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 (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.
- Maya Lovatt (M.Lovatt@bsms.ac.uk) for staff in Watson open plan area, the Admissions, Exams and Assessment and Clinical Skills teams.
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 D.Hanna@bsms.ac.uk 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 email@example.com).
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 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.