The information below is for members of staff to understand the College approach to managing COVID and procedures to follow while working at College.
Exeter College (Oxford) is not an organisation that has been ordered to close as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, we remain open, albeit that the scale of our operations is currently significantly reduced.
The government has recently issued updated sector-specific guidance on how to make workplaces safe in the current pandemic, which we will be following. More detailed information is contained within the specific Covid-19 risk assessment conducted by the College, and which is published on the College website.
As an employer, we remain committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all employees as far as is practicable. We have therefore published this document to outline our expectations if you physically attend work at any of the College sites. These guidelines are intended to protect you and your fellow members of staff, and we ask that you adhere to them accordingly.
If you have any specific concerns about attending work at this time, or if you have any questions about this guidance document, please contact either your line manager or the HR Officer as soon as possible.
This guidance applies to all employees of Exeter College (Oxford).
It is not intended to be exhaustive, and individual departments will have additional requirements to minimise risks within their particular areas of work; however, this general guidance will address a number of the key issues relating to working at the College during the Covid-19 outbreak.
We will keep this document under review and we will update the guidance as appropriate, in line with changing government guidelines and health advice.
- General principles
- Working from home
Members of staff who can work from home may continue to do so, with the permission of their line manager.
Members of staff who are not able to work from home should speak with their manager and confirm whether they are required to physically attend the workplace. If you are required to physically attend the workplace, you should follow the guidelines set out below.
- Hygiene and infection control
All employees must follow the guidelines promoted by Public Health England, the NHS, and the World Health Organisation on infection control whilst at work and in their daily lives. This includes:
- Regularly cleaning your hands using alcohol-based hand rub, or soap and water;
- When coughing and sneezing, covering your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue, throwing this tissue away immediately and washing your hands; and
- Avoiding close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.
Notices promoting infection control best practice will be displayed throughout the College. We will also ensure that adequate stocks of soap and hand sanitiser solutions are available in the workplace, and we will ensure that work stations and high-touch surfaces (e.g. door handles, keyboards, telephones, etc) are cleaned regularly.
As of 7th September, all staff, students, visitors, contractors, and members of the public will be required to use face coverings across all Collegiate University buildings as set out in the face-coverings policy and FAQs.
If you are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, you must stay at home and you must inform your line manager as soon as possible. You should not attend work. At the time of writing, the Government defines the symptoms of Covid-19 as the recent onset of:
- a new continuous cough; and/or
- a high temperature; and/or
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell.
Full details about Covid-19 symptoms can be found online at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/
You may also be required to remain at home, and not attend work, if other members of your household are exhibiting symptoms.
Members of staff at the Collegiate University can also use the University testing centres. (At the time of writing the service is available to those who have a University Card and an SSO password)
If you have any questions, please discuss them with your line manager, or the College Nurse, or use the online 111 symptom checker: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
- Social distancing
In line with government guidance, you should seek to maintain social distancing at all times when you are working on any of the College’s premises. Normally, this will mean staying at least 2 metres away from other individuals, or 1m away if you have taken measures to minimise the risk of transmission (such as wearing a mask).
In the event of any emergency (e.g. accident or fire alarm), members of staff are not required to observe social distancing if it would be unsafe to do so. Your health and safety is the primary concern in these situations, and you should follow the usual procedures for accidents, fire alarms, etc.
If you are one of the College’s First Aiders and you are required to provide assistance to someone in College, you should pay particular attention to good hygiene immediately afterwards, including washing your hands thoroughly. Extra First Aid PPE packs will be made available.
- Attending work
- Before returning to work
Prior to returning to work, you will be asked to complete an online training session about Covid-19 awareness. It is compulsory that you complete this training, and that you provide documentary proof of completion (e.g. certificate) to your line manager or the HR Officer.
The link to the online training session can be found here.
- Arriving at, and exiting, the workplace
When arriving at, or exiting, one of the College sites, you must ensure that you follow any signage, including any markings which indicate a one-way flow at entry and exit points.
In addition, you must wash your hands and/or use the hand sanitiser provided as soon as you enter the College, in order to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus to surfaces that you may touch in the College (e.g. door handles, keypads, etc). The College will provide hand sanitiser stations at the main entrance(s) to each of the residential sites.
You should also wash your hands thoroughly once you reach your workstation or department.
It is also recommended that you either wash your hands thoroughly, or use the hand sanitiser provided, immediately before you exit the College.
- Signing in and out
It is important that we know which members of staff are working in College each day, so that we know which areas of College have been used (and therefore need to be cleaned), is on site in the event of an emergency as well as support the Test and Trace process.
Given that you may be working on your own in your department, therefore, we would ask you to let the Porters Lodge or your Line Manager know that you will be working in College. This is for your own protection and safety, and will only be until such time as the College is able to return to a more normal mode of operation. You can contact the Porter’s Lodge by phone at 01865 279600.
- Moving around College buildings and premises
Wherever possible, you should avoid non-essential trips within College buildings and premises.
Where this is not possible, you should seek to maintain appropriate social distancing measures (e.g. 2m gap between yourself and other members of staff), and you should take particular care when using potentially high-traffic areas (e.g. corridors).
- Desk-based working
Wherever possible, individuals working in one place should only use the workstation assigned to them. If it is not possible to avoid sharing a workstation, the usage of the workstation should be shared by the smallest possible number of people.
Ideally, occupancy levels will be managed in such a way as to enable social distancing within offices.
Where this is not possible, you should speak with your manager so that they can consider ways to arrange the office layout to minimise the risk of transmission. This might include arranging workstations so that people work side-by-side or facing away from each other (rather than face-to-face), or using screens to separate people.
- Other areas of work
Those members of staff whose work is not desk-based should speak with their line manager to understand the specific arrangements that relate to their department or area of work. This will apply particularly for those working in teams where several members of staff may be working in close proximity (e.g. Kitchen, Catering, etc).
Until further notice, all formal College meetings should be conducted using remote working tools (e.g. Microsoft Teams).
Informal meetings should only take place where absolutely necessary, and you must maintain appropriate social distancing at all times. You should also use well ventilated rooms wherever possible, and avoid sharing pens and other objects.
- Break times
When taking breaks, you must ensure that you maintain appropriate social distancing measures. Where possible, you are encouraged to take breaks outside in order to minimise the risk of infection or transmission.
The Kitchen and Hall may not be fully operational for a period of time, and so the College may not be able to provide lunch to staff. Your manager will be able to provide current information.
You may, in any case, wish to bring your own food to work to minimise the need for contact with other members of the College. This will also mean that you do not need to leave the College to buy food, and thus potentially expose yourself to infection.
- Use of communal facilities
When using toilet facilities within the College, you should ensure that you observe good hygiene practices. This may include wiping used surfaces with the cleaning materials provided. The College will also ensure that these facilities are cleaned regularly.
As far as possible, we encourage you not to use shower facilities within the College. If you need to use changing rooms, you should follow any signage and use marked changing areas, maintain social distancing wherever practicable, and wipe any used surfaces with the cleaning materials provided. The College will also ensure that these areas are cleaned regularly.
You must ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly before exiting any communal facility (e.g. toilet, changing room, etc) to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
- Shared transport
Where possible, you should avoid travelling with other people in shared College vehicles. If this is not possible, you should (as far as is practicable) limit the number of people in the vehicle, maximise ventilation in the vehicle (e.g. by opening windows), and avoid sitting face-to-face.
You should also let your line manager know that you have travelled in a College vehicle, so that appropriate arrangements can be made to clean the vehicle between uses.
- Handling deliveries
We recognise that stock deliveries, as well as regular postal deliveries, will continue; indeed, these will be necessary to ensure the continued operation of the College. Whilst we will take measures to minimise the number of deliveries to the College, there will nonetheless be times when you may come into contact with delivery drivers or couriers, or the items that they have delivered.
As far as possible, you should try to adhere to social distancing guidelines when taking deliveries. This might include asking the person making the delivery to leave the goods in a marked area, from which you can collect them once the individual has left.
In any event, you must wash your hands thoroughly once you have finished handling the goods that have been delivered. We also recommend that you wash your hands thoroughly afterwards if you are asked to use a shared pen or device in order to sign to confirm receipt of a delivery.
- Support and Guidance
The coronavirus pandemic is a unique situation. We understand that it may be a confusing or distressing time for you, and that you may have ongoing questions or concerns.
Where this is the case, please talk to us. We want to support every member of staff as far as we are able to do so.
If you have specific medical questions in relation to Covid-19 and the workplace, please contact Helen Thornton (College Nurse) at email@example.com
The College has carried out a Covid Risk Assessment which will be reviewed as necessary to reflect changes in Government or University guidance and College policy.
If you have questions about your role, please speak with your line manager in the first instance.
If you have any other questions, please speak with Mark Sinfield (HR Officer). You can contact Mark by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 01865 279656.