New Omicron measures and working from home

Message to staff on 15 December 2021

Dear colleagues,

Yesterday the First Minister updated the Scottish Parliament on the spread of the new Omicron Covid variant which is to become the dominant variant in Scotland “within days”.

In doing so she set out extra measures to help limit its spread and the risk to individuals and the NHS, including advice to limit the number of households mixing socially to three, and to test before socialising.

There will also now be a legal requirement on businesses that people should be enabled to work from home where that is possible, albeit recognising that it not possible for all.

The University had anticipated this requirement - as we have indicated in earlier messages, staff are able to work from home unless their activities can only be delivered on campus, e.g., research, any last remaining on campus teaching that Schools intend to hold this week, or other frontline services.

Staff who will be working from home but only have access to a desktop PC, and who require IT support to enable homeworking, should contact the Service Desk servicedesk@abdn.ac.uk.

Anyone who can’t access a laptop via the Homeworking Policy approval process, or has yet to apply, should log a Service Desk ticket requesting either:

their desktop PC is configured to allow them to take it home, assuming this can be supported through router access etc

their desktop PC is configured to allow remote access from a personal device at home via the VPN

In both cases they should supply the ID of the device they would like to access (e.g., MD-012345)

Returning to the extra measures announced by the First Minister, the rollout of the vaccine booster programme has also been accelerated, and from today 18-29 year-olds can book their jab alongside older age groups, via NHS Inform.  As a reminder, time can be taken during working hours if that is when your vaccine appointment falls, and please don't worry if it takes longer than you expect e.g., because of queues. If anyone has any concerns, please do contact your line manager.

Meanwhile, the First Minister also emphasised the importance of regular testing and the importance of using face coverings correctly, covering the nose and mouth, to help prevent the spread of the Omicron variant.

We recognise that these developments are unsettling, and we will continue to keep you updated with any relevant information.  Campus Planning Group will meet on 6 January to review the position at that time and consider any implications for the University. Please refer to our message of Monday for what you can do to keep yourself and those around you protected over the festive period.

If you do have any queries, please direct these to coronavirus@abdn.ac.uk

As we come to the end of another challenging year, we want to express our thanks and gratitude for all your efforts in difficult circumstances.  We sincerely hope that you all enjoy some well-earned rest and time with loved ones over the festive period.

Best wishes

Karl and Tracey

 

Karl Leydecker
Senior Vice-Principal

Tracey Slaven
University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer

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