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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.


Updates for staff

15 January 2021

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 ( for the Teaching Building, Clinical and Experimental Medicine staff and all Professional Services staff including the Dean's Office and School office.
  • Debbie Miller ( for all Global Health and Infection staff (including those in the Medical Research Building office).
  • Juliet Kneller ( for Medical Research Building. 
  • Christina Lee ( for Trafford Building
  • Elizabeth Renvoize ( for SHORE-C. 
  • Pat Butler ( for CISC.
  • Sue Brown ( for Department of Medical Education staff in Watson Building. 
  • Sonia Khan ( for Primary Care and Public Health staff in Watson Building. 
  • Maya Lovatt ( for staff in Watson open plan area, the Admissions, Exams and Assessment and Clinical Skills teams.

Research staff 

This week, the University of Sussex wrote to all research staff to clarify its position regarding on-campus research activities that involve human participants. Typically, this covers interview subjects and individuals involved in ‘human testing’ projects such as MRI scanning, EEG monitoring etc.

This communication does not refer to returning to work in laboratories or research facilities by staff or students as scientists, researchers or associate support roles. Compared to the situation in March last year, the University of Sussex is committed to the principle that such work should continue wherever it is possible. Since December, however, it is evident that pandemic transmission rates have increased significantly in the local area and, for the first time, exceed the national average. In consequence, more than ever, it is vital that the principles of the national lockdown are followed and that movements onto campus by those who are neither staff nor students are fully justified. 

On this basis, therefore, any on-going participant research on campus should now be paused and closely re-evaluated in the light of current developments. 

Heads of Schools will, going forwards, be the gatekeepers of what is deemed to be justified on-going participant research in the current challenging circumstances. These decisions will be based on:

  • Relevance to COVID research or other important health-related investigations or services
  • Significant and demonstrable financial or contractual consequences if research has to be paused for a period of time
  • Capacity and appropriateness of facilities in the context of current restrictions, notably where they may compromise researcher and participant safety
  • Ensuring the safety of members of the public attending campus for any clinical services

Any activities should closely follow the principles of the University of Sussex's COVID-19 Guidance for Researchers on Face-to-Face Human Participant Research on Campus, paying close attention to measures to avoid transmission, procedures for maintaining track and trace data and all other relevant requirements.  

This guidance will be reviewed and, if necessary, updated at the end of January 2021.

The latest information for staff

University of Brighton update

A limited number of colleagues and students are now returning to campus for the Spring Term and with a new variant of Covid-19 spreading, it is more important than ever for everyone to follow health and safety protocols correctly. You can read Government guidance on social-distancing, handwashing and the wearing of face coverings here. Colleagues working on campus should continue to check that windows are opened to ensure sufficient ventilation in naturally ventilated rooms. 

Please read the latest updates from the Vice-Chancellor which outline how the recently announced lockdown affects both staff and students. If you need to, you can access our wellbeing pages here.

Arrangements have also been made to pause on-campus parking charges for colleagues required to work at the University during the current period of lockdown. You can read details of the temporary provisions here.

Requests to return to campus should continue to be routed via your line manager. Activities / individuals that have not been through the correct approval process will not be permitted on campus.

Remember to review the return to campus questionnaire If you have approval to return to campus and discuss any concerns with your line manager.

University of Sussex update

Following the Prime Minister's latest announcement this week, all staff should note that unless you need to be on campus to do your job, you should work from home. Staff undertaking essential work that cannot be done at home such as teaching, libraries, catering and student support services – can come to work. Please speak to your line manager if you have any concerns about your own personal circumstances.

We understand at this time that research staff and PHD students who require laboratories are allowed to be on campus. Of course, if new guidance comes out that implies research in laboratories isn’t possible then we will respond accordingly.

Some limited exceptions can be made for staff who can’t work from home (for technology, space or health reasons) and you should speak to your line manager who may be able to give you the necessary clearance. This will need agreement from your Head of School or Divisional Director.

Key worker letters can be provided if you are a member of staff who is asked to undertake essential work on campus which would then allow for your children to go to school. Please speak to your line manager or HR representative. We are also looking at ways we can support staff who have children at home – and again, please talk to your line manager to discuss your options.

Health and safety guidance

If you are due to be working on campus it is extremely important that you continue to be fully aware of all the health and safety guidance we have developed. Here you can find detailed information for staff covering: teaching; laboratories; and office and low hazard settings.

The University of Sussex will continue to review safety measures in the areas that need to remain open – and remind everyone on our campus to wear face masks, keep socially distanced and wash hands regularly.

Testing for staff

The University of Sussex has significant testing capacity and the Test Centre is in operation. However we are prioritising tests for those students on the designated courses detailed above and staff who need to return to campus, to obtain two lateral flow tests. You can book your tests here.

Clinical Academic staff 

Prof Malcolm Reed, Dean at BSMS, wrote to all BSMS Clinical Academic colleagues this week.
Sadly we have entered another period of intense pressure on our NHS partners due to the recent surge in cases of COVID-19 and associated pressure on acute beds and critical care. I know many of you revised your timetables to help during the first wave earlier in 2020 and may be asked to help again this time. Whilst I fully appreciate the importance of patient care and our contribution to the response it is essential that we protect and prioritise our students’ education and preparation for clinical practice - particularly as they have experienced significant disruption and loss of placement opportunities already. Please do not agree to any change in your timetable which impacts on your BSMS funded core hours which could adversely affect student learning and experience without ensuring that this can be delivered by another individual to the same standard and is agreed with Prof Juliet Wright or the appropriate clinical phase lead. Secondly please ensure that any change in your duties is agreed by the relevant NHS Head of Division and Divisional Operations Manager in advance of undertaking these roles. Any changes to your duties will need to be submitted on a monthly basis in line with the process used for wave 1, so please can you ensure you complete the required timesheets including documented authorisation of them. This documentation is required for our recharging purposes and also so that Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUHT) can submit it to whatever resources are made available nationally for managing wave 3.

It would also be helpful if you would inform Dawn Hanna in advance so that we are aware of the agreements in place and can send you the timesheets and guidance. This has been agreed and confirmed by Rob Haigh on behalf of BSUHT. If your clinical base is at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust or another partner please email Dawn directly at to ensure that funding arrangements are in place and confirmed. It is important to get approval at Divisional level rather than simply from you clinical line manager. I apologise if this adds to your admin burden but am sure you will understand the need for this. 

Support for staff

Finally, a reminder that 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.

Stage 3 of the re-opening of campus

As we approach the end of term, BSMS and the partner universities had been hoping to revisit Stage 3 of our phased reopening of campus in January 2021. However, as we will need to continue to follow government guidelines and the social distancing measures to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students, Stage 3 won't happen for some time. While some academic, research and professional services staff in essential roles will have continued to work on campus, the majority will continue to work from home in January 2021. We do appreciate that some colleagues want to return to campus, particularly those who are finding it difficult to work from home. If this is the case then please do speak to your line manager who will work with you to accommodate your needs. Staff will be given four weeks' notice if there are any significant changes to working conditions.

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

Other return to campus updates

As part of our return to campus plans, We are asking that everyone downloads and uses the NHS COVID-19 contact-tracing app and there are codes across campus to scan and check yourself into. 

Download the app here >

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 Years 3-5 please contact

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
  • Advise student support of the student’s situation
  • Inform the relevant Curriculum and Assessment Manager. Phase 1 please contact Lisa Kearley at Phase 2 & 3 please contact Louise Mimnagh at 

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 

15 January 2020

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. 

Year 1 - Update to teaching for Modules 101/103

In response to the evolving situation, we have taken the difficult decision to deliver all teaching for Year 1 students this term remotely. We understand that this will be disappointing for many of you, but we have taken this decision primarily to support student well-being. 

We are concerned that students may become isolated from their families and peers due to the reduced level of in-person teaching this term necessitated by the increased restrictions. Therefore, you do not have to return to campus for this term, although students wishing to return are assured that the library facilities remain open and available, including bookable study spaces and access to books/journals. A number of staff will continue to work on campus and the School offices will be staffed in person on a limited basis; please contact us via email in the first instance. 

Plans for delivery of teaching for students in Year 1 this term:

  • Teaching for SSCs, seminars and module tutorial tests will be delivered online as planned.
  • All anatomy teaching, including the DR sessions, will now be delivered remotely. The anatomy team are planning extra DR sessions during term 3 that will cover material from module 103, so that you do not miss out on these learning opportunities.
  • All teaching in Module 101 will now also move to remote delivery. Further details will be communicated to you next week. 

Please be assured that all learning outcomes for Modules 101 and 103 will be delivered, albeit via different learning modalities. 

Attendance for online teaching sessions will continue to be monitored for both Modules 101 and 103. It is important that you keep in touch with us by actively participating in teaching sessions. Additional points of contact include: 

  • Year and module leads will be available via Teams each week to answer any queries and to help guide your learning this term.
  • Academic tutors are available for academic support.
  • Personal Tutors are available for PPD support.
  • Student Support continue to be available for non-academic support. 

Discussion Boards are available on My Studies that should also be used to ask questions about the module content or to make more general queries. We very much hope that a return to campus for Term 3 will be possible and we look forward to seeing you all in person then. 

A message from the Secretary of State

Matt Hancock has recorded a message to all medical students. You can view this message via the video below.

Update on Semester Two – teaching and learning 

Teaching will go ahead as planned and communicated for this term.

  • Face to face teaching for placements, DR and any other scheduled face to face teaching will go ahead.
  • Teaching for SSCs, seminars and module tutorials will continue to be online as scheduled.
  • The 201 Immersion week teaching is still planned to go ahead as scheduled.

Please read the following information carefully:

  • Medical students are still classed as key workers – the new lockdown does not change this.
  • We are still planning for placements to go ahead, with the same safety measures as previously in place.
  • As always, placements may need to be cancelled or altered due to circumstances beyond our control, but we are doing whatever we can to ensure that placement activity can continue.
  • The university and government guidance states that students should take two Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) for Covid-19, three days apart, upon their return to university or they will have to isolate for ten days. 
  • Please follow the links above to book your two tests as soon as possible on your return.  For those of you who have placement on Thursday 7 or Tuesday 12 January, we appreciate this may not be possible.  Please contact the Watson School Office if you are unable to have a test before your placement.
  • We are aware that some students may need to self-isolate for a number of reasons. If this is the case and you are not able to attend a placement, please let the Watson School Office know as this will enable us to re-allocate placement opportunities where necessary and/or if possible.
  • Students who are not able to return to campus should arrange to meet with their year lead to discuss intermission.
  • Students who are quarantining are still required to follow government guidance regarding self-isolation and are not able to access the lateral flow tests.
  • Students should arrange to be tested and have had at least one negative result before attending their first in-person teaching session. 
  • Students must have a second test booked to take place at least three days after the first test. 
  • Students do not need to be based on campus to use the university testing service. 
  • All students should have the tests whether they live on campus, or in Brighton or commute to university. 
  • If you do not take a test you will need to self-isolate for ten days before attending any in-person teaching. The exception to this is if you have already tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous 90 days, or if you have tested negative in your home town immediately prior to returning. 
  • At this time, students only need to access this asymptomatic testing service (2 x lateral flow tests) at the beginning of this term - not before every placement or teaching session. 
    Students who become symptomatic at any point should isolate and request a PCR test as per the government guidance. 
  • Students who are quarantining after international travel are still required to follow government guidance regarding self-isolation and are not able to access the lateral flow tests.

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 are also asking all students to take two Lateral Flow tests at the start of Semester Two to minimise the risk of someone entering the classroom who is positive with COVID-19. It is extremely important to take two tests, three days apart, even if your first test is negative. Lateral Flow tests can miss positive results normally when someone is in the early stages of an infection, so taking two tests increases the effectiveness of the result. Testing will be available from Monday 4 January – Friday 12 February.

Book a test on the University of Sussex campus here > 

International students

I understand that our international students may have some further specific concerns. We are continuing to seek clarification from the Government on a number of issues and will write to you specifically with an update in the very near future.

In the meantime, please remember that the current guidance is that international students are being encouraged to study remotely wherever possible. Where this is not possible you will need to follow government advice, including that of your home nation before travelling and around quarantining in the UK when you arrive.

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

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   

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: (includes a large section on Wellbeing books, apps, podcasts and other internet tools) (includes self-help guides and links to other support)

Self-isolating and COVID advice

Both university websites offer comprehensive information around the practical aspects of self-isolation, including food delivery:

In addition there are volunteer services that offer help with delivery of food and medicines:

NHS Volunteer Responders - can help anyone who lives in England and who needs to self-isolate for any reason

Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK – local community groups organising mutual aid and coordinating care efforts for people who are self-isolating,

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 Year 1 and 2) or (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:

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

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 >