COVID-19 Update to colleagues - 17 April 2020
We hope that you had a chance to rest and enjoy the holiday weekend.
Yesterday the government announced that the lockdown will continue for three more weeks. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and others who are suffering from the coronavirus or other illnesses. While we hope that we are coming out of the peak, clearly the situation remains serious.
We have accomplished a lot by working together to implement government measures to deal with the health emergency. Now we have more we need to do to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic.
The crisis has caused us to make a number of rapid and profound changes in the ways we work together to deliver our academic mission. We are grateful to all for the hard work to move to online and remote learning and assessment, for rallying to support current students and to reach out to potential new students in new ways, and for supporting one another to continue our work remotely. We are proud of the significant impact of our research, clinical care, and public outreach on the pandemic.
Although we do not yet know the full impact of the challenges we face as a university, we are moving swiftly to ensure that we are able to emerge successfully from this crisis in a strong position to further our ever more important mission of excellence in education and research.
The immediate need, as we face threats to enrolments and the financial burden of the shutdown, is to look for ways to conserve cash in the coming year. We have already taken important decisions to suspend starting or approving new capital projects, limiting ongoing staff recruitment and identifying roles eligible for the furloughing scheme. We need to consider further measures.
The two of us will take a voluntary reduction in our pay of 20% and the President’s Board has volunteered for a pay reduction of 10% over the next 6 months. Our intention is to share some of the many sacrifices our community is making by volunteering, working on the front line or having their laboratory or workplace closed. This money will be used to help our students and staff in hardship.
Other senior staff have indicated an interest in taking a pay reduction to support students and staff in hardship, and they should contact Maria Monteiro at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also support our community through gift aid donations to our COVID19 Response Fund.
There will be many changes for us to work through over the coming months, and we will outline these in more detail in the next two weeks.
We realise that these are very difficult times and you are working harder than ever before. We thank you for being such a positive and supportive community.
Alice and Ian
Professor Alice P. Gast, President
Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost