PROCEDURES FOR REDUCING POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO COVID-19
This policy is designed to provide you with important information about the Coronavirus outbreak and what we are doing to support our staff and our students. Please continue to take time to read the information and ask questions if you have any concerns.
This policy is non contractual, it may be amended or added to at any time, and it will be updated, as appropriate, to reflect changing advice.
With a low number of students and employees and a relatively large workspace available, the premises at St. James Research Centre (SJRC) should be safe for working if persons adhere to the steps below.
I. STUDENTS AND EMPLOYEES WITH SYMPTOMS
The main symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) (Coronavirus Symptoms) are:
A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The Coronavirus symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. Current guidance indicates that among those who become infected, some will exhibit no symptoms. Of those who do develop an illness, the majority will have a mild to moderate illness similar to seasonal flu. A minority will develop complications severe enough to require hospital care, most often pneumonia and in a small number of these the illness may be severe enough to lead to death.
Students and employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify the Director and stay home. Students and employees who appear to have symptoms when they arrive at the premises or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from others, provided a face mask if they are not using one, and sent home with instructions and guidance on how to follow-up with their doctor. Students and employees who are ill with COVID-19 should not return to work until they meet the criteria to discontinue home isolation (in consultation with their doctor if necessary) - see Appendix A. After anyone suspected of having or is confirmed as having COVID-19 has been in the workplace, enhanced cleaning and disinfection activity should be carried out.
II. CLEAN AND DISINFECT HIGH-TOUCH SURFACES
The Facility Manager will, at least daily, clean and disinfect all surfaces that are frequently touched by multiple people, - door handles, desks, light switches, keyboards, printer, taps, toilets, bucket lid etc. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use. If hard surfaces are dirty, clean them using a detergent or soap and water before being disinfected.
For disinfection, household disinfectants should be effective, as well as diluted household bleach solutions or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method, and contact time). If using disinfecting wipes remember that to properly disinfect, you should clean only one item at a time, using enough wipes to ensure the surface stays wet for 4 minutes.
Students and employees should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, they should use hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol. Use hand towels provided and put them in the bins provided.
If commuting by public transport, persons should wash their hands as soon as possible on arrival.
If possible, open front doors to allow inflow of outdoor - this will enable a dilution of indoor which will help negate any internal build-up of the virus.
IV. VISITORS TO SITE
Should persons visit site, if business can be transacted outside (e.g. taking receipt of deliveries) this should be done outside i.e. without bringing them into the St. James building.
If persons require to conduct business with a member of staff (i.e. for meetings etc), use of the table at the chancel area in the main church building should be employed. This should be cleaned thereafter.
Any contractor doing internal works should be assessed separately by consideration of the works to be completed.
V. GENERAL CONDUCT
Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth - this may allow transfer of virus to the hands which may then contaminate items touched thereafter.
Restrict their work activity to their own designated desk / work area.
Where possible, avoid sharing equipment.
We are taking all reasonable steps to protect your health and safety. We expect to follow these simple steps to help stop the spread of germs like Coronavirus.
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 straight away
Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – only use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Where you must attend our premises to work, we expect all staff to sit or work at least two meters away from each other and the students and we have systems in place to facilitate this.
St James Research Centre (SJRC) has invested in separation patricians and worked to ensure the office layout conforms to the scientific guidance to reduce opportunities for the virus to spread. It is therefore imperative that office furniture including chairs are not moved and that staff use the workspaces provided.
Current advice is that the risk of severe illness increases amongst people aged 70 and over and those with underlying health risks, such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease and those with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women are also included in the “at risk” group.
Please tell us if you think you are at risk:
Because you are in one of the high-risk groups or you care for someone who is considered to be high risk; or
You have been in contact with, or live in the same household as, someone who is being tested for, has tested positive for Coronavirus or has been advised to self-isolate because they have coronavirus symptoms.
We will conduct an individual risk assessment for anyone we believe to be in a high-risk group and will put in place appropriate safeguards.
VI. WHAT TO DO
What To Do if You Have Coronavirus Symptoms
While at St. James Research Centre (SJRC)
If you become ill at St James Researcher Centre (SJRC) please speak to your line manager or a member of staff as quickly as possible. You should go to an area that is at least two meters away from other people and, if possible, go outside. Please try to avoid unnecessarily touching surfaces.
If you have internet access please use the NHS 111 online service and follow the advice you receive. If you don’t have internet access please call NHS 111, or 999 in an emergency. If you are advised to go home and self-isolate, please tell your line manager or a member of staff and then make your way home as safely as possible. If you travel on public transport, please follow any instructions given to you by the NHS staff.
If you become ill at home, please do not come into work. You will need to telephone us in accordance with our usual absence policy. If you have internet access, please use the NHS 111 online service and follow the advice you receive. If you don’t have internet access, please call NHS 111. You need to tell us if you are advised to self-isolate and if you are being tested for coronavirus as soon as possible.
What To Do if You Test Positive for Coronavirus
Please advise us immediately if you test positive for Coronavirus, even if your symptoms are mild. You will not be able to return to the centre until you are considered fit by Public Health Scotland or any other competent authority. You don’t need to obtain a fit note from your doctor, but please send to us anything you do receive which confirms your diagnosis and/or fitness to return to work.
If you feel well enough to work, and your role is currently been carried out at home, you can continue to do so. However, you must update us if your symptoms worsen and you are unable to carry on working.
We will not inform anyone else about your condition unless it’s necessary to do so and we are legally able to. Our first priority is to protect the health and safety of our staff and students, and we may therefore have to speak to your colleagues and other people with whom you have been in close contact in order to protect them. Any information we disclose will be limited to what is necessary for that protection.
Public Health Scotland is responsible for ‘contract tracing’ (tracing anyone you have been in close contact with), and we will cooperate with them as appropriate.
What To Do if You Are Advised to Self-Isolate
Strict rules about social distancing are now in force which place severe restrictions on everyone’s social activity outside of their homes. In addition to this, Government advice is that people should stay at home if they, or anyone in their household has Coronavirus or has symptoms of Coronavirus. Those at high risk may also have to self-isolate even if they, or anyone in their household does not have symptoms.
This means you should:
Stay at home
Not use public transport or taxis
Not go to the shops to buy food, other essentials or to collect medicine. You should arrange for this to be delivered to you or ask friends or family members to leave items outside your home
Not have visitors to your home including friends and family. Deliveries should be left outside your door for you to collect.
You may need to do this for up to 14 days (longer if you are in a high-risk group) to help reduce the possible spread of infection. Please follow the advice you are given.
Please follow any additional advice given to you by health professionals. The NHS has detailed advice on self-isolation available here.
If you feel well enough to work, and your role is currently been carried out at home, you can continue to do so. However, you must update us if your symptoms worsen and you are unable to carry on working. If you don’t feel well enough to work, or you can’t work from home, please keep in touch with us.
The Government has up to date information for individuals who have travelled overseas and returned to the UK. If you have been abroad recently, please inform us if you are required to self-isolate.
VII. CRITERIA REGARDING RETURN TO WORK IF HAVING SUFFERED, OR SUSPECTED TO HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY, COVID-19
The Centre for Disease Control has issued the under-noted guidance:
If an employee has a fever and a cough, but then gets better without COVID-19 testing or medical care, they would be allowed to return to work under the following conditions:
Three days have passed since their recovery, which means their fever is resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication and their respiratory symptoms have improved; and
At least seven days have passed since they first experienced symptoms
An employee who is medically confirmed to have COVID-19 and is showing symptoms. In this instance, the worker would be allowed to return to work if:
Their fever has been resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications;
Their respiratory symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath); and
They have had two negative COVID-19 tests
For employees who have a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19, but are not showing any symptoms, CDC currently says they may return to work:
After at least seven days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 test; and
They have had no subsequent illness
VIII. Where to Find Up-to-Date Information
UK Government: Social distancing and protecting high risk groups
UK Government: Travel information including information about ‘high risk’ countries/regions and information for people travelling overseas
NHS: Information about Coronavirus and guidance on staying at home
World Health Authority: latest advice
UK Government: Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK
UK Government: Guidance for businesses and guidance on staying at home