.

What should I do if I develop symptoms of a cold or flu-like infection?

All staff and students are advised by RCS and the Scottish Government to stay at home and NOT attend campus if they have potential Coronavirus symptoms (new and persistent cough, fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater), loss or change to sense of taste or smell).

If you become unwell with coronavirus symptoms on campus you should:
• Avoid touching anything and maintain 2m distancing.
• Leave the room you are working in and, if possible, wear a face covering on route to Client Services reception so that you can access the first aid room.
• You will need to self-isolate straight away and Client Services will support you with arrangements to get home and take details so that HR can be informed.
• If at any point you become very unwell, Client Services should be contacted to call an ambulance.
• Try to avoid public transport but if you need to use it try to keep away from other people
• If you are not a driver with a car nearby, or too unwell to drive yourself home, arrangements should be made for a household member or taxi to take you home.
• Ensure your manager or supervisor is informed by someone else or by phone / email.
• You should arrange a test though www.nhsinform.scot or, if you can’t get online, use your mobile to call 0800 028 2816, to arrange to get tested.
• Cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if you do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of you elbow.
• You must then follow the guidance on self-isolation and not return to work or study on site until your period of self-isolation has been completed.
• Domestic Services will be contacted by Client Services and advised of any areas where the person has spent time recently so that these areas can be subjected to enhanced cleaning.

Until you have been tested and told if it is safe to leave home, you must not come to the RCS campus.  Staff members can request an isolation note through NHS Inform.

People who have tested positive for the virus will need to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days and must not return to RCS until they have completed the isolation period and been fever-free for at least 48 hours. If they feel well enough, and they are able to work remotely, they may do so.

If you receive a positive test result for covid-19, NHS contact tracers will interview you and get in touch with people you have been in close contact with, and tell them they must self-isolate for 14 days. If you are informed by a contact tracer that you should isolate, you should do so straight away. You may feel well, as the virus could still be incubating when you are asked to isolate. Some people who are asked to isolate may not become unwell, but they must stay at home and self-isolate for the full 14 days.  RCS will not ask anyone isolating to come into work before their period of isolation is complete, in any circumstances.

Once a person who is a possible Covid case has left the premises, the immediate area occupied by the individual, e.g. first aid room and activity area, will be cleaned with detergent to remove organic matter such as dust or body fluids then a disinfectant to kill pathogens. This should include any potentially contaminated high contact areas such as door handles, telephones and grab-rails. Once this process has been completed, the area can be put back into use. Activity in the room will have to be temporarily suspended till this process has been completed.

Any public areas where a symptomatic or COVID-19 diagnosed individual has only passed through (spent minimal time in), e.g. corridors, and which are not visibly contaminated with any body fluids, do not need to be further decontaminated beyond routine cleaning processes.

Points to keep in mind
• Self-isolation may be required on more than one occasion.
• NHS contact tracers may require someone to self-isolate even if they have previously tested positive for coronavirus and have recovered.
• Covid-19 could affect any of us so please remember to be supportive to anyone who may be affected.
• If we follow the social distancing guidance, hand hygiene guidance and other measures such as wearing face coverings we are less likely to be affected and therefore less likely to need additional measures that could affect our studies or work.

Why is RCS open?

In common with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) throughout Scotland RCS is currently open but in a very limited way and only for activity linked directly to critical assessment.

This is permissible under the Scottish Government’s guidance to the sector (updated Jan 15) and which states that ‘campus/accommodation is open ‘for students …where their attendance is critical and time-sensitive to their course or assessment and cannot be delivered remotely or postponed’.

Full guidance is available on the Scottish Government’s website.

The Scottish Government is encouraging people to stay and work at home wherever possible. Should I be travelling to RCS for work?

Yes. For all staff whose roles require them to be in the building, you are providing essential services and playing a critical role in enabling us to deliver safely the academic services which are recognised by the Scottish Government as ‘essential’ and, therefore, continue to be permissible.

That means that under all current Scottish Government guidance your work in RCS – including all associated travel to and from the campus – is permissible. Should you require a letter to confirm this, please contact humanresources@rcs.ac.uk.

As always, the HR team is here to assist staff with any specific queries or personal concerns.

Does that mean I am classed as an ‘essential worker’ and can access a school or nursery place?

Possibly. The classification of ‘essential workers’  for the purpose of accessing childcare and education has been delegated to each local authority, so you will need to check with the education department of the council area in which you live.

The decision on access to this provision will be for the individual authorities. Our understanding is that access is predicated on there being no other alternatives and that provision would be agreed only for the days on which the staff are required to be physically to come in to the RCS to undertake their work.

Parent Club Scotland sets out helpfully the guidance in detail for formal and informal childcare. This guidance says that informal childcare (from a friend or family member) is acceptable when parents must work and sets out the parameters for that.

Can I be furloughed while the schools are closed?

We retain a flexible approach to individual circumstances as always, but there are other options we will consider first.

We will start any conversation by discussing with individual staff members how flexible they can be in temporarily adjusting their hours and making up some hours at a later point or in taking some annual leave or unpaid leave to cover this period.

In terms of considering furlough we will also take into account impact on teams and on essential business as well as the impact on those staff remaining who would have to cover the work if there is capacity to do so.

Should furlough be agreed for any individual this would include the requirement for staff to take at least a portion of their annual leave during furlough.

Any agreed furlough would be at the current 80% of salary with annual leave taken during furlough paid at 100% of salary rate.

Please remember that individuals with any health issues/shielding will already have been advised of their position by HR and in order to ensure that we have a fair and consistent process for considering requests, it will be necessary to consider each case on an individual basis.

 

What happens if I share my home with someone who needs to shield, but I am still required to come into the Conservatoire because my role is considered essential?

We would consider this situation in the same way as we will consider other requests such as those requiring reduced hours due to childcare / home-schooling demands. We will work with you to ascertain what flexibility you may have in terms of reducing hours, using annual leave, or in cases where you could potentially work from home, any opportunities for potential redeployment.

This would be dependent on the impact on your department and its minimum staffing levels required to meet the business need, and whether other individuals are available to cover the work.

Returning to the RCS campus

What will be building be like?

There are videos of both Renfrew Street and Wallace Studios to show you exactly how things will look.

There is a one-way system to get around the building and mask-wearing is required as you move around the building.

Social distancing and good hygiene practices are in place, with additional handwashing and sanitising facilities available.

There is a strict limit on the number of people that can be in the building at any one time. If you are on the premises, it must be for a scheduled reason and we ask that you do not linger any longer than necessary, allowing others who are scheduled to be in later to have access.

There will be no access for members of the public, just staff and students.

There is a registration system in place on entry to capture the names and contact details of those in the building on any date, as required by government guidance. If there were to be an outbreak, there are measures in place to help support official track and trace functions.

Every member of staff returning to the campus will receive a ‘Return to the RCS Campus’ pack which will include all health and safety advice.

You will be contacted individually before any return to work, to make sure that any concerns or health issues are addressed. An occupational health style questionnaire based on government guidance will be completed by you, to address any concerns. HR will arrange this with your head of Department.

You will also need to undertake health and safety training (online) before entering the building.

I’m working from home, how long will this last?

Working from home is likely to continue for many staff for the time being and will be reviewed regularly. By working from home you are enabling those who need to be in the building to do so.

Will face coverings be mandatory inside the building?

The wearing of a face covering while moving around the building is mandatory. Risk assessments will determine the appropriateness of not using them in teaching spaces, to facilitate learning interactions. There are Perspex screens to facilitate communication in key places (such as reception) and transparent face coverings for our D/deaf community and others who work with the cohort.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence and guidance around face covering usage and types which we are following and, together with Universities Scotland, implementing with priority given first and foremost to protecting health and reducing transmission of viral particles.

Will the cafe bar be open?

At present the café bar is not opening but options to provide catering are being explored. Staffrooms will be available but with significantly-reduced occupancy. Staff are encouraged to bring ready prepared food and their own cutlery to minimise the use of shared equipment in kitchens.

Will the buildings more public spaces be open to the general public?

The building won’t be open to the general public for the time being. No in-person public performances are planned for Term One although the regular Mondays and Fridays at One performances will continue to take place and will be broadcast on the RCS at Home website.

How can I access the Library & IT services?

The Library space is currently closed, but we still are offering full access to thousands of e-resources via our Catalogue for E-Books, and thousands of additional e-resources via Catalogue Plus . You can also check out our E-resource data base listing and our E-journal titles. Additionally, we have made the following updates:

How are we kept safe while in the building?

How will social distancing be managed?

We will have a one way system in place with signage. The building and room occupancies, including toilets, have been reduced to ensure distancing can be maintained.

How will numbers present in the building be managed? What if I need to access my office for a short period?

A building occupancy has been set and will be monitored through a digital counting system or a sign-in system. Only staff and students who have programmed activities or agreed access will be allowed on campus.

Short term access to offices to collect workstation equipment can be arranged through Health, Safety and Wellbeing while access for other items such as teaching resources can be arranged through Client Services.

Will there be regular temperature taking of staff/students?

No. At present we do not plan regular temperature testing. For more information on current government guidance on temperature checking follow this link https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-shielding/

What processes are in place to ensure students and staff who have to operate shared equipment are safe both in class and on location?

Each department will carry out a risk assessment to identify hazards such as shared equipment and what cleaning protocols are required to reduce the risk such as minimising the sharing of equipment and cleaning materials needed. Cleaning materials will be provided as required.

Will there be overnight cleaning of the teaching rooms or plans to clean work/office areas and equipment? 

There will be regular cleaning of the campus and this has been increased. Rooms will be cleaned at the end of the day and during the day. Staff and students can play a part in keeping the campus safe by ensuring rooms and corridors are kept clear of litter, equipment is cleaned as appropriate after use and by maintaining a regular personal regime of handwashing and/or sanitising.

Will there be a Perspex barrier of any type to act as a barrier and will there be any extra air ventilation or filtering in rooms?

The room occupancies have been reduced so any teaching room that has been identified as suitable for 2 people has more than 2m distancing space available. Most of the rooms have natural ventilation while the need for any barriers will be identified through departmental risk assessments.

Are there additional hand washing stations?

Additional sinks have been provided in Renfrew Street and Wallace Studios. There will also be additional hand sanitiser stations installed around the buildings.

Will there be a dedicated Covid-19 Supervisor or monitor at RCS to ensure guidelines are being adhered to across the RCS?

We haven’t appointed a dedicated supervisor but the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manager will be monitoring activities and what is happening.

What plans are in place to redistribute the current spaces (both teaching and non-teaching) to make best use of our limited space while social distancing is in place?

Space Planning are collating all the activity needs to maximise the use of spaces safely. Some examples of changed purpose are a meeting room becoming a practice room and an office being repurposed as a DTU studio.

Academic plans for room usage are being drawn up in detail by the Academic Management Team and Academic Planning Group. Full details will be circulated.

What if I become aware are that a member of staff or a student is not adhering to the safety guidelines?

We would hope that any concerns can be discussed in a positive way with the individual concerned in the first instance. If this is not possible, anyone who has concerns should inform their line manager or Head of Department in the first instance. Again if this is not possible then concerns can be reported to Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

Are First Aiders going to be identified and receive additional training to deal with Covid-19? 

Client Services staff are the trained first aiders in all buildings. All accidents should be reported to them in the first instance. A guidance document has been created for first aiders and refresher training is being arranged.

Is it safe for me to return to our office space that I share with two other colleagues?

All room occupancies have been assessed for safe working. They will operate with reduced capacity and with social distancing consideration in place. Working from home likely to continue for members of staff who do not require to be in the building to support key operations, learning and teaching and/or the student experience.

Staff should discuss all concerns with their line manager and we will support you as much as possible so that they can return safely.

Will there be a named staff member to deal with employee wellbeing and mental health considerations?

Staff should contact HR and will also be directed to the Employee Assistance Programme and on line support on Togetherall (previously the Big White Wall)

What is being done to ensure safety in the Junior conservatoire?

All Heads of Department are required to carry out risk assessments and ensure the controls are in place do this will be happening with Juniors as well.

How do we handle Short Courses students coming into the building – do we take a register?

All the additional measures put in place for the safe of use the RCS campus will apply, including registration on entry and strict limits on building occupancy.

Will room set up be done in advance by client services? 

Rooms will be set-up as normal but where distancing is required and controlled by furniture positioning, for example in an ensemble, then moving furniture is discouraged.

Will there be flexibility in start times given the reduced nature of public transport just now?

We will have discussions with heads re flexibility on this and other concerns and transport arrangements will be part of that discussion.

Will there be more parking provisions as an alternate to using public transport?

There will be very limited parking available as at present. Limited staff numbers will be in the building at any one time which it is hoped will be of assistance.

Will a camera that directly covers the bike stand at the front of the RCS be installed before the start of the term?

Two additional CCTV cameras have been installed to cover the existing bike shelter.

What changes have been made to the building cleaning regime?

An additional cleaning programme has been put in place. Deep cleans with safe materials (sanitising solutions and hot water, for example) will take place on a regular basis during the day.

Will there be additional suitable waste disposal provision?

Suitable waste disposal will be arranged. Numbers in the building will be limited which will assist.

Homeworking

When I return to work do I need to bring equipment back or duplicate the equipment if I return to the office on part time basis?

If you are required to return to the office then you should bring your equipment back but the majority of Professional Support Staff will be working at home. For the time being the equipment you have may still be needed at home. If staff need to go into the office periodically then there is adequate equipment that they can use although it may not be their normal desk.

We are issuing some guidance and a self-assessment form to gather more information on staff homeworking arrangements and identify what, if any, additional support is needed including the provision of additional equipment. Our goal is to support staff to work safely and as comfortably as possible from home.

Can I get financial help for equipment to help me work from home long term?

Staff should complete the homeworking self-assessment form and return it as soon as possible. Support needs will be assessed and resources allocated to help staff as available and appropriate.

Any essential work materials/computer can be requested and purchased if deemed essential.

I have been using my own mobile for work calls, can I get a work phone?

The use of email and Teams is recommended, this is without cost to any individual staff member. Staff are required to use RCS methods of communication with students at all times.

My costs for electricity and gas have increased, can I be reimbursed?

Tax relief information is now available on the Gov website.

What are the insurance implications of working from home?

Whilst you are working from home, any equipment belonging to the Conservatoire that you take home (such as your laptop) will fall within the scope of the Conservatoire’s insurance programme. In practice the cost of a laptop or similar will fall within the Conservatoire’s insurance excess, so the School or Unit would have to fund replacements from operating budgets, as would always be the case for any damaged laptop, whether within or outwith the office. However, no-one should add a Conservatoire asset to their home insurance — it’s our problem, not yours!

Having said that, there are issues which you do need to consider. We suggest anyone working flexibly from home should make a quick call to their home insurer to let them know. Most insurers will not be concerned about this as long as you aren’t storing stock or having commercial visitors, but each insurer may have a different view of ‘homeworking’ and whether they need to be told about it, so please do let them know just in case.

Finally, please make sure you make full use of Microsoft Office 365 (OneDrive, Teams etc.) to avoid storing data on your local device hard drive and creating unnecessary GDPR exposure.

During any periods of remote working, staff with RCS VPN enabled laptops are able to work in the same way as they would from within the Conservatoire. Any staff working remotely using personal (non RCS) devices can access email and other Office 365 applications online via the web, but are reminded that they should refrain from downloading, storing or holding any personal or confidential data on their personal equipment or mobile storage devices. Given that RCS data is only secured and encrypted while using RCS equipment, it is incumbent on all Conservatoire staff to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of Conservatoire information at all times by adhering to this advice. The information being gathered from the current contingency planning exercise will be collated by HR, and the information regarding laptop use and critical roles will be passed on to CSMT to make any further deployment decisions. In the interim, we would advise all staff issued with laptops to ensure their VPN works from home, and to take their laptop home with them each evening.

When working at home please follow good Display Screen Equipment practices. While you may not have the same workstation equipment that you have at work please try to set up your home working to minimise the risk of injury. There is Display Screen Equipment information available on the Covid-19 page on the Portal but the following is advisable:

  • use an adjustable chair
  • use a separate keyboard and mouse
  • raise the height of the monitor so that the top of the screen is in line with your eyes (books, magazines or reams of paper will do but maintain laptop ventilation). Only do this if you have a separate keyboard and mouse!
  • if you can’t make adjustments take more frequent short breaks to release tensions and particularly if you feel any aches or pains in your back, neck or arms The portal has good information but please contact the Health, Safety and Wellbeing team if you have any questions.
What will the Conservatoire be doing to protect my health and wellbeing?

We are taking comprehensive steps to protect the health and wellbeing of every student and staff member.

We will always closely follow national guidelines, potentially going beyond them at times, learning from the best practice from around the world. This inevitably has consequences for life on campus.

This isn’t a complete list of the measures we will take, but hopefully gives you a sense of our commitment to your safety during 2020/21:

  • All members of the RCS community will need to abide by clear rules relating to personal hygiene and the way they interact with others
  • A thorough cleaning regime will apply in all spaces used by students and staff
  • We will operate one-way systems in corridors of buildings
  • The numbers allowed in any given building or room will be limited to avoid congestion
  • We will issue all staff and students with face coverings and encourage their use in certain environments
  • Anyone who is showing symptoms of Covid-19 will be asked to undertake a test and may have to self-isolate; those who have been in contact with them will be identified and will also be asked to take tests
  • To reduce congestion on campus, many staff will continue to work mostly from home
  • Special rules will apply in confined spaces, such as cafes and toilets, to make physical distancing as easy as possible, and to ensure the highest standards of hygiene.
Furlough & Essential Worker Status

Furlough:

The RCS is receiving requests from staff to be placed on furlough due to having child care responsibilities.

We have many staff who have worked and continue to work with these responsibilities and we are unsure of the length of time any school closures may last.

In order to ensure that we have a fair and consistent process for considering requests, it will be necessary to consider each case on an individual basis.

We will retain a flexible approach to staff’s circumstances as always, but there could be a considerable impact on teams and on essential business should multiple individuals within a team make similar requests.

Each Director has been asked to scrutinise each request and take into account the impact on the workload of their dept/programme – and the impact on those staff remaining who will have to cover the work – if there is capacity to do so. This may involve seeking advice from HR as to whether other individuals who are currently furloughed due to a temporary cessation of work could be called upon to assist, particularly where work is being undertaken remotely.

We will discuss with individual staff how flexible they can be in temporarily adjusting their hours and making up some hours at a later point or in taking some annual leave or unpaid leave to cover this period.

It is potentially possible to furlough staff on a full time or part time basis under the legislation, and individual circumstances such as being a lone parent or carer for someone who is shielding would be taken into account.

However, should furlough be agreed for any individual (as above) it would not be sustainable for the Conservatoire to have staff furloughed for significant periods of time accruing substantial time off to be taken when they return to work.

Therefore any such agreement would include the requirement for staff to take at least a portion of their annual leave during the furlough period.

Any agreed furlough would be at the current 80% of salary rate payable to staff. The annual leave element would be of course paid at normal 100% of salary rate.

Please remember that individuals with any health issues/shielding  will already have been advised of their position by HR.

Definition as an essential worker and child care provision:

Staff can apply to the schools and nurseries in their local authority for child care and nursery places to allow them to work.

The Scottish Government is now leaving the classification of “essential workers to each local authority.

The decision on access to this provision will be for the individual authorities. However, our understanding of their position is that access is predicated on there being no other alternatives and that provision would be agreed only for the days on which the staff are required to be physically required to come in to the RCS to undertake their required work.

In addition, there is also Scottish Government guidance on formal and informal childcare. This guidance says that informal childcare (from a friend or family member) is acceptable when parents must work at home, and sets out the parameters for that.

https://www.parentclub.scot/articles/your-guide-childcare .

It is important that if any staff have childcare issues or health concerns that they discuss this with HR and we will endeavour to be as flexible as possible.

Can I teach at home if my students are willing to do that?

No.  It is strictly against RCS policy to teach in any private home or other private location; there is also the risk for the virus to spread by this means.  Therefore all teaching must be facilitated online until further notice.  We realise that the prohibition on teaching from home may be intensely frustrating, and that you might wish to help your students in this way from the very best of intentions, but it cannot be permitted under any circumstances.

General information for Staff

Absences and Pay (18/03/20)
The RCS is keen to take whatever measures it can to ensure that it supports staff to minimise the spread of viral outbreaks and to promote wellbeing during this period of heightened stress. On this basis, the CSMT has agreed the following, in order to alleviate concerns and provide clarity wherever possible:

Staff presenting with illness:
Any staff presenting with symptoms similar to those of Covid19 will be asked to refrain from attending work and should follow the most recent guidance available.

Remote working:
Full time, pro rata and part time staff will be asked to work remotely from 21st March onwards.
Guidance will be given by managers and by health and safety on the details of how to work remotely. See also our health and safety guidance: https://portal.rcs.ac.uk/health-safety

It is anticipated that staff will be able to work and keep in touch with RCS business and with colleagues via such applications as Microsoft Teams etc. Where staff are working remotely during the period of closure, they should liaise with their manager to agree what they can reasonably provide in terms of work, and assist in the prioritisation of activities. This may be on a reduced hours or flexible hours basis.

Many staff will be new to remote working and we ask that staff deliver what is practicable by remote methods. If they are unable to so we ask that they use the time productively to enhance their on-line skills, undertake the online training available, catch up on planning and anticipated work etc. This should be agreed with your line manager during the closure period. Where staff are unable to work due to primary caring responsibilities or due to their role being unsuitable for remote working, staff will receive their normal pay (see below). On their return to work, a meeting will take place with their manager to discuss how best to catch up on the work. This could include agreeing whether some or any missed hours could be worked over an agreed period, where possible. Advice will be available from HR on a case by case basis.

If a staff member were absent due to ill-health prior to the period of closure commencing and becomes fit to attend work but is unable to do so because of the closure of the building, this will be treated as exceptional and the staff member will receive full pay, provided that communications with HR have taken place via email/phone.

Please visit our Portal for the full information for staff.

Claiming tax relief for additional household expenses when working from home

You may be able to claim tax relief from 6 April 2020 of up to £6 a week (£26 a month) to cover your additional costs if you are required to work from home.

For previous tax years the rate is £4 a week (£18 a month).

This can be done either on your self-assessment tax return to the HMRC, or on a separate P87 form if you do not complete a self-assessment tax return.

The RCS cannot make this claim on your behalf. The tax relief is intended to cover the reasonable additional household expenses incurred when working from home.

If you decide to make a claim, it is recommended that you submit a claim when you know how long you have been required to work from home so you can make your claim all at once. If agreed by HMRC, the likely outcome is that your tax code would be adjusted rather than you receiving a lump sum refund.

Tax relief can only be claimed when you have been required by your employer to work from home (as is the case currently whilst the RCS is closed due to coronavirus pandemic).

You can’t claim tax relief if you are working from home voluntarily or by choice, for example where working from home has been agreed for work/life balance reasons.

Visit the gov.uk website for more information.

What do I need to know if there is a quarantine in place?

The Scottish Government currently does not require all international travellers arriving in Scotland to quarantine but has special measure in place requiring people arriving from some countries to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Scotland. This information is regularly updated on the Gov website.

Will RCS be in touch if there are changes in UK travel regulations & restrictions?

Yes. We will contact you if there are any changes to the current rules.

Covid-19: discover our latest updates