Arrangements for staff to return to work

Dear Staff

Thank you for your continued efforts in keeping the University academically and administratively operational during this unprecedented national lockdown period.

It is a testament to your industriousness that we are in a strong position to plan for and begin implementing processes for the post-lockdown phase.

The announcement by the President that the country will be on a Level 4 lockdown from May 2020, presents a number of opportunities for the University to return to some level of face to face operation under health conditions prescribed by the lockdown regulations. These include:

1.  Identification of selected personnel who can return to work on campus
2.  Resumption of construction work on campus
3.  Preparation for the imminent return of students to the University within the next few months

To address the matters above I have put in place a task team to plan and steward the processes we have to implement to start the University operations in a phased way. This task team is chaired by the Chief Operating Officer, Mr Raymond Olander and has already begun its work.

As part of the overall plan for the University, each divisional head will submit a list of the essential workers who will need to return to campus in the first phase. It is expected that the phased-in return (estimated to be from 18 May 2020) will commence once the following have been put in place:

1.  Fogging (i.e. decontamination) of all University buildings
2.  Procurement of cloth face masks (2 per employee)
3.  Installation of sanitizer dispensers
4.  Placement of hand sanitizers at all entrances and in bathrooms
5.  Provision of soap and paper towels for toilets
6.  Implementation of physical distancing protocols which will mean the maintenance of a distance of 1.5 metres between staff and visitors
7.  Face shields and physical barriers in areas where public is served.
8.  Procurement of screening tools such as handheld infra-red thermometers
9.  Appointment of a COVID-19 Compliance Officer

In addition to the safety measures listed above the following recommendations are being considered:

1.  Staff should work from home and only go onto campus if it is absolutely necessary to do so and in consultation with their line manager.
2.  All staff who need to enter the campus, must apply for a permit to do so. This will be issued the Chief Operating Officer, as delegated by the Vice Chancellor.
3.  When conditions permit, a phased return of staff to campus will be implemented. Only one third of the staff complement will be allowed onto campus in the first phase and this will be coordinated by the
relevant line managers.
4.  Staff over 60 years of age and staff with diagnosed co-morbidities are encouraged to work from home.

Construction work is being allowed to resume and a plan is in place to first address the Major Works Contractors who are building the priority projects, namely the Academic Buildings and Student Residences.

This will be followed by the Civil Works Contractors who are completing the work on South Campus that provide all the bulk service installations. Thereafter the work of the other categories will be put in place.

Please note that no SPU students will be allowed to return to campus during the Level 4 lockdown. A phased return of students is anticipated when the level is further reduced and we receive the go-ahead from the Department of Higher Education, Training, Science and Innovation to do so.

I am relying on your continued support of and dedication to the SPU project to take us forward in the post-lockdown period.

Kind regards
Professor Andrew Crouch
Vice-Chancellor and Principal

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