Working and teaching on campus

Schools and Professional Services colleagues are co-ordinating plans for how students and staff will return to campus in stages. 

This year we have, of course, made additional preparations. For example, we have created new walkways and navigation aids, to ensure safely spaced movement around campus.

Important dates

Take a look at our full term dates.

Students’ teaching and learning

There will be a mix of classroom-based, laboratory-based and remote learning.

Students can expect a minimum of 11 hours of live interactive learning per module, either in the classroom or online, across the semester. This will enable them to engage with their tutors and fellow students.

Health and safety on campus

Our first priority is to make sure that campus will be a safe place to work, study and live. All plans are being developed with a commitment to the health and safey of our campus community.

Please familiarise yourself with the Government's social distancing rules, which we are following and adjusting our safety measures.

The Health and Safety Committee, chaired by Chief Operating Officer Tim Westlake, has trade union representation and is meeting every two weeks to consider these matters. 

We have developed some Health & Safety Covid-19 resources and we will share further details with staff as soon as we have more information.

Expected behaviour on campus

The global coronavirus pandemic means that now, more than ever, we all need to support each other, by behaving with mutual respect and care, and upholding the values of our University - Kindness, Integrity, Inclusion, Collaboration and Courage - as we work together and commit to this pledge by signing up online (either in name or anonymously).

Rules of the Classroom such as hand washing, wearing a face covering and maintaining safe social distancing, will be displayed in all rooms. We’re encouraging all teaching staff to use face visors, which will be made available by the University. This allows easier communication during teaching.

Training for in-person teaching

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) are running a comprehensive programme of training for academic staff. The Teaching Online, Learning Anywhere Canvas site has been revamped with an extended range of resources and pedagogical guidance.
Further guidance and induction materials are being prepared to show staff and students what to expect in the classrooms. These will be shared shortly.

Student Engagement and Attendance

As teaching and contact with students is now blended, we have looked to update our guidance on recording attendance and engagement. Whilst engagement with on-line content via Canvas will be the first means of identifying where students may be struggling to engage with teaching and learning (and therefore may require support), recording attendance at face-to-face and on-line synchronous teaching and contacts will also play a crucial part. This will support student welfare interventions that may be needed; help us meet compliance requirements (e.g. for UKVI); and it will support the requirements for Public Health England’s Track and Trace system.

As physical registers cannot be circulated between students, for health and safety reasons, one tool that may help staff recording attendance is the (re)introduction of the attendance function on the Sussex Mobile App. This may be a useful solution in many scenarios, and you can read the guidance on using the Sussex Mobile App [156.54KB].

Teaching colleagues can also find guidance on recording attendance in the current context [PDF 280.19KB].

There is fuller process guidance for colleagues responsible for monitoring engagement and attendance [PDF 204.59].

Guide to Using Administrative Report in Canvas (if preferred to Cognos report) [1.73MB].

As a member of staff who is working face to face with students, will the university be providing me with a face covering?

The University have procured a large number of disposable face masks which will be available for staff that need to be face to face in their interactions with students or staff. Other protective measures have also been put in place in many areas, such as Perspex screens for additional safety. We do recommend that staff and students carry their own personal face covering with them at all times when on campus, as you would do in any situation these days which might mean you are mixing with people not normally in your household or bubble.

As a member of staff do I need a face covering?

Whether you need to use a face covering, surgical mask or visor in your work area will depend upon the risk assessment for your work area. Where effective social distancing can be maintained then the risk assessment may indicate no coverings are required but in others this may not be the case and surgical masks and visors may be made mandatory. Such areas will provided with suitable signage accordingly.

In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. Face coverings may be reusable or single-use. A scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering that securely fits round the side of the face is also a face covering. It is a matter of personal choice for staff and students which form of face covering they choose to wear.

There is further Government guidance on the wearing of face coverings.

Colleagues are also reminded of the need to only wear face coverings where necessary and to remove them if safe to do so in order to reduce the impact on those who may lip read.

I would like to see what the work space looks like before I have to return to working on campus, is this possible?

Yes and we would encourage you to do this through your line manager who can arrange for a safe tour of the area. There are also campus events being held which may help to make you feel more reassured about the preparations that have already and are ongoing to make campus safe for return. The calendar of events include webinars, campus tours and coffee and cake events for academic staff. We will let you know more information about this as soon as possible.

Will the entrances be marked clearly on buildings with one-way systems as you approach the building? 

The Health and Safety team will endeavour to improve route marking well in advance of entry and exit points.

How will we ensure social distancing is maintained while moving between buildings? 

Student marshals will support the flow of key areas in buildings to help everyone get to their classes in a way that ensures social distancing is maintained. There will be clear signage to support traffic through key areas including: study spaces in the Library; Schools and additional study spaces; and ITS computer rooms.

We also have staggered Library access, with our click to study service, ensuring that socially distanced measures are in place and introduced a booking system app for study space (enabling track and trace).
Buildings with one-way systems will be clearly marked at the entrances as you approach the building.

Can we have information on when School office screens will be fitted? 

Provision and set-up of screens is part of the building opening and preparations. SEF will provide and fix Perspex screens in accordance with risk assessments.  

Where can I find more health and safety guidance? 

You can visit our Health and Satefy section of these webpages where you can find the latest Government and PHE advice and guidance and how you can protect yourself and others from Covid-19.

Where do I find the latest HR guidance and policies?

You can visit our plans for the Autumn term HR pages which has useful link to:

How will ventilation be managed in teaching spaces? 

The SEF team worked hard to ensure all campus spaces have adequate ventilation and provided assurance to the H&S team that ventilation in accessible areas meets the CIBSE standards. These measures include:

  • Checking all accessible spaces against existing H&S requirements to provide adequate supplies of fresh air
  • Air condition filter units have been changed and units have been set to bring in air from outside where possible
  • Some windowless rooms (e.g. lecture theatres) have air-handling systems that provide ventilation which is not immediately apparent
  • Areas where this cannot be confirmed or that develop faults may be closed

An additional H&S control to ventilation is face coverings.

Will we be able to deliver large group lectures face to face?

The University Executive Group and the wider leadership team have been systematically reviewing the guidance published by SAGE on 4 September and the guidance published by the Department for Education early on 10 September. We are reviewing this and further information is going to be shared in due course. As ever, the health and safety of our staff and students is paramount.

Most of my seminars involve students working in groups, how will this be possible? 

Please see the guidance for in-person teaching. The standard layout will be desks facing forwards with the lecturer two metres distant at the front. We know that doesn't suit every teaching style and so when health and safety are alerted to the fact that somebody wants to teach in a different way, they can advise on how their pedagogical style could be supported with mitigation. This has been done  across a variety of schools, including Engineering and Informatics most recently.

How are you going to ensure that off campus teaching keeps to the same safety standards as that on campus? 

Please refer to the Health and Safety webpages.  Further support, guidance and resources can be found for DSE workstation assessments and on the wellbeing pages.

We do not want to put any of our staff at risk, so please have discussions with your line manager about working from home, what equipment you require and taking care of your wellbeing, e.g. taking breaks.