Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Coronavirus (Covid-19): Frequently Asked Questions - Staff
Last Updated 02 April 2020 at 19:00
Bangor University is closely monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) and continues to follow the advice of the UK authorities. We are doing everything possible to keep our staff and students informed during the current situation.
We understand that staff and students may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The World Health Organisation has produced a helpful introduction to the virus: WHO: Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
It is important that both staff and students keep the University informed of any changes to their contact details. For staff members, please notify Human Resources (HR@bangor.ac.uk), and students should update their details on MyBangor.
- LATEST UPDATES
- WORK Q&A
- GUIDANCE FOR MANAGERS
- YOUR WELL-BEING AND VOLUNTEERING
- UNIVERSITY Q&A
- ABSENCE Q&A
- COVID-19 HEALTH Q&A
- TRAVEL Q&A
Read the latest communication from the University - Payslips - 25-3-20
In these exceptional circumstances and due to remote working arrangements it will not be possible to distribute payslips to staff members in the normal manner.
We would like to assure you, however, that you will be paid as normal. This disruption is specific to the provision of the payslip only. A further update will be provided next month.
RWe appreciate your patience and co-operation at this time. Should you have any queries please contact the Payroll Manager, Linda Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Finance & Human Resources Departments
Read the latest communication from the University - Research - 25-3-20
Dear staff and postgraduate research students,
We realise that these are difficult times and we want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to enable you to complete your research successfully. However, the appearance and spread of COVID-19 is an urgent and international public health challenge and we have a duty, as an institution, to consider and mitigate any risks of harm to you and the people and organisations you work with in your research.
Below, we offer some general principles about research at Bangor University in the short to medium term. As you can imagine, there are many different types of research in Bangor University and assessing the implications for individual research projects will take some time.
Here are some general principles:
Bangor University is suspending its research activity.
Given the risks of infection, restrictions on travel and access to materials, the University will suspend the data collection aspects of all ‘routine’ research activity. This involves activity that requires access to University buildings/facilities, face to face engagement, both for lab and fieldwork. This decision is consistent with a number of other Universities, and will be enforced until the end of April, when the situation will be reviewed.
There are almost no exceptions to this suspension
One clear exception are settings where plants and animals need to be kept alive. This moves the University to a setting similar to that which we employ over each Christmas. If pausing your research project would have important health implications (such as being in the midst of a drug trial), please discuss the issue with your line manager.
Meetings should continue as normal where possible, but remotely.
Using online platforms, meetings should continue where possible and appropriate. This includes lab-meetings, meeting with partner research organisations, student-supervisor meetings, Annual Research Reviews, and Viva voce examinations.
Developing a forward plan
Research teams should create a risk assessment of the challenges and mitigations relevant to each project, which form a research plan. The Principal Investigator of the project or Supervisor of the postgraduate study (PhD, MPhil, MRes) has the primary responsibility for devising this plan. Any plan should include whether any adjustments to your research procedures and protocols are necessary, and whether you need any permissions from (for example) research ethics committees (Bangor University's or externals), or any external funders or agencies who support your research.
Plans should be co-ordinated by School and College Directors of Research. For research postgraduates, activity should be co-ordinated by PGR Leads, to the Dean of Postgraduate Studies. The Pro Vice Chancellor for Research can then liaise with the University Executive to highlight issues.
We are aware that there are discipline-specific, project-specific, and building-specific issues that need to be co-ordinated to ensure continuity. We are also aware that there a need for prioritisation of our now more limited resources.
A discussion within your research teams should be conducted (remotely) as soon as possible, and a plan put in place by the middle of April.
Effects will be variable across the University
Research activity across the University is hugely varied, not only across discipline but also across the normal cycle of a research project. A small number of projects can probably continue almost as normal (e.g. internet-based research, or those at the stage of analysing already collected data or write up).
Unfortunately, many projects may well become impossible to continue as planned and may have to be suspended (e.g. research needing fieldwork, face-to-face meetings with the general public or contacts with medically vulnerable populations etc). Still other projects will continue in a modified form (e.g. with different ways and places of working, changes in the nature of fieldwork, modifications in research goals etc.). Your research project will not be unique in having to be modified in this way – and your experience is doubtless replicated across the UK and the world.
Access to buildings and facilities will be limited, but may still be possible
Government advice suggests that movement should be severely curtailed. If you do need to access University buildings, please discuss with your line manager about these arrangements.
Changes may have implications for governance and ethics
Some modifications of research protocols or the duration of data collection, may mean changes to your ethics approvals and possibly to the way that the University supports your project to ensure it can be completed safely. The University will seek to ensure that any modifications or changes to your projects can be completed as quickly as possible although we need to acknowledge that government and other advice may change in the coming weeks.
Extensions may be possible, but we lack clarity
Where necessary, the University will seek to provide extensions for projects. However, we are conscious of the lack of clarity on the question of funded extensions and Visa implications for both staff and students. We will provide more information when this is available from the relevant agencies. Exceptions to some Regulations may be necessary.
We are doing everything we can to deal with the challenges of COVID-19, but please bear with us if things do not run as smoothly as we might like during this uncertain period. We appreciate your patience and assistance and are fully committed to supporting your research and the safe completion of your projects.
Prof Oliver Turnbull, Deputy Vice Chancellor
Prof David Thomas, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research & Impact
Prof Andrew Hiscock, Dean of Postgraduate Studies
Prof Nicola Callow, Dean of CHS
Prof Paul Spencer, Dean of CoESE
Prof Andrew Edwards, Dean of CAHB
Read the latest communication from the University - 25-3-20
In light of the amended government advice on Monday the University has decided to close the majority of its buildings from 5pm today, Wednesday, 25th March, onwards.
This will mean that, with the exception of the Main Arts / New Arts buildings which will remain on SALTO access, the reminder of the University campus will be locked, with very limited access for critical functions only to areas which have been pre-approved by the Executive.
The CR1 and CR2 computer rooms in the New Arts Building will be accessible for students so that those remaining in Bangor can be supported with their on-line learning and assessments. The language laboratories on the third floor of the New Arts building will be available for staff who are unable to record their lectures from home. Other seminar rooms in the building are also available for staff to use to deliver lectures or hold viva examinations. It is essential that Government guidelines on social-distancing are observed whilst using any of these facilities.
Staff who require pre-approved access to areas of the University (such as laboratories) will be contacted by their Dean or Head of School to confirm the local arrangements.
We would be grateful if staff didn’t try and access other university buildings during this time unless it is critical that they do so. Security staff have been advised not to allow staff into buildings unless this has been arranged in advance and approved by the appropriate Head of School / Head of Professional Service.
Read the latest communication from the University - 20-3-20
As the pandemic crisis accelerates across North Wales, and the World, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all on behalf of the University Council, for everything that you do for this University and our students. These are extraordinary and challenging circumstances for us all, unprecedented times indeed.
It was inevitable that we would be taking some difficult decisions. As we progress to a period of online teaching and self-isolation, of closing buildings and postponing events and performances, the majority of you will be working from home over the coming weeks. Rest assured that your commitment, professionalism and skills will be just as crucial, whether you are in work, or working from home.
Above all, we wish you and your loved ones the very best as you deal with personal difficulties produced by this crisis. Do please stay in touch with each other so that we all do our utmost to try to limit the anxiety that sickness and isolation can cause.
Finally, a word of thanks to all who are working to ensure that our information systems are working as effectively as possible in these challenging circumstances. And a special thank you to the Vice Chancellor and his Executive team for their strong leadership and unstinting efforts to secure the future success of this University.
Wishing you courage, health and strength for the duration,
Marian Wyn Jones, Chair of Council
Read the latest communication from the University - 17-3-20
As you will be aware the latest Government advice, published yesterday, advised that people should work from home where they can as part of a range of stringent new measures. Whilst the University remains open, you should work from home if you are able to do so. Please could you discuss in advance with your line manager or supervisor whether working from home is possible. If feasible, please discuss the practicalities such as ongoing communication and the expectations of duties to be undertaken whilst working from home.
Although not exhaustive, examples of home working could be grant submissions, REF process, pastoral care, certain admin tasks, answering student queries and marketing & recruitment. IT have some excellent updated resources which they highlighted in an email earlier today https://www.bangor.ac.uk/itservices/working-off-campus.php.en and you are encouraged to make full use of these at this time if you are working remotely. Good communication is an essential part of any successful home working arrangement.
In addition, Government advice states that those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), current list detailed below, to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. We strongly advise staff who fall into the following categories to work from home:
- those who are pregnant
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
It is important that if you are working from home that you remain in contact during the normal working hours. Please do use the resources indicated above.
However, it is recognised that because of the nature of some roles, home working would not be practical. Staff who remain in work should employ social distancing measures – advice is available online but further University specific information on this will follow shortly.
If you need to self-isolate because you or someone in your household displays symptoms, then you will need to do this for 14 days. Again, please inform your line manager or supervisor who will inform your Head of School or Department and in this case, they will inform HR. Please discuss with your line manager whether or not you are working from home during this period or taking sickness absence.
We will keep staff updated. We are doing everything we can to make this as smooth as possible but please bear with us if anything doesn’t quite work first time. Any queries should be discussed in the first instance with your manager; however, any further queries should be sent to email@example.com
Thank you for your patience and understanding during these challenging times while we try and continue to support staff and students.
Tracy Hibbert, Director of Human Resources
Read the latest communication from the University - 17-3-20
The University Executive met this morning to discuss the Covid-19 situation. Following yesterday’s government advice a further staff email will be sent shortly from HR in relation to working from home.
However we would like to inform you that the following services will close for the time being:
- Pontio arts programme with immediate effect (however the Pontio building – including Cegin - will remain open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.);
- Canolfan Brailsford, Treborth sports facilities, Normal site sports facilities and St Mary’s gym – will close at 5 p.m. on Friday 20th March;
- A number of catering outlets will also close over the coming days, however the catering provision will continue in Teras Restaurant and Teras Café at the moment. We should remember that the University remains open and that some of our colleagues across the university, including in halls, libraries, technical and professional services may not be able to work remotely, or are essential to keeping university operations running.
In an ever changing environment we will continue to communicate with you as and when things change, and we would like to reassure you that the University Executive is continuing to monitor government and public health advice.
Read the latest communication from the University - 15-3-20
Due to the fast changing situation regarding Covid-19, and in line with many other universities, the University Executive has taken the decision to suspend all face to face teaching with immediate effect, until the end of the academic year. Instead, from Monday 23rd March all teaching and other learning materials will be delivered online to enable you to continue with your studies. This applies to undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.
The University is taking these steps for the health, safety and wellbeing of staff, students and the wider community. Whilst there is no expectation for students to leave the university, this transition week from face to face to online teaching provides an opportunity for you to return home should you wish, especially due to the ever changing travel situation. Students who return home will not be disadvantaged. This transition week also allows for staff to further prepare for online teaching.
Postgraduate research students should contact their supervisor to discuss their studies.
In line with national regulatory bodies, students whose course involves professional placements (e.g. those in the College of Human Sciences) should attend placements as normal. You will receive further advice from your School shortly.
The summer examination period is likely to be affected. Wherever possible end of year assessment will be conducted through alternative means. This may include essays or open book exams, but please be assured that you will only be assessed in a way your studies have prepared you for. Further information will be available in the next two to three weeks.
The University remains open as usual, including Halls and Libraries, and staff will be available to provide advice and pastoral care to students.
Finally, I would like to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to support you during this difficult time.
Professor Iwan Davies, Vice-Chancellor
Am I able to work from home?
The University is following the Government guidance which advised that staff members should work from home if they are able to do so. It is recognised that because of the nature of some roles, home working would not be practical. Staff who remain in work should employ social distancing measures.
If I wish to remain in the workplace do I need my Line Managers approval?
The majority of the University campus will be locked, with very limited access for critical functions only to areas which have been pre-approved by the Executive. Staff who require pre-approved access to areas of the University (such as laboratories) will be contacted by their Dean or Head of School to confirm the local arrangements. We would be grateful if staff didn’t try and access other university buildings during this time unless it is critical that they do so. Security staff have been advised not to allow staff into buildings unless this has been arranged in advance and approved by the appropriate Head of School/Head of Professional Service.
What tasks can I undertake from home?
This will be dependent upon your role, and your duties and responsibilities. Although not exhaustive, examples of home working could be grant submissions, REF process, pastoral care, certain admin tasks, answering student queries and marketing & recruitment.
What if, because of the nature of my role, I’m unable to work from home – can I be asked to carry out other activities in the workplace?
The greater the number of self-isolation cases the greater the pressure that may be placed on the University in certain areas. You may be asked to carry out duties and responsibilities that may not be part of your current role and be outside of your immediate area of work but would be commensurate with your skills and abilities. In light of the latest Government advice, and the University’s decision to lock the majority of the campus this is very unlikely to take place, but we are asking staff to be flexible, and to pull together in these exceptional times.
GUIDANCE FOR MANAGERS
YOUR WELL-BEING AND VOLUNTEERING
Care First are doing daily webinars on a range of subjects, register here - March 30-April 3 Webinars
Well-Being Support Services
Please find below some useful resources to help you look after your mental health
Local Volunteering Opportunities
For those of you who have some free time and would like to help and volunteer in the local community please see a number of local contacts below. Opportunities could be being a Driver, Delivering Shopping or Prescriptions, Dog Walking or becoming a Telephone Befriender, amongst just a few.
Bored at home?
Which advice/guidance/information is the University following?
There are a number of sources that the University is using to inform our approach, including:
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice
- Public Health Wales
- NHS Direct Wales
- World Health Organisation
- UK Government
The University has established a Working Group to monitor and respond to the ongoing outbreak. The Governance and Compliance Office is co-ordinating general advice and guidance on this outbreak.
How will I receive the most up-to-date information?
Please follow the UK Government’s website for regular updates. In addition, this page will be updated regularly and if there are any significant updates then we will send an email to your Bangor University email account.
There have been reports of individuals being avoided or harassed
We have a zero tolerance approach to any reports of behaviour likely to cause harassment or intimidation. Anyone with concerns should report them to the Student Equality and Diversity Officer – Helen Munro, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: 01248 388021, the International Student Support Office, E-mail email@example.com / Tel: 01248 38 8430, or the Students Union on 01248 38800.
What is happening with expiring visas for those unable to return to their home country?
The Home Office have now updated their guidance on allowing all individuals who can’t leave the UK by their visa expiry date to stay here up to 31 May 2020, in the first instance, without any penalty.
If this applies to you then you are required to e-mail the UK Visas and Immigration Office explaining why you can’t leave. The e-mail address is: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk but only e-mail them closer to your actual expected leave date. You must provide specific details as per their website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.
Any members of staff who may be affected should also contact their line manager and Human Resources to let them know that you have contacted the UK Visas and Immigration Office.
Does the University remain open?
In light of the outbreak and Government advice the University curtailed its activity, and as of 5pm on Wednesday the 25th of March decided to close the majority of its buildings. This was communicated to staff via e-mail on the 25th of March, and the e-mail can be seen at the top of this web page.
Am I able to work from home in light of the decision to close Primary and Secondary Schools, and as such having caring responsibilities?
We appreciate that the closure of Schools will make home working more difficult. Please could you discuss with your line manager or supervisor what implications this may have for your working pattern. Suggested changes may be working more flexibly, i.e. working outside “normal office hours”, structuring your day differently, or sharing childcare provision with a partner if possible. It is important that you remain in contact with your line manager during this time. Please discuss your availability and contact details with your manager.
What if I’m unable to work from home, either because of the nature of my role, or because of caring responsibilities?
The University appreciates that this is a challenging situation. We would expect staff members to use their annual leave in such circumstances and to consider (in conjunction with their Line Managers) all possible options.
What if I become unwell whilst working from home, or show the symptoms of Covid 19?
It is imperative that you follow the Government’s advice on self isolation (a link to which is included below). If you are self isolating please inform your Line Manager and remain in contact with them, for example by phone or e-mail.
What medical evidence do I need to show the University if I’m self-isolating?
It is very unlikely that staff members will be allowed to visit their GP and get a fit note and will simply receive advice via NHS online resources. The University will therefore not require any evidence, and the period of self-isolation will be a self-certified period of absence. Again, we wish to re-iterate the importance of staff members maintaining contact with their Line Managers. If staff members become unwell, but with illnesses not related to Covid 19, again the University recognises the difficulties in obtaining medical advice such as fit notes, and should this not be possible, they will be able to self-certify their absence.
What if I need time off for a dependent who is showing symptoms?
Again, it is important that you discuss with your line manager. In agreement with your line manager you may wish to consider working from home (if feasible), using annual leave, taking unpaid leave, or a combination of these options. A link to the Time Off for Dependents / Emergencies is included here. Each case will be treated sensitively and on its merits.
Will I be instructed not to attend work if I could be at risk to others, for example, if I’m displaying the symptoms?
The University has a duty of care to its employees, and this may therefore involve staff being instructed not to attend work.
As a Line Manager, who should I tell if I have a staff member who is self-isolating or is a confirmed case?
COVID-19 HEALTH Q&A
What advice should I follow if I have symptoms of coronavirus?
Please follow the Government's advice on COVID-19:
What can I do to protect myself from the virus?
The primary preventative measure is to follow the Government Advice.
More generally, to reduce the risk of spreading this or other conditions with similar symptoms, such as flu:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The soap in all University toilets is anti-bacterial and anti-viral soap.
Hand-washing Steps Using the WHO Technique
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.
The following article in The Guardian also has excellent information on how to protect yourself and others.
Is the University providing hand gels?
Yes, hand gels will be located in every teaching and administrative building. If you wish to purchase your own hand gel please see if you can purchase one which is both anti-viral as well as anti-bacterial. However, anti-bacterial alcohol gels alone will offer a good level of protection.
If the hand gel or toilet hand-wash runs out please raise a case by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff Telephones and Desks
University cleaning services do not normally clean staff desks or telephones. All staff should make sure that they keep their own work areas clean and tidy.
Should I wear a facemask?
It is a personal choice whether you wear one or not.
A member of my close family/one of my friends/flat mates is currently unwell with coronavirus‐like symptoms, what should we do?
if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
For people living in households with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, please follow the Government advice here.
What if I am aware of someone who has a confirmed case?
Contact the Governance and Compliance Office (email@example.com) to keep the University updated, once they have sought medical advice.
How do I self-isolate if I need to?
The UK Government has provided advice on this.
What if I have an underlying health condition which may be severely impacted by this virus?
Government advice states that those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), current list detailed below, should be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. We strongly advise staff who fall into the following categories to work from home:
- those who are pregnant
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
It is imperative that you make your Line Manager aware of your health condition and remain in contact during the normal working hours.
Your Manager may inform the University’s Occupational Health Practitioner to obtain their advice. You may also wish to seek advice from the health professional / specialist that you would access normally.
Advice is also available from Care First (the organisation that provides the University’s Employee Assistance Programme). Should you require emotional support in relation to concerns for loved ones who may be based overseas in specified risk areas, if you are not able to travel as planned e.g. to visit loved ones or to attend special occasions overseas, Care First BACP accredited Counsellors are available 24/7 to provide you with support in the moment.
Alternatively, Care First Informaton Specialists are able to provide advice for practical issues relating to Coronavirus; for example if you require practical advice regarding the virus the Information Specialists are able to signpost you to the government guidelines which are updated daily.
Care First Information Specialists are available to provide practical advice 8am-8pm Monday-Friday.
Further information can be found on the HR web pages.
Travelling on University business
No overseas or UK travel is currently permitted on University business.
What about future travel?
It is impossible to know the long-term situation regarding coronavirus (Covid-19) at the moment. The Executive is monitoring the situation and will inform staff and students when anything changes.