following a teaching session, then please raise this with your line manager and we will find ways to support you.

We do not expect face coverings to be worn in office spaces where staff are comfortable – although we do advise staff to consider avoiding having meetings with multiple people in crowded spaces. We will soon be sharing more information on our lanyard scheme where staff will be able to indicate, through wearing a red lanyard that they would like others to respect physical distancing around them.

Parking

Parking permit applications are open. Please ensure you apply for a parking permit if you plan to park on campus in the new academic year 2021/22. Parking charges, which have been suspended in recent months, will apply from Friday 1 October. The cost of parking has not increased since the 2020/21 academic year. See more information.

Travelling to campus

Staff are encouraged to consider active travel options that enable social distancing, such as walking and cycling to and from campus. See our Transport pages and read the Goverment guidance on travel.

Testing

All staff should get twice-weekly Covid-19 tests using the home testing kits that are easily ordered from the www.gov.uk website.

Covid-19 testing will be available on campus at Bramber level 1 throughout September, and staff and students will continue to be able to collect home testing kits from several campus locations.

Vaccinations

See new guidance on vaccinations – including arrangements for vaccine appointments and sickness absence.

The University strongly endorses employees to take part in the vaccination programme against Covid-19, in line with government guidance. We understand that it is ultimately each individual’s personal choice, but we request all of our employees to make a fully informed decision on whether to accept the Covid-19 vaccination by reading literature published by official sources.

Measures to protect extremely vulnerable staff

Please note that the measures we had in place for extremely vulnerable staff will still be in place. These include allowing these staff to come on to campus at flexible times, so as to avoid busy public transport times; providing them with the ability to socially distance when in the office space; asking other members of staff and students to be respectful of those around them that are vulnerable and agreeing practical local measures.

Health and safety guidance for your return

Guidance for staff returning to campus is available on our Health and Safety pages.

Using your desktop computer back on campus

For most people, you can use the computer you used prior to working from home, but check with your line manager that no one else is using your machine that day.

Using different campus equipment to what you had before

We will be analysing the IT needs of all staff to enable hybrid and flexible working. None of the existing desktops will be removed and will be available for use for people working on campus. The ultimate aim for the technology will be mobile first (i.e. portable) and will encompass more than just laptops – e.g. additional monitors, keyboards, mice, connecting hubs etc. Understanding everyone’s needs is a complex task and will need to be carried out over the coming months

HR guidance

We want to ensure you have the information you need to return to campus safely. Make sure you are familiar with our future working advice for staff, managers and the Remote Working Framework.

What’s open on campus

Shops and eating places on campus are operating under restricted open times. Check opening hours for the Co-op store in Bramber House and our catering venue opening times.

Visit the Sussexsport pages for the latest information about facilities, what they are offering online and how to contact the team.

Coronavirus cases on campus

You can view the Covid-19 reporting dashboard to keep up-to-date with cases.

Using the NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app

Download and use the NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app which is the fastest way to see if you’re at risk from coronavirus.

What to do following close contact with someone on campus who tests positive for Covid-19

If you find out you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, you should get a PCR test as soon as possible. The University will continue to use its own track and trace system*, but we also recommend staff and students use the NHS Test and Trace app as this will detect clusters of infection and contact those affected. You should stay away from work until you get your negative PCR test result to ensure we minimise Covid infection rates across campus. However, there is no need for staff who have been double vaccinated to self-isolate once they have had the negative PCR result. See NHS self-isolation rules.

*The University’s own track and trace system requires staff and students to fill out the Covid-19 reporting form if you need to self-isolate due to:

  • testing positive for Covid-19
  • having Covid-19 symptoms
  • being identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, if you are not fully vaccinated
  • arriving in the UK from overseas

Ventilation of rooms on campus

A review of rooms has been carried out on campus including window checks and checks on mechanical ventilation systems.

The Health and Safety team have reviewed all rooms without mechanical ventilation that hold more than 7 people, they have checked natural ventilation available and the number of windows that can be opened. The University is in the process of fitting CO2 monitors or setting occupancy limits in a small number of rooms following these checks.

Additional information on the methodology used to assess ventilation is available on the University Health and Safety Covid resource page.

If you have concerns about ventilation in a room you can submit this form to the Health and Safety team, please let us know by reporting it to the University if you think we have missed a room.

If you have a meeting in a room without windows that you are concerned doesn’t have mechanical ventilation, you can consider; wearing a mask, using an outdoor space for your meeting, or consider alternative arrangements such as a proportion of the attendees joining remotely.

Flu vaccinations

All staff returning to campus are encouraged to take advantage of the seasonal flu jab in order to reduce the risks for our whole community associated with the impact of seasonal flu on top of Covid-19 infection rates.

The Government is rolling out a seasonal flu vaccine programme alongside any booster programme for COVID-19 vaccines to protect as many lives as possible.

Anyone over 50 and those with certain health conditions will be able get a free flu vaccination, either from your GP or from a participating pharmacy. 

And due to the ongoing concerns with the Covid pandemic, University staff who are under 50 who are not eligible, can book and pay for a vaccination from a pharmacy or another provider and can reclaim the cost of a flu jab through expenses. Please ensure you use the expenses app to load claims linked to flu vaccinations, as no other forms of claims will be accepted. Please use expense code EM025-01 when making your claim.

Our campus Pharmacy will have a limited supply of flu vaccinations available from the beginning of the academic year and you won’t need an appointment.

Alternatively, you may prefer to have a vaccination from your GP.  In addition, many supermarket pharmacies now offer flu vaccinations.

Slots are now available to book and the University encourages you to take the time to get your vaccination to help protect our community.

Find out about current information about flu vaccines and who is and isn’t eligible.

Quarantine travel support for staff

If you are a member of staff who has been living permanently in an amber or red list country during the most recent phase of the pandemic – and have concerns about travelling back to the UK and require support due to the quarantine measures in place, please email HR Director, Siobhan O’Reilly: s.oreilly@sussex.ac.uk.

Questions

If you have more questions about our plans, email covidquestions@sussex.ac.uk.

We have a hotline for students and parents to call if they have questions about our response, plans or support: 01273 876500.

You can also read about how Sussex is responding to Covid-19.