Covid-19: Guidance for Support Staff

Updated 14/04/21 @ 10:45

More than ever, our hard-working support staff will be the college’s foundation during the pandemic. On this page, you can find guidance and information about things will be affected this term and how we can stay safe at work.

All University staff are able to book a coronavirus test using their Single Sign On over at . If you are unsure whether you should be getting a test or self-isolating, have a look at our  which runs through the different situations.

  1. When do I need a test? Staff Testing Guidance for COVID-19
  2. Book a test through the University
  3. Wellbeing advice for staff
  4. ICT Help And Advice
  5. Managing concerns about on-site working for both staff and managers
  6. Download the NHS Covid-19 App: Apple or Android


  • How will testing work in the Easter vacation and in Trinity?

    If you have symptoms that could be those of COVID-19, you must book a PCR test via the following link:

    If you are a student or staff-member of Somerville College, you should also participate in regular symptom-free testing via the university’s LFD testing service. Please note that, while testing is voluntary, we strongly encourage everyone who is working or studying on site to get tested twice a week, every week throughout Trinity term, including those staff and students who have been vaccinated or have had COVID-19 more than 90 days ago. You can book a test via the following link:

    You can select your testing centre within the booking for; the closest testing centre to Somerville is St Luke’s Chapel on the ROQ site.

    We appreciate there will have to be some flexibility in order for staff to attend the testing centres, so request that staff discuss with their line managers if they need to perform a test inside working hours (the testing centres are likely to be busiest before and after working and during lunch hours).

  • Will social distancing and mask usage still be necessary?

    Yes, due to the fact that LFD tests do not pick up every positive case, social distancing and mask usage will still be necessary for the time being.

  • When will students be returning for Trinity 2021?

    We are encouraging undergraduate students to return by April 21st to allow sufficient time to take two Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests before term starts. We are also giving special consideration to finalists, including third-year students on four-year integrated masters courses, who may ask to return from 12th April. We are also willing to extend that to requests to return from 5th April, if a student deems that essential to their studies. All postgraduate taught students were able to return from March 8th.

  • Will international students be able to return to College for Trinity 2021?

    Residency requirements will not be in place for international students next term, but we hope that, if it is safe for them to do so and they wish to make the journey, they will return to Somerville. Foreign students from non-'red list' countrie will be able to do their required period of self-isolation in College.

  • How will teaching take place during Trinity 2021?

    There will be no in-person teaching until at least 26th April and some tutorials might continue to be on-line during Trinity Term.

  • How will dining work in Trinity 2021?

    The dining room on the quad will once again be open for lunch and dinner in Trinity term.

  • What precautions will be in place when I return to work in Somerville?

    We all want to feel safe while we’re at work, so continue to work hard to make Somerville a Covid-safe environment. The College has developed a comprehensive risk assessment and policy, signage is in place to remind us all of the importance of social distancing and good hygiene, office spaces have been planned to allow for social distancing while we work, and we’ll all be following the University’s policy on face coverings.

    Your manager will complete an induction with you when you return, and we also ask that you complete an individual risk assessment if you haven’t already done so. More guidance for employees is available here and, if at any time you have questions or concerns, please speak to your manager or supervisor.

  • I am worried about coming back into work; what should I do?

    In the first instance, please speak to your line manager, who will be able to reassure you about the specific arrangements in place for your place of work. If you still have specific concerns you should raise these with your line manager, who can seek additional guidance and support from your Head of Department or HR as necessary.

  • Are there any exceptions where face coverings are not required?

    There are limited specific exceptions laid out in university policy where face coverings can be removed. These include when alone in single occupancy offices, or when seated at a desk in a shared office (provided in all cases 2m social distancing is consistently maintained). This is because where face-to-face interaction, such as speaking with others, and movement around the space are minimised, then the risk of transmission is reduced. In addition, in these settings you are less likely to be in contact with people that you do not normally meet.

  • What are my options if my children have to self-isolate and can’t be at school?

    We recognise that the situation with school openings and attendance may change throughout Michaelmas Term. If your child is not able to attend school because it is closed or because teaching hours are reduced, for example, then you should speak to your line manager in the first instance. Where possible, we will try to allow you to work from home, consider staggered start and finish times, or other reasonable options. If you are unable to work, you may be able to take annual leave or unpaid leave.

  • What should I do if I have symptoms of coronavirus?

    The most common symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. If you experience these at home, you must not come into work. If you experience these, tell your line manager and arrange for a test through the University’s Early Alert Service; click here. If you arrange a test through the NHS website or NHS 111, you’ll need to notify EAS separately, so that your test results are shared with the College. If you have symptoms at work, tell your line manager and go home immediately. If you normally use public transport, speak to your manager about alternative ways of getting home. You should then arrange a test through the University’s Early Alert Service, through the NHS website or via NHS 111.

    While you’re waiting for test results, you must self-isolate at home. If you test positive for Covid-19, you must comply with the current requirements and comply with the NHS Test and Trace programme.

    For more information on when and how to get a test, please read our Staff Testing Guidance.

  • I don’t have my own printer; how can I get documents printed out?

    Arrangements for printers are being finalised, and will be available soon.

  • Can I have an Amazon package delivered to me?

    We cannot accept Amazon or other deliveries at this time, as we cannot guarantee being able to handle them in a safe manner. You should not, therefore, arrange for deliveries to be made to you at College.

  • I am worried about getting public transport to travel to work – what should I do?

    The current Government advice is to avoid public transport if at all possible, and you should walk or cycle to work. If you do use public transport, it is mandatory to wear a mask and you should maintain social distancing while on the bus or train. If you do still have concerns, please speak to your line manager to investigate whether your role allows you to work from home, or if your start and finish times can be staggered to avoid the busier periods.

  • What will happen if there is another mass lockdown situation?

    The collegiate University has been carefully planning how to respond in various situations. The overall plan, and the University’s current status, are updated regularly and are available here:

  • Should I get the flu vaccination?

    Yes. This year with both the flu virus and COVID-19 circulating, flu immunisation is more important than ever to reduce infections, protect each other and protect the NHS. Experts regard the flu vaccine as one of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter, and it also helps our front-line staff to protect others.

Return to the Covid-19 hub