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Living with COVID-19

COVID-19 remains a risk

COVID-19 is still circulating within the community. It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Following the guidance will help you to understand situations where there is a greater risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 and the steps that you can take to stay safe and help protect others.

By making safer choices and following public health advice, you can help lower the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

  • Understanding the Risks

    As we learn to live with coronavirus (COVID-19), there are actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and passing it on to others.

    These actions will also help to reduce the spread of other respiratory infections, such as influenza (flu), which can spread easily and may cause serious illness in some people.

  • Get Vaccinated

    Vaccines are the best defence against COVID-19 and other respiratory infections such as flu. They provide good protection against hospitalisation and death. They also reduce the risk of long-term symptoms.

    Getting fully vaccinated is the best way of protecting you and others against COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

    Get a COVID-19 vaccination and booster in Northern Ireland

  • Wear a Face Covering

    Wearing a face covering can reduce the number of virus containing particles that are released from the mouth and nose of someone (from coughs, sneezes and speaking) who is infected with COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

    Although wearing a face covering is no longer a legal requirement, they are still strongly recommended in indoor areas where you come into contact with people you do not usually meet.

    By wearing a face covering you are showing your support and consideration for others and playing your part to prevent transmission of respiratory infections.

    We recognise that individuals may still choose to wear a face covering and this should be respected by all members of our community.

  • Keep your Distance

    There is no longer a legal requirement to maintain social distancing on campus, however, colleagues should respect the personal space of others as we transition away from COVID-19 measures.

    The closer you are to others, the higher the risk. The level of risk also increases if there are no mitigations in place.

    It is also important to consider that others may wish to continue to take a more cautious approach. Be considerate of this and give others space to reduce close contacts if they wish.

  • Wash your Hands Regularly and Cover Coughs and Sneezes

    Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day. Regular hand washing is an effective way to reduce your risk of catching illnesses, including COVID-19.

    Cleaning materials are provided for everyone to use in all teaching, laboratory and office spaces.  If additional supplies of these are required please contact the Estates Helpdesk.

    Where possible, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Limit Close Contact with Other People

    You may choose to limit the close contact you have with people you do not usually live with.

    If you are planning an indoor gathering / event, you should implement controls to manage the risk from COVID-19 such as keeping rooms well ventilated and maintaining social distancing as much as possible. This should be documented in your event risk assessment.

  • Keep Indoor Spaces Well Ventilated

    In indoor spaces, the amount of virus in the air can build up, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. If you are indoors, you should let fresh air in to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

    You can improve natural ventilation by opening windows, air vents and doors either fully or partially, however, fire doors should not be propped open. Opening all the doors and windows as fully as possible maximises the ventilation in a room. If it’s too cold, opening your window for just 10 minutes every hour can make a significant difference. This is particularly important before, during and after meeting people you do not live with indoors.

    Many work areas in the University also have mechanical ventilation, which has been adjusted and calibrated to the correct setting.

    Please report any concerns regarding mechanical ventilation to the Estates Helpdesk.

  • Shared Spaces

    There are many practical steps that you can take to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading when using shared spaces.

    Contact with shared surfaces that are touched often can increase the risk of infection.

    Shared spaces and rooms used for activities should be cleaned regularly using the cleaning materials provided in the room. This includes cleaning door handles, tables, seats, and handrails.

    Shared spaces should be well ventilated after people leave, by fully opening windows and doors to increase fresh air.

  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Individuals

    In the main, the University expects staff to work on campus as requested by their Line Manager and as required by their role.

    Whilst particularly vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable, and high or higher-risk individuals are not being advised to shield by the Government, we understand the concerns this will raise for staff and students in those groups.

    Whilst individual risk assessments are not required, anyone with health concerns that affect their ability to work, or study, are encouraged to speak to their Line Manager, Human Resources Business Partner, Supervisor or Academic Tutor.

  • Testing and Isolation Advice

    If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, you should take a COVID-19 lateral flow test.

    If you have a positive COVID-19 test result, you should follow the advice below.

    Stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days after the day of the test, or from the day symptoms started (whichever was earlier).

    As children tend to be less infectious than adults, this period is reduced to three days for children and young people under 18 years of age.

    As a precautionary measure, you should avoid contact with people you know to be at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days, especially those with a weakened immune system, to make sure you are no longer infectious.

    You should also continue to take precautions, such as regularly washing your hands and wearing a face covering, particularly in crowded indoor places.

    Testing to end isolation is no longer required.

  • Advice for Close Contacts

    People who live in the same household as someone with a positive COVID-19 test are most at risk of becoming infected, as they are likely to have prolonged contact with the infectious person.

    You are advised to let everyone in your household know about your positive COVID-19 test result.

    COVID-19 is infectious for up to two days before you begin to feel unwell, or the date of your test, and it can take up to 10 days for infection to develop in close contacts. You should tell anyone you have had close contact with to be aware of signs or symptoms during this time.

    If you know that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive during their infectious period, you should avoid contact with people you know to be at higher risk of severe disease should they contract COVID-19 despite vaccination.

    You should not visit people in a hospital, care home or other health and care setting.

    The Public Health Agency is no longer carrying out contact tracing in the general population.