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Your questions answered – staff

Updated: 7 August 2020

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New academic year | Return to campus | VolunteeringWorking remotely | Support and resources for colleagues with a disability | Self-isolation | Self-isolation reporting form | Travel and Visas | Events, meetings and recruitment  | Contracts | Teaching | King's response to coronavirus


New academic year

When will the new academic year begin?

We are planning for the 2020/21 academic year to start in September, in a flexible format for some that will blend the best of our campus environment and digital provision to support our students whatever their individual circumstances.


Return to campus

When can staff working remotely come back into the office?

To maintain safe distancing the number of people that can be in our buildings at one time is limited. At this time, staff will only return to working on campus where it is essential for them to do so. Faculties and directorates will be reviewing what work needs to be done on campus and what can continue to be done remotely and talking to the relevant members of staff about returning to work on campus. For many of you, working remotely, where possible, will remain the default.


What measures will be in place to keep our staff and students safe at the start of the academic year?

We are continuing to re-open our buildings in a phased and flexible way implementing the robust safety measures that we tested during the pilot phases throughout June and July. Measures include:

  • Risk assessments of activities and spaces
  • Face coverings being worn in our buildings (unless medically exempt)
  • Safe distancing 
  • A one-way system where possible
  • Limited use of and numbers in lifts
  • Fixed cleaning protocols are in place
  • Hand sanitiser stations are at entrances and in common spaces
  • Wipepods with disinfectant wipes to clean desks and study areas

Infomation is available on our return to campus webpages and in our A-Z guide.


Can I get access to university buildings during this period?

Our university buildings are closed and staff cannot access them. The only exceptions are staff who have been identified by their Faculty, School or Directorate as ‘essential’ to maintain certain services and facilities and those working on COVID-19 research.


Volunteering


Are there any volunteering opportunities I can get involved in?

We want to make it as simple as possible for King’s students, staff and alumni to support communities in our local area, across the UK and internationally. You can find out more on our #ContinuingToServe webpages. As well as volunteering in your own time, everyone employed by King’s can choose to spend up to three days per year (pro-rated) doing voluntary work for another organisation or volunteering scheme using Service Time (internal).


Working remotely


As a member of staff, can I work remotely?

The majority of King’s staff are now working remotely/from home. For useful resources to support you during this time, please visit:


School closures and caring responsibilities

If you have young children at home when the schools are closed or have other caring responsibilities and are working at home, we know that you may be unable to commit to a full day of work. We understand and thank you for your best efforts. You do not need to take annual leave to make up any perceived difference. Do what you can, ask for help and take care of your family. If you are unable to work at all because of caring for dependants, please talk to your line manager about dependant's leave.


How can I support and prepare my PGR student for an online oral examination?

A guidance document has been put together for everyone who is involved in setting up, conducting, participating, and managing the online oral examinations for research degrees. This guidance document can be found here


Support and resources for colleagues with a disability


Workplace Adjustments

As the majority of King’s staff who are working from home, those who already had existing workplace adjustments in place may require these to be adapted to the home working environment. There may also be staff who require workplace adjustments as a result of the new ways of working. While King’s is required by law to make workplace adjustments that are reasonable, it is also an opportunity for us to protect, support and develop colleagues our community can fulfil their potential.


How can I request a Workplace Adjustment? 

Your HR People Partner can advise on workplace adjustments and assist with next steps. If you have not already done so, we recommend contacting them at the earliest opportunity. With your consent, we also advise keeping a record of any adjustments that are agreed and put in place. This will help when it comes to reviewing the adjustments as well as in the event of any internal moves within the university.

Find more information about support for disabled staff on the HR Intranet pages including more information about workplace adjustments.


Access King’s

All staff are invited to join Access King’s, the staff disability inclusion network, for access to peer support and further guidance. Contact Access King's via email: access-kings@kcl.ac.uk or join the conversation on Yammer.


 

The Business Disability Forum

King’s is a member of the Business Disability Forum (BDF), who provide resources to support disabled staff. The BDF COVID-19 toolkit provides guidance and resources on how the virus may affect disabled people and people with compromised immune systems. BDF is also running weekly webinars on supporting disabled colleagues during this time.

Anyone with a King’s email address can become a BDF member and access these resources, and also obtain advice from their advice centre. To sign up, follow this link and use your King’s email. 

For support in accessing the adjustments you need while working from home, please contact your line manager or People Services.


Self-isolation


As a staff member who is self-isolating, should I take leave?  

If you are a member of staff who is self-isolating you must notify your department and fill out the online Self-Isolation Reporting Form without delay. 

Self-isolating with symptoms:

If you have symptoms of the virus, your absence will be treated as sickness absence and the university’s standard sickness absence reporting procedure will apply (for example, reporting via TeamSeer or other local system). Please see the Sickness Absence Management Policy for further details. You should follow the PHE guidance for self-isolating at home.

Self-isolating without symptoms:

If you do not have symptoms you should, if possible, work from home (see the Interim Homeworking Policy). If you cannot work from home because your role is unsuitable, or you do not have the appropriate equipment, you should talk to your line manager about taking Special Paid Leave

If you do not have symptoms but are unable to work at all because of caring for dependants, you should talk to your line manager about taking Dependants’ Leave. If you are able to do some work, you should work from home where possible (see above).

In the context of COVID-19, self-isolating is not quite the same as quarantining. People may be required to self-isolate for many reasons, while a period of quarantine is only required on return to the UK after travel abroad to certain countries. Please see the FAQs: 2020 leave and coronavirus (COVID-19) for more information about quarantine and leave.


What if a dependant contracts COVID 19? 

If you need to care for a dependant who has contracted COVID-19 or is in self-isolation, Dependants’ Leave is available to cover genuine and unforeseen emergencies involving dependants. Please see the university’s Dependants’ Leave Procedure for information about eligibility and duration. 

If you then develop symptoms, please let your department know and complete the Self-Isolation Reporting Form without delay. Your absence will be treated as sickness absence (as described above) and the university’s standard sickness absence reporting procedure will apply. Please see the Sickness Absence Management Policy for further details. You should follow the PHE guidance for self-isolating at home.


What if one of my students is self-isolating or reporting symptoms?

If a student advises you that they are self-isolating or have tested positive for Coronavirus, please ask them to fill in the online form straight away. Any student declaring that they have no support, or that they have been confirmed as testing positive for Coronavirus are contacted directly by the Advice & Guidance Team as a matter of upmost priority. There is no requirement to also raise a Student of Concern in these cases.    


Travel and visas


As a member of staff, who should I contact about visa and immigration concerns?

If you are a member of staff and you have visa or immigration concerns, please contact our UKVI team on ukvi@kcl.ac.uk.  


Can I still travel for work?

All international travel for business purposes is suspended until further notice.


What is the advice on international travel for staff?

Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice is constantly under review, so that it reflects the latest assessment of risks and any quarantine requirements in place. You should check the travel advice to the country you are travelling to.




Events, meetings and recruitment


Should planned events still go ahead?

All university events, gatherings or meetings are being offered virtually, postponed or cancelled until further notice. If you are planning an event or meeting with a large number of participants, please speak to IT for advice and support.


Recruitment

We have paused recruitment and will only be recruiting for essential roles in exceptional circumstances such as for roles directly related to the student experience and/or regulatory or compliance related.

Faculties: All recruitment must be authorised by your provost - Evelyn Welch or Robert Lechler.

If you have any questions please contact your HR Senior People Partner: 

  • Arts and Sciences Faculties Senior People Partner: Frederico Maia
  • Health Faculties Senior People Partner: Imtiaz Ali

Directorates: All recruitment must be authorised by Stephen Large.

If you have any questions please contact the HR People Partner for your area.


Can I hold interviews for new members of staff?

Interviews for approved recruitment should be carried out remotely.


Contracts


Fixed term contracts will not be automatically extended but will be reviewed on an individual basis in accordance with the needs of the institution.


Teaching


Teaching sessions for taught students will be delivered online from 23 March 2020. We will be reviewing the situation regularly. There may be some exceptions to this policy in Clinical Faculties, for example where term dates differ. Students will be contacted by their faculties and departments about specific plans for clinical and lab teaching.

More information on supporting teaching and learning with technology is available.