COVID-19 has changed life as we know it – we’ve had to adapt to news ways of working, living and being with others. Throughout this crisis, we have collaborated with a great many colleagues across the University to provide you with the information you need. Our overarching goal has been to make sure that we all understand the behaviours that are required of us, as well as what we can expect from the University. A whole range of measures is now in place across the University to minimise the risks presented by the virus and to reduce the risk to you.
To assess the effectiveness of our health communications, we recently asked for your feedback. In parallel, we also spoke to students for theirs. Thank you to everyone who responded. We have now collated the responses and we are pleased to report some important achievements, as well as some areas to address.
What’s Working Well
1. Communications channels
Almost three quarters of you said that University Bulletin (formerly, Blueprint Bulletin – Special Edition), or other newsletters, had promoted health-related behaviours and protocols. This was closely followed by cascade emails, and then web content.
Most students had seen these behaviours and protocols through student newsletters and department emails.
University Bulletin has been the major communication tool for health-related information since the pandemic began, and it will continue to be the ‘go-to’ place for your most up-to-date COVID communications. Catch up with past Bulletin content on the Staff Gateway.
As we move forward, we plan to showcase more of Oxford’s excellence in more areas. COVID-19 has dominated our lives for some time, but with our latest vaccine breakthrough, there is hope that it will not dominate our future.
2. Images to support health-related behaviours
Almost two-thirds of staff (60%) said that you had seen the Protect poster.
More of you had seen the 5 behaviours poster – in fact, 85% of staff had seen it.
By comparison, 42% of students had seen the Protect poster, and 87% had seen the 5 behaviours poster.
We’re pleased that many of you saw these images, which have been central to the health campaign. We need to ensure that these images are picked up more widely, so we might be asking you to help us with that.
3. Amount of information
For 78% of you, the amount of information that you have received around health, safety and expected behaviours for Michaelmas term has been just right. There was still 16.5% who felt that not enough had been shared.
For students, the experience was more mixed. 43%) said they were receiving the right amount of information, but the remainder felt that it was either too much or not enough.
This seems to be a good balance, overall. We know this won’t be perfect. But we will also try to improve this ratio, and we will continue to ask for your steer on this periodically.
4. Specific protective measures the University has put in place
73.5% of you thought that the specific measures in place to protect staff and students from COVID-19 were just right. Still, there was some concern about COVID-safe workspaces and whether risk-mitigation measures were adequate. Again, student feedback indicated a mixed experience, although a majority (40.3%) thought the measures were just right.
This tells us that, on the whole, these measures are welcome. We will address areas of concern by providing detail and reassurance, and by tailoring our communications to the different staff groups where appropriate.
Areas to address
1. Understanding the appropriate steps to take on a health-related area
You told us that you understand the steps you need to take around RTOSW and COVID testing. You were less sure about: 1) reporting positive cases, 2) promoting ways to stay COVID-safe among students, 3) teaching and learning, or 4) supporting students’ wellbeing.
These are really important areas where supporting others to adopt protective behaviours can make a huge difference. We will focus further on these areas in future communications to ensure that more staff understand what to do in these situations. In the meantime, here is some information you might find useful.
Reporting positive cases
To report a positive test result, you simply press the ‘Book or Report a Test’ button on the COVID testing page.
Promoting ways to stay COVID-safe among students
You can find out about our approach to student responsibility on the student pages. You can also refer to the messages of responsible behaviour as part of our ‘Stop the Spread’ campaign.
Teaching and learning
If you are student-facing member of staff, you can go to the teaching remotely and academic support pages to learn more.
Support for students is detailed on the welfare and wellbeing page.
2. Unanswered questions
In response to your feedback, we’re going to communicate more about mental health, the decision-making process behind the University’s COVID-19 policies, the details of RTOSW (as well as providing clarity), and staff safety in the context of onsite working. For example, a Staff Wellbeing Programme Board is being set up and will meet in the New Year. We will also do more to connect you with the people and processes behind University decisions. Look out for news from the Hilary Term Coordination Group leads in University Bulletin on Monday 14 December.
In response to student concerns about publishing our testing data, we have increased the amount of information on the University status and response page and fed this back to colleges.
3. Scale of information
In response to your feedback, we are going to consider the length and frequency of some of our communications. We will also review layout and signposting on our web pages to improve navigation, making it easier to find vital information. In response to student feedback, we will coordinate and streamline our communications so that the amount of information students receive and have to process in a given week is more manageable.
Thank you again to everyone who participated in the survey. We will be looking carefully at what you’ve told us. Remember that our regular feedback channel is open throughout the year.
Internal Communications Team
Got an idea for communicating differently? Do you want to see more or less of something? Please email us with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org