Find out the latest guidance and information about the impact of COVID-19 on the University.

COVID-19: ADVICE FOR STaff, STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY
Working for RGU

COVID-19

Working for RGU

How the Coronavirus arrangements will affect how you work as RGU staff.

Planning for the New Semester

What are the university's plans for returning to campus?

We have been planning for our return to campus in line with the Scottish Government’s four-phase route-map to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

We are taking a university-wide approach to the transition back onto campus, and we are working to ensure that all aspects of the institution are managed to make effective use of the space on campus with public health measures in place.  

From Monday 10 August, current access restrictions to the campus will ease so that we can continue to prepare for the next session. All teaching and professional support department buildings will be open from 07:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday each week to allow more staff to start to return to campus.

As part of our preparations we have developed a university COVID-19 corporate risk assessment.

When will I need to return to campus?

Staff will be able to return to make the necessary preparations for the new academic year with the agreement of their line manager and approval from their head of school or department.

While we are not expecting that all staff will return to the campus immediately, or at the same time, it is important that we begin to gradually open up the campus, recognising it must be done in a managed manner.  We will therefore continue with predominantly remote working arrangements for the meantime to regulate the numbers of staff on campus.

Staff returning will be given a mandatory return to campus induction.

What safety measures will be in place on campus?

The health and safety of our community will remain our priority. When people are on campus we want them to feel welcome and as safe as possible at all times. This includes implementation of robust hygiene measures such as providing of hand sanitiser at key locations, detailed guidance for students and staff on physical distancing, and measures to ensure that building occupancy levels adhere to national guidance.

Heads of schools or departments, or someone delegated by them, will ensure that room capacity is not exceeded and that the space usage is managed appropriately to maintain social distancing. They will also ensure staff have completed a return to campus induction.

All staff and Postgraduate Research Students must sign-in and out of buildings and adhere to the local protocols that have been put in place for their area. Anyone on campus must comply with social distancing rules, make appropriate use of face-coverings and make regular use of hand-washing or sanitising gels as previously advised. Everyone should view the orientation pack prior to visiting the campus.

Vending machines will be available for drinks and snacks. In the short-term, staff and students spending a long period on campus may wish to bring their own provisions. We will continue to review catering options as we move towards semester 1.

You can find out more about the current changes that have been introduced on campus in the orientation pack.


Home Working

Is there any IT guidance to help staff with home working?

A range of guidance is available to support staff in home working, including accessing outlook, desktop, voicemails and using video conferencing.

The IT Helpdesk is continuing to operate and can be contacted on ITHelpdesk@rgu.ac.uk or 01224 262777.

What are the HR arrangements for working from home?

In light of the current climate, the university has made temporary changes to its policies, procedures and practices in relation to flexible working, dependents leave, absence, sick pay and annual leave. We would recommend regular contact with your line manager and colleagues when working from home. This is to ensure you have the support required from your manager and you maintain good working relationships with your colleagues. Regular communication will also serve to boost the morale of your colleagues at this challenging time.

What should I do if I have dependants to care for?

Many staff will be in this position and we would encourage you to discuss alternative arrangements in terms of how your work can be completed with your line manager if you haven’t already done so. The university is encouraging managers to be flexible and agree other ways of working with staff, for example some staff are working some of their hours in the evening or weekend, which is fine if it works for them. You can only do what you can and it is very much appreciated. We would encourage you to discuss your work/life balance with your line manager on a regular basis to ensure it is manageable.

What mental health and wellbeing resources are available to staff?

During this challenging time, we want to ensure you are supported by the university and your line manager. It is important that we continue to communicate with each other as much as possible even if it’s a five-minute call with your manager or colleague to talk about non-work-related activity.

The university has excellent resources that support staff wellbeing. Lifeworks includes the employee assistance programme which includes a free and confidential telephone counselling and advisory support service which is available to all staff. There is also an on-line chat facility, and self-support resources with programmes on stress, anxiety, coping etc.

The Silvercloud resource is available to staff as well as students and offers Cognitive Behavioural Training Programmes. Each CBT programme, tailored to your specific needs, consists of 7-8 modules that can be completed in your own own time and pace.

The HR Professional Team are also available to support you with fair treatment advice if your concern is work related.

How do I ensure I am safe and comfortable working at home?

Not everyone will have a dedicated ‘home office’ space to work from however we want to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible when working remotely. The university’s occupational health & safety team can provide further information on DSE assessments and the support that is available in that regard. 

We would encourage you to try to replicate your work space set up on campus as much as possible when working from home, but recognise this may be challenging. Discuss your set up with your line manager and colleagues who may have helpful hints and tips. Take regular screen breaks, stretch and move around throughout the day. If you feel uncomfortable let your line manager know and contact the Occupational Health & Safety team.

We have adapted our maternity and nursing mothers risk assessment for home working, so if you are currently in one of these categorises please contact the HR team and they will support you with the completion of this.

How do staff take annual leave whilst home working?

All annual leave should be taken in the leave year in which it’s due. This is to ensure you spend time resting and recuperating during this challenging time.

Is there information governance guidance for home working?

Data protection and freedom of information legislation still applies when working from home even when using personally owned equipment. Staff should familiarise themselves with the guidance to ensure data is kept secure and ensure that the university remains compliant with data protection and freedom of information legislation.

Will I be able to access my office?

The university teaching and office buildings on the Garthdee Campus is closed to all staff and students until further notice. Access will be restricted to the Sir Ian Wood building for business-critical activities and subject to approval by the relevant University Management Group.

What will happen to my mail?

Royal Mail and courier deliveries will continue to be received at SIWB and will be sorted into schools/departments as required. The delivered items will then be placed on individual tables within room N309 for checking by a designated staff from each school or department at mutually agreed designated times.

What will happen to enquiries received by the RGU switchboard?

An unstaffed switchboard will be in operation with a pre-recorded message asking callers to email switchboard@rgu.ac.uk who will direct your enquiry to the appropriate individual, department or school.

This mailbox will be monitored remotely by the Estates team who will direct emails received to the appropriate individuals, schools  and departments.


University Business Travel

I am due to visit an affected area for study/business travel e.g. conference or course, what should I do?

In light of the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and to manage the risk, the university will not approve any business travel out-with the UK until further notice, unless under exceptional circumstances.


Employee Absence

How do I report a sickness absence when working from home?

You should report sickness absence to your line manager on the first day of absence and continue to keep your line manager updated throughout the course of your sickness absence.

If absence is unrelated to COVID-19 and exceeds 7 days then you should provide a ‘fit note’ from your GP if possible. If you are unable to obtain a ‘fit note’ then you should inform your line manager of the reasons why. It may be the case that you can provide medical certification a later date.

If your absence is a result of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms you should notify your line manager on the first day of absence and confirm the date your symptoms first appeared. You do not need to continue contacting your line manager every morning, however your line manager will contact you to check how you are doing.

If you have COVID-19 or have been advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ after 7 days of sickness absence.

What if I am currently on long-term sick leave?

If you were already absent from work through long-term sickness absence or have been recently signed off with a long-term sickness absence which is unrelated to COVID-19, you should continue to keep your line manager updated on your condition and email or text photos of your fit notes where possible. Late fit notes will not be penalised.

What sick pay will I be entitled to during this time?

Absences related to COVID-19 will be discounted for the purposes of calculating sick pay entitlement. You will be paid in full, regardless of your length of service if absent with COVID-19. This includes if you are self-isolating as a result of being symptomatic or you have been instructed to do so through UK/Scottish Government advice or by a medical professional.

If you are absent due to a non-COVID-19 related reason you will be entitled to your normal sick pay entitlement.

If you are currently signed off by your GP with another condition and are also classed as highly vulnerable (e.g. someone with cancer) and you have been advised to shield for 12 weeks you should notify your line manager as you may be entitled to further sick pay if you are currently on half pay or statutory sick pay.


Course Changes

How do I make interim changes to my course or module in light of COVID-19?

Complete the proforma and submit it to the relevant Academic Quality Officer via COVID19CourseChanges@rgu.ac.uk:

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