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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

COVID-19 updates for staff and students

BSMS > About BSMS > Working here > COVID-19 updates for staff and students

COVID-19 updates for staff and students

This page will feature regular updates from BSMS on the latest return to campus updates for staff and students. Please check back for further updates.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Updates for staff

16 June 2021

Roadmap out of lockdown

In line with the UK Government’s roadmap for England, the easing of lockdown has now been extended until 19 July 2021 (at the earliest). We’ll be regularly updating this page if and when details change.

Click and collect home tests

To help make it easier for staff and students working on campus to take regular tests, the University of Brighton is now offering ‘click and collect’ home tests alongside the existing on-campus testing (see below). The new service will allow staff and students to book a collection slot via the existing test booking system, before picking up a test kit from a test centre for use at home. Home test kits are available from any one of the four existing test centres (Cockcroft, Eastbourne, City and Falmer) subject to a pre-booked collection slot. It's also possible to obtain test kits online here >

Staff updates

On Monday 17 May, we will reach the third step of the Government’s roadmap for exiting lockdown in England. Alongside other changes, most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted (gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal) and two households or up to six people from separate households will be able to meet up indoors. Existing Covid-secure measures implemented by the University, such as the wearing of face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand washing and the following of one-way systems will remain unchanged. Read the full list of changes to restrictions here >

Testing for staff

For those who have returned already, staff working on the University of Sussex campus will be asked to take two lateral flow tests each week and this can be carried out at the Sport Centre on campus. You can book your tests here.

The University of Brighton's asymptomatic testing will now be offered on more days of the week to make testing more accessible to staff and students. The University of Brighton has opened a new test centre at its City campus, joining the existing Falmer, Cockcroft and Eastbourne test sites. All staff who are working on campus or need to be on campus are encouraged to book regular asymptomatic testing. Please make sure that you book testing as close as possible to the time you are due to be on campus You can book tests here

Requests to return to campus for should continue to be routed via your line manager. If collecting items and equipment, your visit should be recorded with the appropriate person for each BSMS building.

For the latest information from our partner universities, visit their dedicated staff pages below.
University of Sussex >
University of Brighton >

Health and safety update and attendance on campus

COVID positive test: If you have a positive COVID test, please make sure you report this via the University of Sussex's self-reporting tool and immediately follow advice on isolation. The reporting tool is available here. If you need to be on campus for essential purposes, please make sure you have approval from your line manager and that you have registered your attendance with your department administrator who can record individuals on site and give advice on capacity limits for each building and offices or working spaces within. 

Lateral Flow Tests: It is recommended that all BSMS staff who are attending campus take a Lateral Flow Test, which can be booked here >

Risk Assessments: Risk Assessments are currently being reviewed and updated. Further information on all health and safety measures from our partner universities can be found below. 

University of Sussex >

University of Brighton >

Supporting BSMS staff with caring responsibilities: request for line managers

On 22 January, the University of Sussex sent out an email regarding caring responsibilities containing important information and links. BSMS also recognise that many staff are currently performing care work for children and vulnerable friends and relatives, which is a considerable burden to be managing alongside a BSMS role. We would therefore like to go further than the recommendations offered by the University of Sussex, and suggest that instead of expecting staff members to approach their line managers, that line managers instead contact their teams as soon as possible and ask for meetings with those who have caring responsibilities in order to begin to explore what can be done to ease workloads and provide additional support. Many staff members will be trying to cope with tremendous workloads without feeling comfortable about self-reporting their difficulties, which is why it's important for line managers to proactively approach their teams and begin these conversations. The focus of these meetings should be the wellbeing of the staff member and making arrangements to optimise this. As the University of Sussex guidance emphasises, it is important to ask team members which working patterns and hours are optimal in terms of protecting their wellbeing while meeting their essential work responsibilities and performing their care duties. If additional support is needed, line managers should speak to the head of their department in the first instance.

Access to campus – who to contact

All staff who need to access campus need to record this with the relevant person in each building. This includes going to campus to collect any equipment or items. 
The contacts for access to buildings for BSMS are as follows.

  • Lisa Costick (medicineAnatomyDA@bsms.ac.uk) for the Teaching Building, Clinical and Experimental Medicine staff and all Professional Services staff including the Dean's Office and School office.
  • Debbie Miller (D.Miller@bsms.ac.uk) for all Global Health and Infection staff (including those in the Medical Research Building office).
  • Juliet Kneller (J.Kneller@bsms.ac.uk) for Medical Research Building. 
  • Christina Lee (C.Lee2@bsms.ac.uk) for Trafford Building
  • Elizabeth Renvoize (E.Renvoize@bsms.ac.uk) for SHORE-C. 
  • Pat Butler (P.Butler@bsms.ac.uk) for CISC.
  • Sue Brown (S.Brown@bsms.ac.uk) for Department of Medical Education staff in Watson Building. 
  • Sonia Khan (S.Khan@bsms.ac.uk) for Primary Care and Public Health staff in Watson Building. 
  • Heather Shaw (H.Shaw2@bsms.ac.uk) for staff in Watson open plan area, the Admissions, Exams and Assessment and Clinical Skills teams.

Support for staff

All staff can access free, confidential counselling and support as part of our Employee Assistance Programme. You can refer yourself and do not need to inform anyone. There are also a number of additional resources to support your mental and physical health in the University of Sussex's wellbeing hub.

HR guidance and tools for staff and managers on returning to campus

With so many managers having less contact with their teams the Organisational Development (OD) team at the University of Sussex have designed a series of workshops as part of a Management Essentials programme to support the recently launched Manager's Toolkit. The programme is made up of nine 90-minute workshops with dates running throughout the academic year. Workshops available include Introduction to Management - Developing your Management skills, Leading and Managing Teams and an Introduction to Managing Change. Dates are available now and details can be found on the OD pages here.

For those managers interested in studying towards professional qualifications, we are pleased to offer staff the opportunity to study towards CMI accredited management apprenticeships. Working with training provider KnowledgeBrief, staff can apply to study for a Level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor, or Level 5 Operational/Departmental Manager apprenticeships. Both programmes are fully funded and full programme details can be found on the OD pages here.

New online mental health platform available to Sussex staff and students

The University of Sussex have introduced Togetherall, an online platform which includes tools to help you understand and manage your mental health. There are self-assessments and recommended resources, as well as a wide range of self-guided courses to study at your own pace. Everyone at the BSMS can access the service for free - any time, any day. Simply register online here using your University of Sussex email address (eg bsmsxxx@sussex.ac.uk).

Other return to campus updates

All BSMS buildings have been assessed by both the Health and Safety and Estates Facilities Management teams and opened on 21 September. 

Other developments and updates include: 

  • An induction document for staff.
  • The filming of buildings to show staff how teaching and working spaces will look - view the film below.
  • Plans to release staff assessments and requirements over the coming weeks are also ongoing.

We are continuing to move through our four-phase return to campus plan. These phases are:

  • Phase 1 – BSMS Survey and analysis 
  • Phase 2 – Confirm capacity of available teaching and work spaces
  • Phase 3 – Determine resources needed – eg additional IT to enable working from campus and home, local sanitisation arrangements, provision of PPE
  • Phase 4 – Additional considerations – eg parking and catering

We are currently in Phase 4. Risk assessments have been carried out for each building and measures put in place to minimise risks of COVID transmission. Safety measures include limiting the number of people in spaces, staff rotas, mandatory wearing of face coverings in communal areas, hand sanitiser stations, personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning (morning, evening and throughout the day). 

Several buildings are already open, including the Medical Teaching Building; Audrey Emerton Building; Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre; Medical Research Building; SHORE-C and the Watson Building. Essential staff might be working on campus on a rotational basis, as agreed with their teams or department. If you are unsure whether you are an essential worker, please discuss this with your line manager.

Phase 4 updates include:

  • Drs Orders Café – please note that Drs Orders Café in the Medical Teaching Building is now closed. 
  • Protective face visors – these have now arrived for staff who wish to have one when on campus. Please contact your line manager if you would like one.
  • Toolkit for leaders and managers – the University of Sussex has issued new guidance for managers and leaders – view the toolkit here >
  • Signage – additional requests for signage and control measures are being processed.
  • Phase 4 additional considerations – now that BSMS are in Phase 4 of the return to campus plans, a new form will be issued shortly for staff to submit any new considerations or suggestions now many of us are back on campus. Please keep an eye out for this. 
  • Review process – BSMS will review these current measures in November, subject to Government guidance. 

Risk assessments

Risk assessment documents for staff in the Medical Teaching Building and Trafford Centre and now available on SharePoint via the link below.

View risk assessment documents here >

Staff checklist when BSMS students report confirmed COVID-19 cases or self-isolation

When a BSMS student notifies us that they have tested positive for Covid-19 or have been advised by Track and Trace to self-isolate, please complete the following steps: 

All staff will please ensure they are familiar with the process and nominate a designate if they are absent. 

Person who is first point of contact with student will determine: 

  • How the student is feeling
  • Student name
  • Which year the student is in
  • The exact date the student developed symptoms
  • The exact date that the student received their test result (If reporting a positive case)
  • The exact date that the student started their self-isolation if they are awaiting a test result/told to do so by Track and Trace
  • What teaching they have attended in the 3 days before developing symptoms? 
  • Do they live with other BSMS students? If yes, please get their names too.
  • Whole households must self-isolate if waiting for test result, or if one of the household tests positive.
  • Remind student that they will have to self-isolate for 10 days if they have tested positive and their housemates for 14 days
  • Advise student to engage with student support 
  • Inform relevant school office, where the course coordinators will process it. Years 1-2 please contact BsmsSchoolOffice@bsms.ac.uk. Years 3-5 please contact Emertonschooloffice@bsms.ac.uk.

The relevant course coordinators will then: 

  • Ensure the details are recorded on the central recording spreadsheet 
  • Let the rotation/module/firm lead/clinical skills team/clinical practice team know as necessary 
  • Advise the student of how to access any online learning resources 
  • Remind the student to check the most up to date government guidance https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
  • Advise student support of the student’s situation
  • Inform the relevant Curriculum and Assessment Manager. Phase 1 please contact Lisa Kearley at L.Kearley@bsms.ac.uk. Phase 2 & 3 please contact Louise Mimnagh at L.Mimnagh@bsms.ac.uk. 

The relevant Curriculum and Assessment Manager, or designate, will then:  

  • Inform the following that there is a positive case, so that it can be reported to University of Brighton.
    • Phase Team
    • Emily Pitt
    • Prof Juliet Wright 
    • Peter Dennis 
  • Confirm with above who will be reporting new case to University of Brighton. 
  • Update the central recording spreadsheet to show when University of Brighton were informed. 
  • Update central recording spreadsheet of any developments.
  • Update the Phase team on what teaching was missed by the student. 
  • Support the course coordinators in helping the student in retrieving missed teaching. 

You can find much more information from both partner universities by following the links below.

University of Sussex updates >

University of Brighton updates (INTERNAL PAGE) >

All staff who have returned to campus should ensure they wear a facemask or visor in all campus buildings unless medically exempt. 

Updates for students 

16 June 2021

Roadmap out of lockdown

In line with the UK Government’s roadmap for England, the easing of lockdown has now been extended until 19 July 2021 (at the earliest). We’ll be regularly updating this page if and when details change.

Enhanced Covid testing for all students living on and off campus

From Monday 14 June, enhanced Covid-19 testing is being made available for all students living on and off campus. The University of Sussex and the local public health team are acting swiftly to ensure transmission rates are contained and students can travel home safely. 

Two mobile testing units will be on campus from today, Monday 14 June to Friday 18 June, allowing students to have a PCR test onsite. Students living off campus are asked to book a PCR test online and have been given instructions on how to order a postal PCR test. All students are asked to take the PCR tests to monitor and identify asymptomatic cases and ensure that students who are positive and others in their households are following self-isolation guidelines. 

Students are asked to inform the University of any positive Covid case via the University’s simple to use form. The University can then provide support to students who need to self-isolate with its package of support. Additional PCR tests will also be supplied to the University’s onsite testing facility in Bramber House (level 1 Dine Central). These tests will be available to University staff, who would like to have enhanced testing. The health and safety measures currently in place on campus should mean that the likelihood of transmission from students to staff is minimal, however the additional tests available are for staff who would value taking a PCR test.

Click and collect home tests

To help make it easier for staff and students working on campus to take regular tests, the University of Brighton is now offering ‘click and collect’ home tests alongside the existing on-campus testing (see here). The new service will allow staff and students to book a collection slot via the existing test booking system, before picking up a test kit from a test centre for use at home. Home test kits are available from any one of the four existing test centres (Cockcroft, Eastbourne, City and Falmer) subject to a pre-booked collection slot. It's also possible to obtain test kits online here >

COVIDReady2 study launches 

BSMS is taking part in the COVIDReady2 study – a collaborative study organised by researchers at the University of Oxford, in partnership with researchers from the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital, London. This study has been approved by the UK Medical Schools Council Education Lead Advisory Group. We would like to invite you to complete a questionnaire being conducted as part of a research study organised by researchers at the University of Oxford in partnership with researchers from the University of Cambridge, King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital, London. This questionnaire asks about the medical education of those who did and did not volunteer to work in a clinical capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to look at issues volunteers and non-volunteers faced. We anticipate this study will help identify volunteer structures that have been beneficial for students; and inform the structure of non-pandemic clinical placements going forward. This study has been approved by the UK Medical Schools Council Education Lead Advisory Group.

The questionnaire is open to all medical students from any year who were enrolled at medical schools in the UK at the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown (23rd March 2020). It is open to those who did and did not volunteer in a clinical capacity. We will be sharing results of this survey with UK medical schools and the UK Medical Schools Council so the more responses we receive the better we can develop a volunteering system that works in the ongoing pandemic, and help inform the structure of non-pandemic clinical placements. No identifiable data is collected unless you choose to provide an email address for a follow up study, and completing this survey does not constitute an application to become a volunteer. This study has been reviewed and ethically approved by the University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Interdivisional Research Ethics Committee (Ref: R74003/RE001).  

Link to questionnaire: https://psychiatryoxford.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cBC2wozJiZRnebI

COVID-19 isolation support payments update

If you’re a student who is self-isolating due to COVID-19 and are away from your usual support networks, you may be eligible for an allowance to help with food and other essentials. If you are, and you find yourself in this situation, please note that the University of Sussex has made some updates to the Student Hub’s Symptoms and Isolation’s Self-isolation payments section on the support available. Read more here >

Accommodation update

Students who are unable to return to their University of Brighton-managed accommodation for the start of this term will receive a 60% reduction in their third rent payment, equivalent to the number of weeks that they are unable to access their accommodation because of Government restrictions on travel and return to campus. 

The terms of the reduction are as follows: 

  • It will only be open to students who are not in residence as a consequence of the lockdown. Lockdown regulations state that students should not travel and must now stay where they are residing. So those currently in accommodation will be required to stay, and as such will be liable for full accommodation fees. 
  • Students will need to be up-to-date with their accommodation fees by the start of the third payment period to enable the calculated discount to be applied to their final rent request. 

It is important to note that the University of Brighton will still be maintaining and operating all of its Halls and Uni-homes, and will still carry the full cost of this, including that of maintaining security of any possessions left in halls and the insurance cover to protect them. However, we recognise the financial impact of your accommodation and hope that the University of Brighton’s decision shows our commitment to you during this unprecedented crisis. Brighton will be in touch again shortly with details of how the refund will work. You don’t need to take any action at the moment.

An update will follow for students living in University of Sussex accomodation. Please check back for details. 

Testing: book now

In line with Government guidance, it is important to plan your travel date around your return to campus. If you haven’t received this yet, look out for it very shortly. You may wish to consider returning a few days in advance of your scheduled return to face-to-face teaching, to give you time to settle in and book your first COVID-19 test in the days beforehand. Testing will begin on 4 January and continue until early February. Testing centres will be open 9am to 5pm.

Book a test on the University of Brighton campus here >

The University of Sussex is now testing staff/students on campus twice a week. The University has been given the go-ahead to roll out regular mass testing for Sussex staff and students. This extension of the lateral flow testing operation we have been running since November 2020 means that we will be able to offer testing twice a week for students and staff who need it. These can be booked online now. This will initially run until 15 February, but we are expecting further guidance from the Government in the coming weeks about the broader return of students to campus and the role that mass testing will play in that.

Book a test on the University of Sussex campus here > 

New online mental health platform available to Sussex staff and students

The University of Sussex have introduced Togetherall, an online platform which includes tools to help you understand and manage your mental health. There are self-assessments and recommended resources, as well as a wide range of self-guided courses to study at your own pace. Everyone at the BSMS can access the service for free - any time, any day. Simply register online here using your University of Sussex email address (eg bsmsxxx@sussex.ac.uk).

Wellbeing and mental health

The Student Support Team remains available to respond to all student enquiries, including any issues around wellbeing and mental health, whether as a consequence of COVID-19, lockdown or anything else.

We encourage students to contact us via studentsupport@bsms.ac.uk   

We can offer telephone or video calls with students and will respond to the appropriate needs of the individual and their situation.

We will continue to signpost to relevant services, both within the Universities of Brighton and Sussex or to external services in the wider community.

We will also advise regarding relevant self-help tools and resources, particularly where a student may be waiting for services such as counselling.  

We would also encourage students to access the Wellbeing information and resources offered by Sussex and Brighton: 

www.sussex.ac.uk/wellbeing/mentalhealth (includes a large section on Wellbeing books, apps, podcasts and other internet tools)

www.brighton.ac.uk/brighton-students/your-student-life/my-wellbeing (includes self-help guides and links to other support)

Face coverings

All students are currently expected to wear face masks in the communal areas within the Medical Teaching Building, such as the corridors. Please be advised that from Monday 2 November 2020, face masks will also need to be worn by staff members and students in all teaching rooms in the Medical Teaching Building at all times, which includes during teaching sessions. The only people who are not required to wear masks are those who are considered exempt by government guidance.

Guidance on what to do if you develop symptoms 

Firstly, please remember, that if you are unwell at all, do not attend any face to face teaching. Whether it is COVID-19 or flu or something else, we do not want to risk it potentially spreading to your patients, colleagues or staff.  If you are not well, please let the school office know by emailing bssmsschooloffice@bsms.ac.uk Year 1 and 2) or EmertonSchoolOffice@bsms.ac.uk (Year 3-5) as soon as possible.

All students should follow the procedure below if you are reporting isolating or covid symptoms: 

  • One member of your household should email the BSMS school office – this lessens the number of emails received and allows us to track households isolating more efficiently.  
  • The email should contain the following information:
    • Names of all BSMS students in the household (they should all be cc’d into the email).
    • Information on who is symptomatic and who is asymptomatic.
    • The date/s any symptoms started.
    • The date/s you all started isolating.
    • The date/s of any tests taken.
    • Results of tests (whether positive of negative) should be sent to us as soon as you receive them.
    • Details of any teaching attended in the three days prior to any symptoms developing.

If we contact you asking for any further information, please reply as soon as possible. Once we have this information, we can arrange for students to attend teaching virtually (where possible).   

For year 1 the following teams will be arranging your virtual teaching:

  • 102 academic skills: Academic tutor/Amy Gore
  • 102 small group sessions: BSMS office
  • 101 sessions: Rosie Stanley/ Watson office. 

For year 2 the following teams will be arranging your virtual teaching:

  • 202 SSCs: SSC tutor/Amy Gore
  • 202 small group sessions: BSMS office
  • 201 sessions: Hayley Armstrong/ Watson office. 

Students should also note that the updated guidance states the following regarding contacts outside of your household:  

I have been in contact with someone OUTSIDE my household who is symptomatic/has tested positive, what should I do?

  • You do not need to do anything unless you are contacted by the Test and Trace team.
  • Test and Trace will advise if you need to self-isolate.
  • Unless you are contacted by Test and Trace or develop symptoms, then you can attend all teaching as normal.
  • Please notify the school office if you are contacted by Test and Trace or develop symptoms.

I have been in contact with someone OUTSIDE my household who has tested positive, but does not have the NHS Covid-19 app, will Test and Trace be able to contact me?

  • Yes. Test and trace is not just based on the app.
  • The Bluetooth data collected by the app is to supplement the information that Test and Trace will collect verbally about who a positive case has been in contact with. 

Please note that the guidance also refers to arranging swaps for teaching – this relates only to Phase 2 & 3. Students in Phase 1 are not currently permitted to arrange swaps for teaching sessions. 

Attendance Update

After discussion with the phase team please note the following: If you have COVID and/or are self-isolating due to a household member with suspected/confirmed covid or having covid symptoms yourself:

  • Any sessions missed during this time will not impact your attendance.
  • There is no need to complete the mitigating circumstances form or contact Student Support regarding absence during this time.
  • Missed attendance due to non-COVID reasons must be mitigated as usual.
  • Where possible, we will arrange virtual/teams session for isolating students and the office will email you regarding these. 

Students should engage with Student Support if they have any concerns during this time.

Further information

The University of Brighton has setup a new email address for students on this campus: Student-Enquiries-and-Support-l@central.bton.ac.uk

FAQs, Covid 19 student emails and related content can be found via the links below:

www.brighton.ac.uk/about-us/news-and-events/coronavirus/index.aspx#faqs 

www.brighton.ac.uk/about-us/news-and-events/coronavirus/direct-emails.aspx 

www.brighton.ac.uk/brighton-students/index.aspx

Image of student with a microscope

Information for researchers

For the latest information on undergraduate, postgraduate (taught and research degrees) and staff research following the COVID-19 outbreak, please see our dedicated webpage.

View the information for researchers page >