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Government move to lift restrictions, 19 July: University operations next steps

14 Jul 2021

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

University of Manchester aerial view

Dear colleagues,

The government has confirmed that from Monday, 19 July, England will move into step 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap, meaning that all legal limits on social contact will be removed.

Our approach from Monday, 19 July will be a managed return of staff back to campus. Rather than providing unrestricted access to campus over the summer period, our focus will be on increasing research and laboratory activity, post-graduate teaching, confirmation and clearing, and preparing for the new academic year. 

Prioritising these activities will enable us to manage the demand on our essential support services, such as IT and Estates and Facilities.  Leaders and managers across our University will be working hard to ensure a safe transition to working on campus so please bear with them as they develop their plans over the coming days and weeks. 

We expect and are planning for a wider return to campus for staff from Wednesday, 1 September 2021 in advance of the start of the new academic year. For Professional Services (PS) colleagues, this will be part of our wider hybrid working pilot. We will confirm further details about this on Thursday, 19 August 2021.

Staff supporting PGT students should note that the current arrangements for PGT students who are carrying out remaining project work over the summer will remain in place.

What should I do on Monday, 19 July?

  • From Monday, 19 July you should continue to work as you are at present, unless you have been advised differently by your line manager or supervisor.  Line managers will give you at least one week’s notice that you are required to work on campus. You can speak to your line manager or supervisor to request a re-orientation day to ensure your workplace is as you require and allay any worries you may have about coming back.
  • For those staff and PGRs already working on campus you will be advised locally of any changes to the way you are working, for example removing limits on the number of people allowed in certain spaces.

What will working on campus from Monday, 19 July look like?

As part of our managed return to campus, we have adopted the following guidelines until Tuesday, 31 August 2021:

  • We strongly recommend the continued wearing of face-coverings whilst moving around indoors on campus.
  • The legal requirement for social distancing will no longer be in place. However, consideration should be given to continue with social distancing measures in areas of the campus where it is possible to do so without restricting activity until the wider return to the campus in September.
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive, you are required to self-isolate and not come to work on campus for ten days. You can get further information on what to do on StaffNet.
  • We encourage staff and PGRs working on campus to get tested twice a week whether you are displaying symptoms or not.  You can find out how to get hold of a test on StaffNet.
  • Staff who have not been vaccinated because of an underlying condition, or those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to work from home. We have FAQs on clinically extremely vulnerable staff on StaffNet.
  • Staff should continue to follow the government’s advice on travel and you can find out more at our travel FAQs and travel guidance flowchart on StaffNet.

Our expectation is that there will be no restrictions on campus from Wednesday, 1 September, but we will confirm this on Thursday, 19 August. However, our planning for 2021/22 academic year takes into account that further government restrictions may be imposed, and we need to be ready to change our ways of working as required.

Thank you

Since March 2020, everyone has worked incredibly hard in ways none of us have experienced before. The next few weeks will mark a major step away from the life of restrictions we have all been living, but we have also seen how fast things can change.

Thank you for everything you have done so far to help us reach this point. By continuing to take sensible precautions you continue to play an important part in keeping us all safe.

Best wishes,

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

Further information: