Need to know – 18 January

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Top updates from across the University.

1. Academic Year Planning

The First Minister provided a brief update last week on changes to Covid-19 restrictions. The key changes relate to large outdoor events which can now resume without physical distancing or capacity limits, while restrictions on indoor events and venues will remain in place until at least 24 January. Our approach for the coming weeks remains the same as in the published planning assumptions for Semester 2: we will maintain our existing prioritisation of on-campus activities we have set out and communicated previously to ensure our learning and teaching, student support and research activities continue as planned. For all other activities, you and your line managers are asked to review staff meetings, tasks, activities or events that are planned on campus for the remainder of January. If these can be managed online then please move online to support home working.

Information on these assumptions can be found on the Academic Year Planning SharePoint.

2. Managing Omicron

The continuing spread of the Omicron variant could lead to higher staff and student absences in the coming weeks and this may cause some disruption to learning, teaching, student support and other University activities. We recognise that this will be a difficult period and support will be needed for students and staff.

To help navigate these circumstances, additional guidance is available for managers.

With regards to learning and teaching, it is likely that the impact of this will vary across subject areas within Schools and Deaneries, with some courses more affected, while others may be unaffected. Due to the ongoing pressure that staff are facing colleagues are encouraged to take local decisions that do not add undue pressure to students or yourself.

Academic Services have prepared a short document which reminds colleagues of the standard powers that Schools and Deaneries have to take steps to address any issues affecting teaching and assessment. Read more.

3. Testing, vaccinations and self-isolating

All students have been asked to test the day before they travel back to Edinburgh and their term time accommodation. All staff and students are encouraged to test regularly before coming onto campus, as well as making use of TestEd facilities.

Staff and students are also encouraged to get their vaccinations and booster jabs to protect the University and wider community.

It remains critical that students and staff let the University know if they need to self-isolate. This enables our internal health and safety processes to be initiated and puts in place the support that our students may need. There are guidance and forms available for support.

More information on Covid-19 reporting and recording process and guidance.

More information on reporting and self-isolation guidance for students and staff.

Find out more about lateral flow tests and TestEd.

Find out more about vaccinations.