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Coronavirus - Staff FAQs

Social distancing and protecting older and vulnerable people


I have an increased risk from coronavirus, what should I do?

The Government issued guidance for social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting people with an increased risk from coronavirus. If you fall into this group, your manager will update your HR Connect record, using the category ‘Vulnerable Group (as per Government guidance).


If your work cannot be undertaken at home due to your role or technology requirements, you may be asked to undertake alterative duties from home. You should keep in regular contact with your manager during this period. Please see the FAQ on homeworking for responses regarding salary payments during this period.​ 


What is the definition of those who are at increased risk of coronavirus?

The Government are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. This group includes those people who are:


·       aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)

·       under 70 with an underlying health condition as outlined here 

·       pregnant


There are also some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.  These people need to take extra steps to avoid getting it (shielding) and follow NHS advice to protect themselves.


What does the Government mean by applying social distancing measures?

The Government has defined social distancing measures that should be applied to reduce the social interaction between people which in turn will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus.


The Government has published new guidance on ‘social distancing’, with a particular focus on protecting older people and vulnerable adults (including those who are pregnant). The Government advice is that everyone should follow these measures.


The social distancing measures that the Government has introduced is for everyone to stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. People should only leave their home for very limited purposes:

Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.

  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

These reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, people should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring that they remain at least two metres apart from anyone outside their household.

There is separate advice for people who are at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus and if you, or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus


These measures are likely to be in place for some time and will understandably be very challenging for many individuals and families. The Government provides further information relating to health and wellbeing (via NHS) and staff may wish to access the University’s support provisions​ during this time.