Friday 13 March 2020

All staff email

Dear colleague

Yesterday the Government announced changes to the advice on when individuals should self-isolate in relation to COVID-19.

The advice now is that if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for seven days from when your symptoms started. Symptoms are defined by the Government as follows:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Testing will not be undertaken for people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.

If your symptoms worsen during isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. If you are a student on campus and you have an emergency please call (01904) 32 3333 (3333 from a university extension).

Further Staying at Home Guidance has been published by Public Health England including how to effectively manage self-isolation in different living environments. This contains important information to support the well-being of anyone self-isolating and those around them so please read this guidance.

Reporting self-isolation to the University

To date we have asked staff who are self-isolating to report this to their line manager which is the usual process for staff reporting any sickness absence.

We are now asking staff who need to self-isolate as above, to report this via an on-line form.

This change will allow us to gather data and understand the impact of COVID-19 more quickly than our standard absence reporting procedures will supply it. The form will not ask for any medical information, but will ask you to give dates you believe you will be self-isolating and whether you are well and able to work from home. The information will be used for business continuity and sick pay purposes. As the Government has relaxed the requirements for fit notes in relation to self-isolation and Covid-19, you will not at this moment be required to provide a fit-note and this form will be used in its place. Should this situation change the university webpages will be updated.

If you need to self-isolate

You should complete our online self-isolation form.

If you are self-isolating but are unable to complete the online form

Please contact your line manager by telephone. They will complete the form for you while you are on the phone.

We will ask you to estimate the end date of your self-isolation. If this date changes, please revisit the form and complete it again with details of your new situation.

We will let your department know that you are self-isolating. However, you may also want to contact your line manager or head of department to agree when you will next be in touch or to discuss any arrangements for working at home should you be well and able to do so.

If you are already self-isolating

You should also complete the online self-isolation form.

Please note that this form should be used for self-isolation in relation to COVID-19 only. The normal sickness absence process remains in place for all other sickness which should be reported as usual through your department.

Other questions you may have

We understand you may have questions about travel, working from home, concerns about existing health conditions or impacts regarding other members of your household. As the situation can change very quickly we are constantly updating the University’s dedicated COVID-19 web pages, that includes links to guidance on self-isolating and FAQs for staff and students based on the enquiries we are receiving. You can also email covid19-enquiries@york.ac.uk with any general queries.

We may need staff to be able to work from home at short notice. This means having equipment available, therefore we ask that, if possible, you take home your laptop and charger home each day if you have one.

The health and wellbeing of our staff is a priority and we will continue to provide updated information on our website.

Kind regards


Jo Horsburgh

Registrar and Secretary

All student email

This was the second of two emails sent to students on 13 March.

Dear students

Yesterday the Government announced changes to the advice on when individuals should self-isolate in relation to COVID-19. It is essential you are aware of the following advice.

Updated advice as of Friday 13 March 2020:

The advice now is that if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home or in your University accommodation and do not leave your house or flat for seven days from when your symptoms started. Symptoms are defined by the Government as follows:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Testing will not be undertaken for people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.

If your symptoms worsen during isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. If you are a student on campus and you have an emergency please call (01904) 32 3333 (3333 from a university extension).

Further Staying at Home Guidance has been published by Public Health England including how to effectively manage self-isolation in different living environments. This contains important information to support the well-being of anyone self-isolating and those around them so please read this guidance.

What you need to do:

Should you need to self-isolate you need to inform the University. Whether you are on or off campus, if you need to self isolate please inform the Student Hub by emailing student-hub@york.ac.uk providing the following information:

  • Where and when you started your self-isolation
  • What impact this might have on you
  • Your contact details

The Student Hub will contact you to understand your circumstance, and if you are a student in University accommodation, to discuss your self-isolation.

An online form to report self-isolation will be available early next week linked from the . We will use this information to monitor the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our students and to inform our support and teaching contingency plans.

The health and wellbeing of our students is a priority and we will continue to provide updated information on our website.

Kind regards

Jo Horsburgh

Registrar and Secretary

All student email

This was the first of two emails sent to students on 13 March.

Dear students

I am the University’s Registrar and Secretary, the person responsible for the organisation of University services and will be providing you with regular updates on the coronavirus (Covid-19) situation on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor.

This is especially important as we reach the end of term. So this note provides an update on the current situation and answers some of the questions around travel over the Easter vacation that we have received from students.

As you will have heard, the Government, in consultation with Public Health England (PHE), is putting measures in place to try to minimise the spread of Covid-19. Because the situation is fast moving and dynamic, we’ve been considering a number of scenarios to help us develop contingency plans focusing on supporting our students and staff, and enabling us to move teaching, learning and assessment activities online where appropriate and if required. We are also liaising with private student accommodation providers, and are linked into the city’s wider contingency and resilience planning network.

If we decide to take these plans forward, or if Government advice about universities changes, we will contact you as quickly as we can via email and text. We will also continue to provide updates at york.ac.uk/coronavirus: please continue to check these pages over the Easter vacation - you should treat these web pages as your primary source of information about all aspects of the University’s response to this situation. We are aware that some universities have experienced malicious misinformation campaigns about Covid-19 on a number of social media websites, and you should always check our main University Covid-19 Coronavirus pages for accurate information.

We will be sending another email later today with information for students in light of the new Government advice on self-isolation.

Given that for most students the term is finishing, we are asking you to take some sensible precautionary steps:

Please update your contact details:

Go onto e-vision and update your contacts details including the mobile phone number of the phone you will be using over the Easter break

If you are staying on campus:

The University will continue to provide you with the usual level of student support and catering facilities available during vacation periods

If circumstances change and we think services may be affected we will contact you with further details

You should continue to take the recommended health and hygiene precautions to maintain your wellbeing including frequent hand-washing with soap and hot water

If you’re going away for all or some of the vacation, please take from campus:

everything you need to study or revise during the summer term (including electronic equipment to access systems and services from off campus) in case you might need it at a later date

all data and files stored locally that you might need to complete assignments including project dissertations

all important personal documents (eg passport, driving licence, visa)

all medication and prescriptions

Whether you’re on campus, at home or elsewhere during the vacation, please continue to check the University website and your University emails regularly as we will post updates and contact you by email (and text where possible) with any updates.

We would also like to remind students of the advice on travelling:

Travel within the UK

At the moment there are no restrictions on travel within the UK. Keep up to date with the latest news and travel advice in the event the situation changes by looking at the University webpage and following the links to official Government and PHE sites.

Travel to non-restricted countries

Please refer to the latest Government and Foreign Office travel advice and check the status of the country you will be visiting before you travel. Please continue to check throughout your visit in case the status changes during your stay. If the status changes, there may be restrictions on your return to the UK. As above we also recommend that you take with you everything you would need to continue with your studies.

Travel to restricted countries

Students need to be mindful of their own health and the risks associated with travel to a country or regional area where travel has been restricted. If you do decide that travel to an affected area is essential, we would strongly recommend that you follow all local governmental advice in order to avoid contagion. You may find that some countries will impose restrictions on those entering from abroad such as enforced periods of self-isolation. The situation is fluid and there could also be restrictions on your return to the UK so you need to be prepared for this eventuality. As above we also recommend that you take with you everything you would need to continue with your studies.

Travel insurance and support overseas

Please check with your travel insurance provider that the policy you have taken out covers you for the destinations you plan to visit in the event of your travel plans being impacted by Covid-19. Should you fall into difficulties while you are travelling, you should contact the Embassy of your nationality based in the country you are visiting.

Visa worries

If you are an international student and you are worried about coronavirus and any implications for your visa, please read the Government guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for individuals in the UK who are unable to return to specified countries and areas. You can also contact the International Student Support team for advice.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is our main priority. The University remains open for business and is operating normally. I’d like to reassure you that if the situation changes we will do everything possible to support the wellbeing of our York community, and to maintain the academic progression of our students.

Kind regards

Jo Horsburgh

Registrar and Secretary