Coronavirus (COVID-19): staff FAQs

Information and guidance for University of Plymouth staff following the outbreak of COVID-19

We understand that you may have many questions about COVID-19 and its impact on you.

The following information will hopefully keep you up to date on the evolving situation and the University response based on the latest information and guidance from the UK Government.

You should raise any concerns with your line manager.

If you still have questions, please email:

How is the University planning for the new 2020-21 academic year?

A major programme of work has commenced to plan the restart and recovery of the University. Five interlinked projects are being led by members of the University Executive Group (UEG), and each will work with colleagues across campus. The projects cover:

  • Campus, People and Operations
  • Semester 1 +​​​​​​​
  • Research
  • International
  • Strategic planning going forward. ​​​​​​​

Three principles will guide all our plans: (1) Safety First; (2) Phasing and Flexibility, and (3) Build back better collaboratively. Fuller details of each of these projects and key updates and decisions are available on the COVID-19 Response Programme internal site.

I have a question about absence or working from home due to coronavirus (COVID-19) – what should I do (HR related enquiries)?

There is further detailed FAQ guidance for staff on the Human Resources intranet pages that will continue to be updated. These also contain links to a wealth of other resources and helpful policy/procedures to offer further specific advice and support, for example a Practical guide for Home Working for staff and managers and Practical guide for Lone Working for essential staff and managers who may be required to work on campus.

If there’s anything not listed here that you would appreciate guidance on, please let us know at

What access will there be to University buildings?

Access to buildings and delivery of services is currently restricted and highly limited.

  • We will deliver essential campus services (such as building security and maintenance).
  • TIS will maintain a small number of staff on campus to ensure the IT systems.
  • The Library is closed and all Library services are moving online.
  • Drakes Kitchen will remain open for a limited service.

The majority of buildings are both alarmed and deadlocked. If access to any buildings over the closure period is required, this needs to be agreed in advance.


  • While the majority of research can be undertaken remotely, there may be an unavoidable and time-limited need for staff to be able to access laboratories and/or equipment to complete essential current or planned work.
  • Over time, there may be an unavoidable requirement to access materials on campus in order to continue to deliver teaching and other services online/remotely.

In such exceptional circumstances, should there be an absolute need to access specific office or laboratory spaces, please email

You will need to get your Head of School or Director to confirm your requirements ahead of this. Estates & Facilities will be challenging any request to validate its urgency/criticality. Please note that access in all cases will be limited to weekdays and normal operating hours.

Obviously nobody knows how long the current restrictions will remain in place and situations will change. Requests for access will emerge over time. The same principles will apply but please provide Estates & Facilities with 48 hours’ advance notice to enable them to confirm that such a request can be supported.

Estates & Facilities will do their utmost within reason to support your request but they will only be operating with a small number of staff. Health, safety and wellbeing are even more important now and if you have any concerns please talk to your manager.

Staff should be aware that further changes to government guidance may have an additional impact on campus operations over the coming days.

Please also note we will enable parking in University car parks for essential University workers from Monday 23 March, noting that public highway parking within the campus is operated by the local council and not under our control.

Anybody parking should photocopy their staff card and put this on their dashboard along with a note of which building they are accessing, for how long and their on-site contact details.

Please note that this availability will be kept under review and if numbers exceed spaces, parking is dangerous or government policy changes, then this may change.

What IT help and support is available for online teaching and homeworking?

The Technology and Information Services team has a self-help centre which links to a range of support resources, information and guidance.