information for colleagues

Page last updated 01/04/2021

Coronavirus symptoms and self-isolation: HR guidance for colleagues

  • Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days or longer if they have a high temperature until the temperature returns to normal. You must not come to campus during this time although colleagues can work remotely if they are well enough to do so.
  • Anyone living with someone who has symptoms must follow Government guidance on self-isolation and must not come to campus during this time. Colleagues can work remotely if they are well enough to do so.
  • Anyone contacted through the Test and Trace programme must follow Government guidance on self-isolation.
  • Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) can get a free test to check if they have the virus.
  • Please download the official NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. You will see QR code posters around our campuses that you can scan using the app. Checking in means you will be alerted if you come into contact with coronavirus.

Any colleagues who the above applies to must let their manager know. 

Guidance and support

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you must follow Government and Public Health England (PHE) guidance around self-isolating and testing and tracing.

You can stop self-isolating after 10 days if you do not have any symptoms or you just have a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste (these can last for weeks after the infection has gone). 

You must keep self-isolating if you continue to display symptoms after 10 days. 

If you are unfit to work due to a diagnosis of Covid-19 or Covid-19 symptoms, you can self-certify for a period in excess of seven days, even if you have not attended a GP surgery or hospital due to the risk of further infection.
You must inform your manager on the first day of any period of absence, explaining you are absent and stating how long you expect to be absent – in line with the relevant PHE/NHS guidance provided at that time.

When you report your symptoms or positive test result your manager will ask you a few questions. This will include enquiring about how you are currently feeling; some colleagues who do not have symptoms or feel unwell work from home during the period of self-isolation. Your manager will also ask if you have been on campus recently, and if you have, when this was and what contact you had with other colleagues, students or other visitors. This is important so that we can continue to maintain a safe working environment on campus for our whole community. Please be as accurate as possible. 

Your manager will maintain contact with you during your period of self-isolation and provide appropriate support.

Where colleagues are absent due to a confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19 or because they have Covid-19 related symptoms, it will not count towards their absence thresholds.

Please see the following guide on how to put absence related to Covid-19 into iTrent

People in Leeds who are struggling with ongoing symptoms should consult their GP.  There is a Covid Rehabilitation pathway in Leeds that people can be referred into, if needed.

Local information on recovering from Covid-19 is available here: https://www.leedsccg.nhs.uk/health/coronavirus/recovering-from-coronavirus/

 In addition, www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk is a self-care resources that people can access to help support Covid-19 recovery and the management of ongoing symptoms.

Most people with coronavirus (COVID-19) experience mild symptoms that can be managed at home without medical intervention.

Take paracetamol to ease discomfort and reduce your temperature.  You can also take ibuprofen if necessary.  Drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest.  If you have a cough lie on your side or sit upright rather than lying on your back.  Try a teaspoon of honey and drink warm fluids.  If you are experiencing breathlessness turn the heating down or try opening a window (don’t use a fan as this can spread the virus).  Keeping as relaxed as possible can help.  Try breathing slowly through your nose and out through your mouth, relaxing your shoulders, and sitting upright and comfortably in a chair.  You can find more tips and information at NHS guidance on managing symptoms at home.

Feeling breathless can be a sign of a more serious coronavirus infection.  If you feel breathless and it's getting worse, get medical advice from the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.

It’s important that you complete the reporting form at the top of this page if you have symptoms of coronavirus, have received a positive test result, or are having to self isolate because of contact with others, so that you can let us know if you need any help, support or further advice. NHS Volunteer Responders can also help you while you have to stay at home (self-isolate).

During the pandemic it is important that you look after your mental wellbeing, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Visit our dedicated advice pages on self-isolation for a range of activities and advice which will have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.

If there are members of your household with symptoms, you must follow Government and Public Health England guidance and inform your line manager as soon as possible. If you do not have symptoms and are able to work from home, then you should discuss this with your manager who will instruct you on your duties during your period of self-isolation. If you are not able to work from home then you should still stay at home in accordance with the guidance. You will not be financially disadvantaged if you are not able to work during self-isolation.

Our Human Resources team has prepared a guide on how to put absence related to coronavirus into iTrent.

For those colleagues who are clinically extremely vulnerable, the Government advice is that shielding ended on 31 March 2021.  From April, these colleagues can begin to follow the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population but are still advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe from Covid-19.

The Government will write to everybody who has been shielding and set out practical steps people can follow to reduce their risk of catching the virus, including continuing to maintain strict social distancing and to keep their overall social contacts at low levels, such as working from home where possible. 

Where you are unable to work from home you can now attend work on campus. The university has a range of measures in place to make the workplace Covid-19 secure and your manager will explain these to you as detailed in the Pan University Covid-19 Health and Safety Risk Assessment.  Your manager will also review or complete a Vulnerable Individual Covid-19 Return to Work Risk Assessment with participation from yourself to identify if there are any additional measures we need to put in place to ensure the environment is safe for you. 

The government guidelines state that if you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

•    aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions)
•    under 70 with an underlying health condition (see the link below for further details)  
•    pregnant (Coronavirus (Covid-19): advice for pregnant employees)

More detailed advice can be found on the NHS website. Clinically vulnerable colleagues can attend work on campus, where they are required to do so as part of their role.

Some colleagues are defined, on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, colleagues with specific serious health conditions.

We all have a shared commitment in ensuring a safe working environment. Please speak to your line manager if you have reasons to be concerned about attending work on campus due to a disability, underlying medical conditions (or because you live with someone with a disability or underlying medical concerns), or because of caring responsibilities. 

In these circumstances, a Vulnerable Individual Covid-19 Return to Work Risk Assessment should be completed to assess whether they are any vulnerabilities which may place you at risk within the workplace. Your manager should complete this form with participation from yourself.

Information and guidance is available from Human Resources and on the the health and wellbeing section of our Covid-19 FAQs, which will continue to be updated. Our Wellbeing and Occupational Health Service provides support and resources which can be accessed remotely through the staff intranet pages and Health Assured continue to run the Employee Assistance Programme helpline as normal. The Chaplaincy Service also offers support to all colleagues.

Occupational Health is continuing to provide a remote service, with all consultations being undertaken by telephone. The occupational health physician and the physiotherapy services are also available remotely. Online classes and fitness tips to help your physical wellbeing have been offered via Sport and Active Lifestyles.

Some staff are required to be on campus and we are now able to offer these colleagues lateral flow tests in line with the Government’s recommendations. These staff have been contacted directly by their manager.

Staff requiring regular lateral flow tests each week can speed up the process by creating an NHS Test and Trace account.

Setting one up is simple and requires an email address and mobile phone number and means you will not have to re-enter your details every time you take a test, saving time for you and the NHS.

Risk assessments have been carried out for those colleagues, with reference to Public Health England and NHS guidance.

If you have concerns about being on campus, please raise these with your line manager who will seek to understand your concerns and whether they can be accommodated. If you are unable to work from home as an alternative, then unpaid leave or annual leave may be considered to support you in these circumstances, although this may not be approved for prolonged periods. The requirements of the University will need to be balanced against your personal concerns.

WHAT TO DO IF A STUDENT OR COLLEAGUE IS DISPLAYING SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19

All students and staff should be aware of the steps needed if they experience coronavirus symptoms or are required to help a student or colleague. 

If anyone develops a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a change in their normal sense of taste or smell, they must be sent home and be advised to follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (Covid-19) infection. This sets out that they must

  • Self-isolate - they should stay at their term-time address, must not come to campus or travel, and self-isolate for at least 10 days. Anyone in their household must also self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Get tested - they should follow NHS website guidance to get tested as soon as possible to see if they have Covid-19. Anyone awaiting a test result should not be on campus.

In the event that someone presents with clear Covid-19 symptoms whilst on campus or approaches you to seek advice regarding such symptoms, you should:

  • Firstly consider if there is a medical emergency. If so, you should dial 999 and then follow university procedures. 
  • If it is not an emergency advise them to return to their term-time households immediately and follow Government advice regarding self-isolation and testing. Tell them to complete the student COVID-19 report via My Hub (process outlined below)
  • Maintain at least a 2m distance. If they need to await transport or are too unwell to leave immediately, encourage them to move to an isolated area within your zone if possible until they are able to leave campus. You will need to identify a suitable isolated area. 
  • Contact the CARES helpdesk if there is a need for further cleaning assistance. 
  • If the individual was in the library, study space or a class, they should be reassured regarding social-distancing and cleaning measures in place that should have limited the risks of potential transmission.
  • Encourage people to wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds if they believe they may have come into contact with surfaces touched by the person.
  • There is no need for people to self-isolate unless they receive notification to do so which will only happen if a positive case is confirmed following testing and they have been in close contact with the confirmed case.
  • In relation to Leeds Beckett University as an educational setting, ‘close contact’ is defined as a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
    1. being coughed on
    2. having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    3. having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
    4. contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • There are further considerations that relate to social contact and personal relationships which NHS Test & Trace will enquire about separately.
  • Reassurance should be offered that the University and NHS Test and Trace have protocols in place for informing individuals and groups of students and staff who may be a risk depending on the contact they have had with someone who has tested positive. This depends on the circumstances and will led centrally by Student Services working with Schools.
  • If someone presents with symptoms this doesn’t mean you need to go home or self-isolate provided the appropriate social distancing measures were in place during your interactions on campus.

If a student presents with symptoms, please follow the advice above. If a student reports to you that they have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or if you are aware of any students affected who have not self reported, please contact the Student Advice Hub via the online reporting form, phone 0113 8128507 or email Student.coronavirus@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

You must inform your manager on the first day of any period of absence, explaining you are absent and stating how long you expect to be absent – in line with the relevant PHE/NHS guidance provided at that time. Your manager will follow the normal absence recording procedures.  

When you report your symptoms or positive test result your manager will ask you a few questions. This will include enquiring about how you are currently feeling; some colleagues who do not have symptoms or feel unwell work from home during the period of self-isolation. Your manager will also ask if you have been on campus recently, and if you have, when this was and what contact you had with other colleagues, students or other visitors. This is important so that we can continue to maintain a safe working environment on campus for our whole community.  Please be as accurate as possible.

Your manager will maintain contact with you during your period of self-isolation and provide appropriate support.  

Where colleagues are absent due to a confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19 or because they have Covid-19 related symptoms, it will not count towards their absence thresholds. 

Line managers should follow the normal absence recording procedures as well as the Test, Track and Trace process. Please see the following guide on how to put absence related to Covid-19 into iTrent.