Covid-19 FAQs for staff

Coronavirus FAQs for staff

General queries

How is the College coordinating the response to Covid-19?

Overall strategy for our response to the pandemic is determined by a Covid Gold group, consisting of the College Council and Chaired by the Master. Implementation of that strategy is led by a Covid Silver group, chaired by the Domestic Bursar, which features a representative from all College departments. The Silver group's primary task is to discuss and plan the College's operational response to maintain the health and safety of students, staff, Fellows and visitors.

Returning to work on site

As you will have seen, from 19 January the Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. College staff who shifted to working from home at the start of the Omicron variant outbreak can return with immediate effect to normal on-site working, and should have done so from Wednesday 27 January at the latest.

Reflecting on what we have learned from the pandemic, and what we need to have in place for effective operation of the College in future, the College Council and HR Committee have approved new guidelines for department managers to consider staff applications for changes to working arrangements, where their roles are amenable. The new Agile Working Policy will be implemented on a trial basis this term and more information will be shared with you by your head of department within the next two weeks.

In the meantime, we ask that you return to your usual working pattern next week if you have not already done so. The College greatly appreciates the hard work, resilience and commitment of all staff during these challenging times and, as we go forward into the new term together, we look forward to welcoming everyone in our community back to our beautiful, vibrant St John’s environment where education, learning and research continue to thrive.

Following further changes in Government guidance, which come into effect on 27 January, the College is reviewing the other arrangements in place for managing the pandemic and details of any new measures will be shared early next week.

 

Where can I find the latest information on the St John’s response to coronavirus?

Our Covid-19 Committee issues regular updates for students, staff and Fellows. They can be found on the Coronavirus Information page of our website.

St John's can confirm that it has complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of Covid-19  and staying Covid-19-secure.

Should I wear a face covering in College?

It is the law to wear face coverings in most indoor public places and on public transport, include taxis. 

There are some exemptions. You do not need to wear a face covering in hospitality settings such as cafés, restaurants and pubs. This is because it is not practical to keep removing face coverings to eat or drink.

You do not need to wear a face covering in nightclubs or certain other night-time venues, including dance halls and discotheques. This is because it is not recommended that you wear a face covering while exercising or during strenuous physical activity, including dancing.

Settings which are exempt from wearing a face covering include:

  • Restaurants, cafés and canteens
  • Bars and shisha bars
  • Gyms & exercise facilities
  • Photography studios
  • Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques

 

In indoor settings where a face covering is not legally required, you should still continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.

For latest government guidance click here

Please wear a face covering in internal public spaces in the College when you are moving around.

Face coverings must still be worn whilst queuing and moving around in the Buttery/Bar, Hall and other dining spaces. Catering staff may choose to continue to wear face coverings in these spaces. Rules pertaining to Fellows' dining spaces can be found on the Fellows' homepage.

Face coverings should be worn in areas where social distancing and ventilation precautions cannot be implemented, primarily in indoor public spaces.

In meetings, where the risk is low, good practice will be for the Chair to check that all are comfortable to remove face coverings before the meeting starts.

In shared spaces (meeting rooms, offices etc.) please be considerate to your co-workers and ensure that everyone is comfortable before masks are removed.   

Face coverings should be worn by students in lectures and supervisions.

Face coverings do not need to be worn in outdoor spaces.

College policy on face coverings is kept under regular review by the College’s Covid Silver group in line with the public health advice, our experience within College, and approaches across the University.

Face coverings policy FAQs

Guidance on how to wear a face covering

View the Face Coverings Policy

Can I bring guests into College? 

Our visitor policy has now been updated.

All of our policies are currently subject to change at any time and it is imperative that you familiarise yourself with this and other policies as the number of people onsite continues to grow ahead of the new term.

Is the Buttery open?

During term time, the BDR and Bar will be open all day.

The opening times are as follows:

  • 8am – 11pm from Monday to Thursday

  • 8am – midnight on Friday

  • 10:30am – 11pm on Saturday

  • 10:30am – 10.30pm on Sunday

    The cold offer (sandwiches, crisps, yoghurts, drinks etc.) will be available from 8am to 20:00
    Coffee, cake, paninis and pizzas will be available from the Bar during the day.

    Alcohol will be served from 5pm.

  • Formal meal times will be as follows:
    Lunch
    Monday to Friday and on Sunday: 11.30 – 13.45 Saturday brunch: 11:30 to 13:45

    Evening Meal
    Monday to Sunday: 18.00 – 20.00

Staff have opted to wear face masks while working. Customers are requested to wear face masks in the BDR and Bar while queuing or moving around the facility unless exempt.

A 'Click and collect' service is available via UPay.

Compostable takeaway containers are available at a charge. 

Students, staff and Fellows are permitted to sit in the BDR for informal meetings, individual and joint working etc. outside the formal meal times. These uses of tables will not be permitted during the formal meal times so that priority can be given to those eating food.

The Patio outside the old Buttery is currently unavailable due to the Community Hub building works.

Which College entrances are open?

All entrances to the College are open. The gate by Cripps into Magdalene College is locked.

The Great Gate is open from 7:30 am – 10:00pm Monday to Friday and 9:00am – 10:00pm at weekends.

Forecourt:

Bridge St entrance is on card access 24/7
Wicket gate, St John’s St, is open from 7:30am – 7:00pm Monday – Friday. Closed at weekends.

Cripps entrance is open 24/7.

Queen’s Road:

Wicket gate/Main Gate – reserved for building work access.
Automatic gate – on card access 24/7.

Other Gates:

Trinity Piece Gate – on card access 24/7.

Merton Hall gate – on card access 24/7.

I have developed symptoms of Covid-19. What should I do?

Covid-19 symptoms include a high temperature, new continuous cough, or a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste. 

If you develop any of these symptoms, you should stay at home and:

  • inform your line manager immediately and complete this form 
  • you should arrange to take a LFD or PCR test as soon as possible (please see the staff FAQ on this below). If you have difficulty obtaining a test, you can telephone 119.
  • you should stay at home and self-isolate until you receive further instructions following the test. 


You should inform your line manager of the test result as soon as possible. You may be required to provide evidence of the outcome of this test. 

If the test is positive, you should self-isolate at home for at least ten days, or until well for 48 hours (whichever is longer). If the test is negative, your manager will discuss with you when you can return to work.     

Where you are unwell, the College's usual sick leave and pay entitlements apply. The College’s sickness absence policy is contained in the staff handbook which is available on HR Online or you can contact HR for a copy. On your return to work, you should complete a self-certification form and send this to the HR team in the normal way.  

The College normally requires a GP’s certificate for absences of more than seven days but this may not be possible for an employee who has contracted COVID-19. Managers should seek advice from the HR team in these instances.

I have developed symptoms of Covid-19. Can I get a test and, if so, how?

Testing is a key part of the University’s strategy for keeping its staff, workplaces and the wider community safe. The University offers swab tests to College and University staff and students, as well as staff at Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press, who have possible symptoms of Covid-19. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you should arrange a test immediately. Tests should now be booked online via the web portal, not via the Addenbrooke’s Hospital Occupational Health phone line.

When booking, you can select to take a test at one of two locations:

  • S2 Testing Pods, Addenbrooke's Hospital – 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. These pods are only accessible by car, or bike while wearing a mask. If you are already on the Biomedical Campus, you can access the pods on foot while wearing a mask.
  • Dyson Building, Department of Engineering, Fen Causeway entrance – 8.30am to 2.45pm, Monday to Friday. Accessible by bike or foot while wearing a mask. Access by car is possible but very limited. 

Maps showing the locations of the testing pods 

If you develop symptoms after the closure of the Pod on Friday, or any time on Saturday or Sunday, or cannot access either of these two locations, you can arrange a test at an alternative location using the NHS website.

For enquiries about what to do if you or a member of your household has symptoms of Covid-19, please visit the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni website or contact the University’s dedicated Covid-19 helpdesk by phone 01223 339514 or email covid-helpdesk@admin.cam.ac.uk. 

Wider Covid-19 symptomatic testing criteria

New criteria for the University Covid-19 symptomatic testing has been introduced to include milder but clinically relevant symptoms.

It includes: 

  • High temperature – a feeling of feverishness, or a measured temperature above 37.8° C
  • New cough – this means a new intermittent or persistent cough, or worsening of your usual cough (if you have one)
  • A loss or change in your sense of taste or smell, particularly in the absence of nasal congestion
  • A sore throat
  • Nasal discharge or congestion
  • Muscle aches
  • New hoarseness
  • New shortness of breath
  • A new wheeze
  • A positive Lateral Flow test


Anyone who meets the criteria listed above can go to one of the University’s Covid symptomatic testing stations. By testing quickly, we have the ability to react fast and appropriately.

Should you develop any of these symptoms, please self-isolate immediately, and notify the College using our Symptom Reporting Form. We would like students, Fellows and staff to let us know if you develop symptoms.

Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms and has not yet returned to Cambridge should self-isolate at home and not return to College until the full 10 days of quarantine has been completed.

Self isolation guidance for staff

I fit the criteria of someone who is at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (Covid-19). What should I do?

If you are concerned that you may be at greater risk of serious illness from Covid-19, you should speak to your line manager. 

Prior to returning to work on site, every member of staff will have had access to the risk assessment undertaken for their department so that they were aware of the general measures in place to minimise the risk of Covid-19 in the workplace.

Your line manager will then have completed a separate individual risk assessment with you if you are:

  • in the category formerly known as ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’;
  • have expressed concerns that you may be at greater risk of serious illness due to Covid-19; or,
  • have expressed concerns due to a member of your household being in the category formerly known as ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’
     

This separate individual risk assessment form aims to identify and record how specific control measures will be implemented to protect you and should be reviewed regularly with updates made where applicable.

Please note, depending on the nature of your condition we may need to contact your GP for further guidance and advice.

If you do not wish to disclose your medical condition to your manager, you can contact HR. Alternatively, you can contact the College Nurse in confidence for further advice.

I need to self-isolate as someone in my household has symptoms. Will I be paid?

If you live with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms but you remain well, you must remain at home for 10 days or until a negative test result is confirmed for the person you live with. You may be required to provide evidence of the outcome of this test.

Your line manager will explore with you whether you can work from home during this period, whether you could be given alternative duties where working from home is not possible, or whether the time will be treated as sick leave (in which case you will receive sick pay in accordance with the College’s sickness absence policy). If you receive sick pay, you should complete a self-certification form on your return to work which should be sent to the HR team.

Please note that the following individuals are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case and/or if they share a household with a positive COVID-19 case:

· Those aged 18 or under

· Those who have been: (a) double vaccinated; and (b) had their second COVID-19 vaccination at least two weeks prior to coming into close contact with the positive case

If you are not legally required to self-isolate as a contact, you are strongly advised to take a rapid LFD test every day for 7 days or until 10 days since your last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 if this is earlier. These individuals become legally required to self-isolate if they themselves test positive for COVID-19.

If you do not meet the exemption criteria then you must self-isolate as outlined above.

If you go on to develop symptoms of COVID-19 or you receive a positive test result, you should follow the advice set out in the previous section.

I have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. What should I do?

If you have had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for Covid-19, you should stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days. You may be required to provide further information, including evidence of the test. Further information on what constitutes a close contact is contained in Appendix 1 of the Self Isolation Guidance on HR online.

Your line manager will explore with you whether you can work from home during this period, whether you could be given alternative duties where working from home is not possible or whether the time will be treated as sick leave (in which case you will receive sick pay in accordance with the College’s sickness absence policy).  If you receive sick pay, you should complete a self-certification form on your return to work which should be sent to the HR team.  

Please note that the following individuals are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case:

· Those aged 18 or under

· Those who have been: (a) double vaccinated; and (b) who had their second COVID-19 vaccination at least two weeks prior to coming into close contact with the positive case

If you are not legally required to self-isolate as a contact, you are strongly advised to take a rapid LFD test every day for 7 days or until 10 days since your last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 if this is earlier. These individuals become legally required to self-isolate if they themselves test positive for COVID-19.

If you do not meet the exemption criteria then you must self-isolate as outlined above.

If you go on to develop symptoms of COVID-19 or you receive a positive test result, you should follow the advice set out in the previous section.

I travel to work on public transport. Can I still come in to work?

The government issued specific guidance for travel on public transport following the lifting of restrictions on 19 July 2021.

For staff who wish to cycle to College, note that the College has a cycle to work salary sacrifice scheme in place and we also provide access to secure cycle parking. Staff bicycles are registered with the Porters and can be parked at two conveniently accessible indoor storage facilities via a card entry system. We are also a member of Travel for Cambridgeshire (TfC) which offers a range of travel related discounts such as 10% off bicycles and accessories at certain stores. Further details can be found on HR Online.

Showers in E and F Chapel Court are available for staff use.

What support is available for staff who feel anxious about family or friends who may be affected by coronavirus?

We recognise that many members of our staff may feel anxious about Covid-19 and we are keen to provide support.  The Wellbeing page on HR Online sign-posts the options of support available including access to a 24/7 advice and counselling helpline for those who are in Simplyhealth, links to self-help guides available on the University counselling service page and contact details for others who can offer wellbeing support within the College.

If staff have queries relating to Covid-19, they can contact the College Nurse, whose contact details are available on the Wellbeing page. 

What happens if a dependant or close relative of mine dies of coronavirus?

Compassionate leave will be granted to an employee whose dependant or close relative dies from coronavirus.

The details of the Compassionate Leave policy can be found in the staff handbook which is available on HR Online or you can contact HR for a copy.

What if I have to quarantine for a period of time when I return to the UK from abroad?

You must comply with the latest Government advice regarding quarantine requirements when returning to the UK from abroad.

If you are planning to go abroad, you should speak to your line manager to see if you can book the time off as annual leave or work from home during any quarantine period.  If you do not have enough leave or are unable to work from home, your manager may agree for you to take unpaid leave or to make up the time at a later date (or may agree a combination of these options, if this can be accommodated). If you are intending to travel abroad we advise that you carefully consider the latest Government advice concerning your destination and discuss with your line manager how you would cover any quarantine requirements in advance of your travel, bearing in mind that these may be introduced at short notice including after you have already commenced your trip abroad. 

The above will also apply should the government introduce any quarantine requirements following travel within the UK to a location that is in a localised lockdown.

How can I help?

·  Anyone who is able to help others is being encouraged to consider donating items or money to the Trussell Trust.

·  In Cambridge, food or financial donations can be made to Jimmy’s, a charity that has been helping the homeless in the city for more than 20 years. 

·  The Red Hen Project is a small Cambridge based charity that works to support vulnerable families in the city. The charity has been providing food parcels to families in need during the lockdown.

·  Women’s Aid, a national charity, is concerned about the impact of coronavirus lockdown measures have on women and children and is encouraging donations as pressure on their services increase.

·  Supermarkets also have collection points for different charities and food banks.

Back to main Coronavirus Information page