Tag: Need to know

Need to know – 16 March

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. The national day of reflection – 23 March 2021

Next week on 23 March, one year on from the start of the first lockdown, there will be a national minute’s silence at midday to remember all those who have lost their lives since the beginning of the pandemic. At 8pm there will also be a national doorstep vigil where people are encouraged to light up their doorsteps, and public buildings and monuments will also be lit up.

We would encourage you all to join in this moment of reflection, and please feel able to take the minute to reflect, and if possible, delay meetings and teaching by a minute.

2. Staff volunteers for paired activities project

During last year’s winter break, more than 400 members of staff volunteered their time to take part in paired activities with students, with the aim of helping students in Edinburgh to feel supported and part of a community.

Following the success of this project, the University has decided to expand the project for the rest of the academic year.

To support this, the Student Wellbeing team is looking for staff who are willing to volunteer their time to take part in paired activities over the coming months. Volunteers will be asked to commit one or two hours a week to meet with a student in Edinburgh for an activity such as a walk, run or cycle.

We know that staff will have their own challenges and commitments this year, but those who can spare some time can sign up using the online availability form.

3. Staff Covid-19 FAQs updated

Colleagues in HR have reviewed our Staff Covid-19 webpages and updated them with the latest information and guidance, including the extension to the furlough scheme, taking time off work for vaccination appointments and encouragement to take annual leave. Find the latest information on the Coronavirus webpages.

Need to know – 2 March

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. Standing up against racism

All members of our community should feel safe in expressing opinions and holding open and frank conversation on online forums, including on social media. Over recent weeks we have been made aware of a number of incidents where inappropriate language has been aimed at members of our BAME community and sadly this has included abuse aimed at our new Rector, Debora Kayembe. We condemn all racism and stand united against racism and the University regards any incident of this nature as a serious matter.

For more information on what we’re doing to promote anti-racism and a positive culture which celebrates difference, challenges prejudice and ensures fairness and includes details on how to report any concerns you have regarding racism within the University, visit our Race Equality webpages.

2. Zoom security guidance

Although we are very familiar with using Zoom and Microsoft Teams, you may have seen recent reports about a University Society Zoom meeting being disrupted by unwanted attendees. The University has an enterprise version available for all staff and students and using this rather than a personal version is a good way to help keep everyone safe if you are setting up a call.  

There are more details on how to use Zoom or Teams on the University website, where you will also find general guidance on keeping safe online including social media protection and staying safe while learning and teaching online.

3. Planning for the academic year 2021/22

Following the UK Government’s Covid-19 response and the Scottish Government’s announcement last week on the roadmap for easing Covid-19 restrictions, we have reviewed the potential impacts on existing decisions and planning assumptions.  

The recent announcements have added more complexity to our planning assumptions for the next academic year, and particularly any assumptions around the requirements for physical distancing. The Academic Strategy Group has discussed this further and a newly established planning and implementation group, with College and School representation, is reviewing the position.

4. Brexit Information Sessions resources

Resources from the Brexit Information Sessions that were held earlier this month are now available. They include the slides that were presented, FAQs and a series of case studies that show various new immigration scenarios. You can view the resources on the Global section of the website.

Need to know – 2 February

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. Updated fraud and bribery policies

The University has updated a number of important policies and procedures relating to anti-bribery, fraud and whistleblowing and to counter a global rise in fraudulent activity such as cybercrime. All the information you need, including FAQs, a summary of the key changes, how to ask a question and how to accurately report fraudulent activity can be found on the Staff News webpages.

2. Assessment: Covid-19 mitigation measures

Senate Academic Policy and Regulations Committee (APRC) has agreed measures to respond to the pandemic’s ongoing impact on students’ ability to study normally. These will ensure that students receive consistent outcomes at all levels of study, while retaining the integrity of the University’s awards.

UG and PGT students have been emailed the new measures and detailed information is available online on the University website.

3. New toolkit for community building

A new toolkit has been designed to support staff, helping you understand, create and facilitate communities in your online courses and programmes. It includes a range of resources as well as examples of good practice and case studies. Visit the toolkit on the Staff webpages.

Need to know – 19 January

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from across the University. 

1. A new Scan and Deliver service

The library has launched a new Scan and Deliver service for University of Edinburgh staff and students. You can request one chapter or 10 per cent (whichever is the greater) of a book, journal article, short story, poem or play – if not more than ten pages in an anthology – through DiscoverEd. Full details of the service can be found on the Scan and Deliver webpage.

2. Updated staff FAQs

The Coronavirus FAQs have been updated in line with the latest Government guidelines. The staff section now includes more information on how the University is complying to the latest guidance and the extended school closure. Read more on the University website.

3. Brexit impact and information

The University and Europe webpages have been updated to incorporate the latest advice and guidance now the UK has left the European Union. You can find more information for both staff and students on the University and Europe webpages.

4. Adaptation and Renewal Sharepoint updated

The Adaptation and Renewal (ART) Sharepoint has been updated to include the latest student support and services available, and will continue to be updated with Semester 2 information in line with Scottish Government guidance. Visit the ART Sharepoint.

Need to know – 15 December

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University. 

1. Covid-19 asymptomatic testing – bookings extended to Friday 18th December

Covid-19 asymptomatic testing prior to the winter break has been extended until Friday 18th December. For Wednesday 16th, Thursday 17th and Friday 18th December, testing will be available from 10am to 1pm only, and this will be at the Pleasance only. Full details about testing and how to book are available in the online FAQs on the University website.

 2. Principal’s end of year message

Professor Peter Mathieson shared his end of year message to the University community last week. You can read the full email on this dedicated webpage.

3. Brexit guidance

The Brexit transition period will end on 31 December 2020. Key information for applicants, current students and staff can be found on the University and Europe webpages.

4. Students returning for Semester 2

Following the Scottish Government’s announcement on plans for the safe return of students after the winter break, there are now detailed FAQs available on the Coronavirus updates webpages.

Need to know – 17 November

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Updates on Semester 2 planning

A new sharepoint page is available with detailed information about Semester 2 guidance and planning. It will be regularly updated in line with the latest announcements from the Scottish Government. Adaptation & Renewal sharepoint website.

2. Christmas travel preparations

Last week communications went out to students about preparing to travel home for Christmas. In line with the Scottish Government plans to enable students to travel home safely, the University has started preparations for departure dates and safe travel as well as support for those students remaining in Edinburgh over the break.

3. Plans for Covid-19 testing

The University is working closely with the Scottish Government on implementing testing facilities for our students. Covid-19 tests will be available on a voluntary basis for students who wish to travel home. Communications have gone out to students and the University will continue to share the latest updates as soon as possible.

Need to know – 4 November

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Update from Sarah Smith

Last week Sarah Smith, Vice-Principal Strategic Change and Governance and University Secretary, gave an update on how we can continue to deliver the commitments of Strategy 2030 in this shifting landscape. She shared more information about the work of the Reshaping teams so far and the plans for the coming months. All staff email: Strategy 2030 update: reshaping the University

2. Freedom of Expression

The University Executive approved a statement on Freedom of Expression in September 2020. Following the Report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the state of free speech in UK universities, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission Scotland, produced a new ‘Freedom of Expression’ Guide for the sector as a whole.

The University of Edinburgh’s Freedom of Expression statement draws upon the broader document to provide a statement of the principles that inform and guide the University’s approach to the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and academic freedom. This statement will be reviewed on an annual basis. University of Edinburgh’s Freedom of Expression statement

3. Town Hall sessions for students

Students in University accommodation attended two Town Hall question and answer sessions last week, to talk about the University’s expectations of our community during the pandemic and to hear from one of our academic experts in coronaviruses, Christine Tait-Burkard. The sessions featured a talk from Police Scotland as well as an update from Andy Shanks, Director of Student Wellbeing, who shared more information on the support available for students during the pandemic.

4. People and Money launching

The HR part of People and Money, our new HR and finance system, launches on 11 November. People and Money will replace multiple outdated systems with streamlined processes backed up by a single, smart system accessible through MyEd. You can find more information, including guides and demos, at edin.ac/peopleandmoney.

Need to know – 20 October

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Update from the Principal

The Principal wrote to all staff members yesterday to provide an update on the University’s response to the pandemic, the financial situation and hybrid teaching. You can read the full text here.

2. Covid-19 cases at the University

The University continues to work closely with the NHS and in the spirit of transparency continues to report live cases on our website, and all the information you need to know about reporting cases can be found here.

3. The Good Citizen Guide

University staff members have had to deal with a small number of cases of inappropriate behaviour from some students, and where appropriate these have been dealt with through our disciplinary processes. The University’s Good Citizen Guide sets out the steps that everyone must follow to protect the health and safety of the entire University community: you can share the Guide with your students.

Need to know – 6 October

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Covid-19 cases on campus

The University is reporting regularly on the live number of positive Covid-19 cases among our entire staff and student community. The University is continuing to work with NHS Lothian’s Health Protection team to ensure that these students and staff, and those around them, are provided with the support they need. You can find all the latest Covid-19 updates here.

2. Covid-19 reporting and recording

This SharePoint site displays the processes and guidance on what staff, line managers and students should do if they are self-isolating, displaying symptoms or have tested positive for Covid-19. Please note this guidance may be updated, so wherever possible link to the SharePoint site, rather than taking a snapshot download. A new Covid-19 telephone hotline is now in place for students and their families to speak directly to a member of staff.

3. Ongoing student support

Last week Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, wrote to our students in University accommodation, acknowledging the challenges those in self-isolation are facing, and the additional measures we are putting in place to support them including mental health and wellbeing. You can read the letter here.

Need to know – 22 September

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. New Covid-19 reporting form for staff

If you (or someone you line manage) need to self-isolate, please inform the University here.

You will also need to contact your manager and let them know.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have informed the University that you are self-isolating and then subsequently test positive for Covid-19, you will need to resubmit this form and let us know about the positive test.

Further guidance on self-isolation, Test and Protect and the Protect Scotland app can be found in our University health, safety and travel information pages.

2. Voluntary Severance Scheme closing

The Voluntary Severance Scheme is due to close at 5pm on Wednesday 23 September, 2020. Anyone wishing to find out more about this scheme before it closes can find all the information on the dedicated VS SharePoint site.

3. Support for early career researchers

The range of support available to early career researchers (ECRs) and their line managers has been published. The resource was developed in recognition that the careers of ECRs have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On a related note, the University has announced that it is looking to appoint new 30 Chancellor’s Fellows. These prestigious five-year tenure track fellowships will be drawn from the existing pool of talent within the University and are designed to support ECRs and innovators to develop their careers in a supportive, world-leading environment. You can find more information of how to apply here.

4. Video for staff returning to campus

As Scottish Government guidelines continue to shift, it’s natural that you and colleagues will have questions about what things will be like when you return to campus. This short film provides a snapshot of the measures that you will see in place when you return – whether that be in the coming weeks or further down the line.

Messages explaining the University’s expectations around student behaviour will continue to be communicated to new and returning students throughout Semester 1 and beyond.

Need to know – 8 September

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Guidance on the extended teaching day

New guidance FAQs are available on the extended teaching day. Teaching will now be scheduled between 9am and 8pm, Monday to Friday including Wednesday afternoons. These steps have been agreed in order to provide for more face-to-face, on-campus teaching.

2. Advice and information for students

Student communications teams across the University have been corresponding with new and returning students, undergraduate and postgraduate, from overseas and the UK, to help prepare them for Semester 1. Information around Scottish Government guidelines, safe travel and arrival, what changes to expect on campus and in accommodation, and what is expected of them as good citizens, has all been communicated. You can view the Good Citizen Guide for students here and the Digital Citizen Guide here. Teams have also shared the ‘How to’ sessions, and the course options hub, to help prepare for hybrid learning and first meetings with PTs. In addition, students joining us online only, have been asked to update their location details to assist teaching staff managing hybrid classes.

3. Town Hall answers available

There were a high number of questions submitted prior to, and during, the first virtual all-staff Town Hall on 18 August. Although Peter and other members of the Senior Leadership Team addressed many of these questions during the session, not all topics were covered. The questions submitted have been split into themes and you can find the answers here.

4. New social spaces for students

A two-floor Scandinavian-style lodge in Bristo Square is one of several new spaces being created for students to safely interact between their studies. The spacious venues have been carefully designed to provide students with extra hospitality space, as capacity in buildings has been greatly reduced. The lodge is one of a number of covered structures known as Student Villages which will be assembled across the Edinburgh campuses this month.

Need to know – 26 August

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Information on face coverings

In line with Scottish Government guidance, it is now mandatory that face coverings are worn in all of our libraries and study spaces. If and when this guidance becomes stronger, we will adjust accordingly but we are already expecting everyone to wear face coverings in all University buildings unless individuals have good reasons for not wearing one.

2. Regular cleaning for teaching spaces

When the majority of our students return to campus in September and teaching begins, cleaning regimes and facilities will be increased across campus. Teaching spaces will be cleaned twice a day. Bookable study spaces will also be cleaned daily, with provisions available for students and staff to clean areas before and after they use them.

3. New queue management for September

To help us preserve physical distancing, students will be asked to queue outside a number of our most-used buildings before classes. To help us manage this, and to ensure that students can enter as quickly as possible, we are asking staff to ensure that all teaching finishes promptly at the designated time, and students are encouraged to leave the building swiftly.

4. Update on the King’s Buildings Shuttle Bus 

In light of recent Scottish Government guidance around walking, cycling and driving wherever possible and minimising use of public transport, and following consultation with Lothian Buses and other external travel providers, it will no longer be feasible or practical to run the King’s Buildings Shuttle Bus in this academic year. The University will instead be reinvesting the funds from the Shuttle Bus to provide an extended range of alternative and financially affordable travel options. You can find out more information on our Transport webpages.

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