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COROnavirus FAQs

We are pleased to say that we have re-opened our head offices and school in Greenwich, along with our Brighton school, in a limited fashion to ensure that we can do so safely.

However, it remains the case that most of our employees continue to work from home and will continue to do so. Similarly, most of our teaching is currently done online.

The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and partners is of the highest importance. While preparing to re-open we consulted with colleagues on our plans seeking their feedback, and have subsequently published our Covid-19 risk assessment.

This page has been set up to provide answers to frequently asked questions that Oxford International employees might have. It will be updated on a regular basis.

General

The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England (PHE) update the UK’s COVID-19 information on a regular basis.

PHE have created a blog ‘Novel Coronavirus: what you need to know. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have also created a dedicated website for information and guidance. 

Oxford International Education Group is acting on advice from sources including the FCO, WHO, NHS and Public Health England. 

We have taken proactive steps to contact our students and staff to ensure that everyone has access to the latest advice. This includes conducting surveys on staff attitudes to working from home and returning to work and ensuring there is a focus on staff mental health and wellbeing.

Our risk assessment details the steps we are taking to manage the risks posed by Covid-19. These include enhancing our cleaning provision, ensuring social distancing in classes and offices and introducing a rota system for those staff that need to enter the workplace..

We will promote working from home where possible and work to ensure this is done as effectively and as mindfully as possible.

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus and how is it spread?

 The symptoms of coronavirus are:

– a new and continuous cough

– a high temperature (37.8 degrees or above)

– a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Because it’s a new illness, it is not known exactly how it is spread but it is probably in cough droplets.

Health, wellbeing and work

Anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus – a persistent cough, fever or a sudden loss of taste or sense of smell – will have to isolate for seven days. Anyone else in the household will need to isolate for 14 days.

In addition, everyone with symptoms should ask for a test online or call 119 to arrange a test.

For information on how to get a test please refer to the Gov website or click on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

If you test is negative please follow the information provided here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/what-your-test-result-means/

Only come into the office if you have no symptoms and feel well in yourself and if the rest of your household/bubble have also tested negative for Coronavirus. Otherwise you must continue to self-isolate.  .

If your test result is positive you must continue to self isolate for at least 7 days after your symptoms started. Further information about what to do if your test is positive is available here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/how-long-to-self-isolate/

Any member of staff who is off work because of suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) or if they are self-isolating must report it to their line manager and the HR team (HR@oxfordinternational.com).

If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For medical emergencies only, dial 999. 

Yes. All Oxford International employees will receive their usual contractual sick leave entitlements.

No but you may be asked to get an ‘Isolation Note’ (https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/)

But your absence must be reported to your line manager in the usual way and also to the HR team (HR@oxfordinternational.com).

Please maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene. This advice includes: 

– Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds 

– Always wash your hands when you get home or into work 

– Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available 

– Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze 

– Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards 

– Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell 

– Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean 

– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment. 

With regard to face masks and face coverings – Oxford International continues to follow current government advice.

Face coverings are not compulsory, however you are advised to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible or where you are more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet. Face masks are mandatory on public transport. The government advice is very clear regarding the need to reserve surgical face masks for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace such as health and care workers.

More information and details on how you can make and wear a cloth face covering can be found on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

The Government has advised that pregnant women are clinically vulnerable so it is very important that you follow the advice on social distancing. You will continue to receive a maternity risk assessment meetings for all pregnant staff – using Microsoft Teams is a very effective way – please ensure you carry out a new risk assessment to cover the working from home element and keep this updated regularly. The safety of pregnant staff alongside all other colleagues, will be considered as part of the planning for reopening our sites and returning to work. This will take account of all government advice. 

Oxford International is committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to protect our whole community and we recognise our duty of care to all colleagues and students regardless of background or ethnicity. We are working on a plan to reopen our sites safely to all, in accordance with government advice. This will include measures to help protect all staff including allowing staggered start and finish times and the implementation of social distancing measures for those at work. We remain clear about the need for respect, kindness and compassion for all. If you experience or witness any inappropriate behaviour, harassment or violence, please report it to the police immediately or to your line manager.

We know this will be an anxious time for many colleagues. We have an Employee Assistance line that can direct you to support services (0117 933 0687). Support is also available from the NHS talking therapy services. You can discuss any concerns that you have with your line manager who can support you with adjustments to your work. If you are experiencing significant symptoms you should contact your GP for advice and treatment if required.

SELf-Isolating, shielding or in a vulnerable Group

Public Health England (PHE) is advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following staying alert and safe guidance. The Government has identified those that are classified as clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable. People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should have received a letter telling them they’re in this group or been told by their GP. Further information is available online:

Guidance on who is classified as extremely vulnerable

We understand you may be concerned if you feel you are more vulnerable to the coronavirus than others (for example if you are in the categories listed above, or have vulnerable family members). If you are uncertain, members of staff should speak to their medical provider in the first instance.

We will support you as much as possible. Vulnerable staff should continue to work from home until the 1st of August 2020. If you are not able to carry out your role remotely, you will be granted special paid leave. This guidance also applies to people who live with and / or care for elderly people and people with vulnerable health conditions.  The government has advised that

People at high risk from coronavirus will no longer be advised to shield from 1 August 2020.  We are monitoring the situation closely and will be following government advice on this.  If you have been shielding and have any concerns about Coronavirus and shielding after the 1st August 2020 please contact your line manager or the HR department

Ensure you follow the guidance from Public Health England (PHE). If you or the person you live with/care for become symptomatic, then ensure you follow the PHE guidance on living with someone from a vulnerable group.

Many staff are now working from home where they are able to do so. If you or anyone you live with is within a vulnerable group, as outlined in the PHE guidance above, please speak to your manager to discuss how your work can be best managed.

TRAVEL

The latest UK Government guidance is now asking that anyone who travels outside the UK must stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days, regardless of whether you are showing any symptoms or not.

If this affects you, please let (staff) your line manager know or (students) make your personal/academic tutor aware.

If you start to feel unwell and suspect you may have contracted Coronavirus please follow the advice above (request a test, contact NHS 111 if your symptoms do not improve or feel you may require medical assistance).

We have paused international business travel until further notice. We will keep this under review with a view to getting back on the road as soon as possible but only when we think it wise to do so and will always follow FCO guidelines.

If you have booked flights or hotels, these should be cancelled or postponed immediately in order to get a refund or a deferral. Insurance claims should be a last resort.

Domestic travel will continue except for people who are UK based. All UK based employees should avoid making non-essential domestic trips. We understand that some staff may be anxious about travelling and if this is the case they should discuss it with their line manager.