The Phasing Back to Campus Pathway has been developed in line with the NI Executive Pathway out of Restrictions, and it is therefore not date driven. However, for the purposes of planning, the University is working on the assumption that face-to-face teaching delivery will resume with no restrictions from 1 September 2021, subject to Public Health and NI Executive Guidance. Such planning is necessary for timetabling purposes and, in light of the current situation, contingency plans will also be made to account for a full return not being possible, such as ongoing requirements for social distancing.
As illustrated in the diagram below, our Pathway has four distinct Phases. A two-week lead time has been built in between announcement of any move to a new Pathway Phase and implementation of that stage. That is intended to reassure all staff that you will have at least two weeks to prepare for any change to your current working arrangements – the exception to this being any unforeseen and immediate mandatory changes brought in at Government level.
The current position is that where staff can work from home they should continue to do so. Alongside this, essential work is being carried out on-campus.
In advance of any changes within the NI Executive’s Pathway, Phase 1 of our Phasing Back to Campus Pathway will allow us to make the necessary preparations in advance of a return to face-to-face teaching on 1 September during which levels of essential work will increase. Essential workers will be prioritised for on campus work at each stage of our pathway. Proposals for identifying this work will be made at local level by Heads of School/Directors and approved by the University Operating Board (UOB). A 2-week lead time should be given to staff who are required to return to campus for essential work.
Essential work is typically:
- student facing;
- preparing for the return of students to campus that cannot take place remotely;
- required to support our research activity;
- and operational tasks that have to be undertaken on campus.
When NI Executive moves to Stage 2 of its pathway we will move to Phase 2. This means that colleagues will be encouraged to work occasionally on campus. Visits to the workplace can help staff familiarise themselves with the changes they can expect, and to experience the social distancing and the extent of the safety measures in place.
When NI Executive moves to either Stage 3 or 4 of its pathway we will move to Phase 3. This means all colleagues will begin a phased return with time split between on-campus and home working, equipment permitting. This will be on a rota-basis, guided by staff wellbeing and safety measures, and balancing team priorities and individual circumstances as far as possible.
The campus will fully reopen.