Covid-19 remains a contagious virus within the community. The recommendation is that if you can work from home you should continue to do so. Under Level 5 guidelines, universities remain open to provide essential services. There are UL staff who need to work on campus to facilitate face-to-face learning activities including lab-based, clinical placements and practical tuition and certain small-scale tutorials that cannot happen online If you are working on campus, there is a wealth of information and guidelines on the internally available COVID-19 SharePoint site. If you cannot access this, please email the Internal Communications Manager Eoin Brady for permission.
The Irish Universities Association has published Implementation Guidelines for Public Health Measures in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in which the following key principle is outlined: "In keeping with the wider approach in society in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is recognised that the successful implementation of ‘Return to Campus’ can only be done on a cooperative basis with shared responsibility between staff and students and HEI management."
Under the current Level 5 restrictions universities continue to remain open for essential business. You are allowed to cross county boundaries to work on campus. On advice from Henry Street Garda Station, staff who are working on campus do not need a letter of authorisation to travel to and from work but you must carry your UL id with you at all times to show the Gardaí if necessary.
If your work requires you to be on campus, then you should apply for approval to return via your line-manager. This will then be included in your department / unit COVID-19 Business Response Plan.
The overall process for returning to campus is detailed here. If you need to come on campus for a once-off purpose, you should contact your Head of Department / Dean / Director with details of your visit.
Once your area’s Covid-19 Business Response Plan is approved, you will be sent a Pre-Return to Work form. Where no issues are identified in the Pre-Return form, you will be approved to return to work on campus.
Before you return to campus working, you will need to complete the COVID-19 Staff Awareness training programme. This will be arranged by your line-manager.
A link to the internal Covid-19 Sharepoint site has been shared with all staff which contains additional documentation and information that you may require.
Yes, face coverings must be worn in all University buildings, including but not exclusively shared and open plan office spaces, teaching spaces, labs, research areas and corridors. In teaching environments where a 2m distance is maintained, a face shield may be worn, particularly if lecturers have concerns around voice projection or there is a requirment for students to see their face.
If you are in a single occupancy office, you do not have to wear a face covering in your office. A face covering must be worn each time you leave your office and if you receive a visitor to your office. Staff are encouraged to conduct meetings online or via telephone in lieu of face-to-face meetings,
Face coverings must be worn by staff and students in all teaching environments. Lecturers may wear face shields where there is a concern about voice project or if students need to see your face.
If there is a medical reason as to why a student is unable to wear a face covering, they must advise their module leader in advance of returning to campus, including a medical practitioners report confirming that they need to wear a face visor instead.
if you have a student in your lectures or labs who refuses to wear a face covering or, for medical reasons, a face shield, you should ask them to leave or suspend the class.
Opening windows is a simple and effective action that can be taken to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The recommendation is that you should open windows in your area on commencing work and close when finishing up for the day. For more information on the importance of maximising natural ventilation to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 at UL, go to the Return to Campus Working section of the COVID-19 SharePoint hub.
In accordance with our COVID-19 Prevention and Control measures, University of Limerick will electronically issue a Pre-Return to Work Form for approved staff to complete at least 3 days in advance of their return to work on campus. Through this staff members must declare if they believe that they are at high risk/very high risk of COVID-19. Please refer to the HSE website for more information https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/people-at-higher-risk.html.
The University’s Occupational Health service may be consulted for employees in the very high risk category, or to determine if an employees falls into this category. Where possible, employees deemed to be very high risk will be facilitated to work from home. However, if working from home in their current role is not feasible, then they may be assigned work outside their usual core duties/given a new role.
The HSE is carrying out contact tracing of all individuals who may have come into casual or close contact with a diagnosed patient. You will only be contacted directly by the HSE if you fall into this category. You will be advised by the HSE on what actions to take. Please notify your course director or your line manager if you have been contacted by HSE and have been medically certified to self-isolate.
If you test positive for COVID 19 you are asked to notify UL at COVID19Report@ul.ie as soon as possible with the date you were last on campus and when you were diagnosed. Your details may be used to initiate early contact tracing and the provision of health advice. Records will be deleted by UL after 30 days.
The HSE sets out the latest criteria for restricted movements following close contact here
Special leave with pay does not apply to employees who are required to restrict their movements as a precaution as they are not ill. If remote working in an employee’s current role is not feasible, then the assignment of work may be outside of their usual core duties. Employees must cooperate with all such flexibilities while they are restricting their movements. In all such cases, employees remain available for work whilst at home, where they have been advised to restrict their movements as a precautionary measure.
On the basis of business needs, department heads and managers should identify the employees whose roles require them to attend the work premises. The University is working to implement measures to ensure the safety of the workplace for all employees, as provided for in the Return to Work Safely Protocol. High risk employees should attend the work premises and, in accordance with HSE advice, employees in the high risk category should take extra care to practice social distancing where possible and wash their hands regularly and properly. Appropriate measures may need to be considered for employees in the high risk category in the work premises where maintaining social distancing is difficult. See more here
Employees who live with very high risk individuals should attend the work premises and should follow the HSE guidelines to protect themselves and to minimise risk of transmission. The implementation of the Return to Work Safely Protocol is intended to minimize the risk of transmission in the workplace. See more here.
In line with DPER directive, public service employers should not pay a daily allowance to their employees in respect of WFH. It is open to employees to make claims directly from Revenue in respect of actual costs incurred in working from home at the end of the relevant tax year, in accordance with the relevant tax laws. Any claim in this regard is solely a matter for the individual concerned. Further details for individuals on how to claim expenses on tax returns are available on the Revenue.ie webpage.
The Learning Technology Forum website is home to a variety of resources such as recorded webinars, a repository of resources on creating online content, programme/module design, student engagement and more, along with a calendar of CPD events on offer.