Winter wellness guidelines
Posted on behalf of: Health & Safety
Last updated: Monday, 5 December 2022
As we head into winter, staff are encouraged to think about how to prevent the spread of winter infections such as colds, flu and Covid-19. Below is some guidance on what we can all do to keep ourselves and others in our community ‘winter well’!
Guidance on protecting ourselves and others from infections (including Covid-19) and what to do if we feel unwell
Cold weather can make some health problems worse and there is more prevalence of infectious diseases including Covid-19. The NHS provide useful guidance on how to keep well in winter and how to avoid catching and spreading Covid-19.
Staff are encouraged to get advice if they feel unwell from:
- a pharmacy – pharmacists can give treatment advice for a range of minor illnesses and can tell you if you need to see a doctor
- your GP – you may be able to speak to a GP online or over the phone, or go in for an appointment if you think you need to
- NHS 111 – go to 111.NHS.uk or call 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you are not sure what to do.
Staff should not come onto campus if they are not well enough to be at work. Anyone (staff or students) with a positive Covid-19 test is expected not to attend University of Sussex campus for five days to minimise infection – even though this is no longer a legal requirement.
Staff are encouraged (but not required) to take a lateral flow test on the fifth day and if it is negative to return to work. If the test is positive, staff should stay off work either until they test negative or to continue not to attend campus until a total of 10 days have passed.
If you test positive for Covid-19 please report it on the University reporting portal and either:
- take sick leave if too unwell to work (please continue to follow the guidelines about reporting sickness absence)
- work remotely if well enough to work
- if well enough to work but not able to work remotely, either be assigned alternative duties or be paid up to five days’ sickness absence.
Where staff have a concern about a medical condition or vulnerability and how this may be impacted by their work, support and medical advice on reasonable adjustments is available via Human Resources and the occupational health service provided by Heales Medical.
Flu vaccinations this winter
The University is supporting staff in being able to access flu vaccinations again this winter. Anyone over 50 can get a free flu jab, either from their GP or from a participating pharmacy (including the pharmacy on campus). To encourage staff that are not eligible for a free vaccine to protect themselves and others, the University has agreed to pay for this. Staff are welcome to pay for the vaccine and reclaim the cost of the flu jab through expenses. More information on flu vaccinations for staff.
Covid mitigation measures in place at the University
Whilst staff can reduce the risk of catching and spreading Covid-19 by following the NHS guidance above, the University continues to maintain several mitigation measures on campus:
- Winter and cold weather Covid-19 guidance is available and provides information on suitable and sufficient ventilation and temperatures in your workplace.
- Covid-19 can spread via airborne transmission. A ventilation review request system is available to allow staff to raise queries on how specific rooms are ventilated. These are then reviewed by the Health and Safety Team within four working days, carrying out site visits wherever necessary.
- The red lanyard scheme for staff to indicate you are requesting physical distancing for your own comfort remains in place. Red lanyards must be purchased through your team and are readily available through Office Depot or other stationery/work equipment providers.
- The University maintains its connection with the local Public Health Team and regularly hosts vaccination centres as part of their national vaccination programs.
- Additional hygiene measures (hand sanitiser points in common areas) are available across campus.
Further guidance on staff health and wellbeing
Support and general advice on staff wellbeing and health is available online on the Staff Wellbeing Hub.