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Greater Manchester move to Tier 4 and our University Operations in January

31 Dec 2020

A message from Professor Nalin Thakkar, Chair of the Campus Safety Group and Vice-President for Social Responsibility

The University of Manchester

We hope that you are all keeping safe and well, and have been able to take some time to relax and recharge over the Christmas break. We continue to live in challenging times, and the optimism of the roll out of a further vaccine to be delivered in the UK has been accompanied by the news of additional restrictions in many areas. 

As you no doubt will be aware, Greater Manchester is now in Tier 4 (to be reviewed on 18 Jan 2021) and we wanted to outline what this will mean for you. 

In-person, on-campus teaching and learning

Our University remains open, and our Library study spaces will also remain available to book, for those students who need to be on campus. The government has been clear that the evidence shows face-to-face teaching to be safe; however, extensive travel and mixing of students at the start of the year poses a significant risk of increasing infections. On the advice from government and following our own considerations, we will continue with only very limited in-person, on-campus teaching and assessments on some accredited programmes, for the remainder of Semester 1 in January. Most of our undergraduates have no teaching in January in any case, while other PGT teaching and the great majority of our assessments will, as planned, be online. 

Students who have already been advised that they are required on campus for accreditation requirements or scheduled on-campus assessments in January should therefore return as planned on the date advised by their programme teams.  However, all students who have an option to return during January but are not required on-campus should stay at their current location unless they have a particular personal reason to be on campus (this might involve wellbeing or a need to access facilities).

Research activity

Research activity will continue as it has been doing with COVID-19 safety measures in place, and staff working from home where possible. 

For Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) the campus will be open and available to continue research activities, however PGRs should work from home as much as they are able to, where on-site facilities are not required.

Staff expected to be on campus in January 

The safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff is our priority; this means clinically extremely vulnerable staff should not go to campus, as shielding advice should be followed for Tier 4 areas. Please contact your line manager if you are affected by this advice.

If you do not fall in to this category but have concerns about being on campus, please speak to your line manager in the first instance to talk through your concerns and understand the COVID-19 safety steps which are in place across the University. 

We are continuing to offer testing for all students and staff returning to campus. These should be booked in advance online through our testing website

Limited catering services will be available on campus for take-away only.

Staff working from home

Staff who are working from home should continue to do so unless advised otherwise by your line manager. You should not travel to campus to use University testing, but should use your local NHS test and trace service if you have symptoms.

Staff with childcare/caring responsibilities

With the announcement that some schools will have a phased return for the new school term, we continue to recognise that some staff may need additional support and flexibility. There are a variety of options available to support all members of staff to manage their work-life balance, and you should speak to your line manager in the first instance. 

Your wellbeing 

Your wellbeing is our priority and the University has an extensive range of services and activities to help support you. This includes the free 24/7 helpline launched in December which provides confidential help and support from trained counsellors and advisors. Whether you are working on campus, from home or popping to the supermarket please continue to follow government guidance – wash your hands, cover your face and make space.

You all continue to work tirelessly to support our students and research, thank you for your continued dedication and support across the University. 

I wish you all a very safe and happy New Year when it comes! I am sure we are all looking forward to 2021.

Professor Nalin Thakkar
Chair of the Campus Safety Group and Vice-President for Social Responsibility