At DMU we’re working hard to make sure that we can enjoy our campus safely when the next academic year begins. The health and wellbeing of our students and staff will always be our top priority so we’re putting in measures to ensure university buildings and spaces are as safe as they can be and that we observe government guidelines. That’s why we’re now issuing guidance on when, where, how and who should be wearing face coverings on campus. The UK government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have stated that face coverings are a key way to combat the spread of COVID-19 and help protect each other from infection.
Please wear a face covering if you can
To ensure that we are able to deliver a safe teaching and learning environment, and maximise the amount of on campus interaction, you will be expected to wear a face covering during face-to-face teaching sessions whenever and wherever one-metre plus rules are in place. Spaces with a one-metre rule include classrooms, lecture theatres and the Library and these spaces will have clear signs on the doors to signify a one-metre plus space. This is also in line with UK government guidance on the use of face coverings indoors. We will be constantly monitoring the UK government guidance and may need to amend our strategy accordingly. Please also follow the government guidance about how to wear a face covering safely.
We are also strongly encouraging the wider use of face coverings across campus in all enclosed indoor spaces to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The virus usually spreads by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking. These droplets can also be picked up from surfaces, if you touch a surface and then your face without washing your hands first. The latest scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering can decrease the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others. Combined with two-metre social distancing (wherever possible), regular hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes, face coverings can be an important tactic in controlling the spread of the virus.
Over the past few months since the pandemic started, the community spirit and individual acts of kindness DMU staff and students have shown to support and look out for each other have been inspiring. So, we’re appealing to everyone to continue to exercise our civic and moral responsibility to make sure our environment is as safe, inclusive and positive as possible by wearing a face covering if you are able.
Some people will be unable to wear face coverings
There will be some students and staff who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others, and we need to be particularly mindful to respect their rights and dignity at this time. Some of these people will also for legitimate health or personal reasons be unable to wear a face covering.
Please be mindful and respectful of these circumstances and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Here are examples of exceptions to our guidance and rules on the need to wear a face covering:
- If you have a certain physical or learning disability that impacts on your ability to wear a covering
- If you would feel severe distress putting on, wearing or removing a face covering
- If you are asked to remove your covering to support communication with those that rely on lip reading or facial expressions
- If you have a health problem or condition that could be affected by wearing a face covering, for example, problems with your breathing.
People are not obliged to prove that they do not have to wear a face covering/mask, and we will be issuing further guidance soon to support those unable to wear such coverings. It is important to note that not wearing a face covering because it is uncomfortable or inconvenient is not a legitimate exception to our guidance and rules.
DMU staff, whether they are in teaching or support service roles, can also be issued with, and asked to wear face shields/visors if they can to enable face-to-face interaction with students who need to lip read and understand easier in person communications.
Two re-usable masks for every DMU staff and student
All students and staff members will be provided with two re-usable face coverings from the start of the new academic year. It is important that you always bring your face covering when you come to campus as it is your responsibility to protect yourself and others from the further transmission of COVID-19. We’re still working on a safe, equitable and robust way to distribute these face coverings so please keep a look out for more information on these webpages and other DMU communications channels. Student access to face shields/visors issued by DMU for use in particular circumstances is also being explored and we will confirm our provision for this safety equipment soon.
Take a look at DMU’s shared commitment to find out more about what you can expect from us and our expectations of our staff and students to make sure our university environment is safe and respectful.
You can also find out more information on the extensive health and safety measures we’re implementing.
Other personal protective equipment for face coverings
Please note that these guidelines are specifically in relation to combating and protecting against the spread of the COVID-19 virus and are not to be confused with, or seen as a replacement for, any personal protective equipment that may by required in undertaking high risk activities. These activities include work/study/research in laboratories where safety goggles will still be needed and/or face screens/guards in engineering and design related workshops. This is not an exhaustive list and further information will be provided as part of any health and safety induction in the use of these facilities.
Posted on Tuesday 25th August 2020