Dear Colleagues,

The past two weeks have been very disruptive and difficult ones, and we hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.  We would like to thank you all for responding as you have to the fast-moving situation we are faced with. While our immediate focus has been on providing for our students’ progress and supporting essential research, we are mindful of the strains due to remote working.  We want to ensure that you have the resources and support you need, and that you have the opportunity to keep in touch with your co-workers, colleagues and friends around campus.

We know that many of you are working from home in close quarters with family and far from easy reach of colleagues. We recognise that it may be difficult for you to work as effectively as you normally would and we want to support you to do your best, even if your additional responsibilities at home mean you cannot do as much as you normally would expect. We understand that you may have children or others to care for. Ask for help from your colleagues and Department if you need it. We know that people are willing to help, and duties can be reassigned to others where needed.  If you are home-schooling your children, you may find our Reach Out Reporter to be a good resource for science lessons. Most of all, we want you to look after yourselves.

Some will be working or have partners who work on the front lines in the NHS or other services. Others of you will be looking after people who are vulnerable to the virus. We have had more than one thousand members of our staff volunteer to support the NHS and we have nearly two thousand key workers helping keep our essential services running and supporting the essential COVID-19 research. Thank you to everyone for doing everything you can to help us all to combat COVID-19.

If you find that you have time to think and catch up on ideas you have wanted to pursue, please help us imagine how we can make Imperial a stronger and better institution after we return from the pandemic.  Develop your ideas for new courses, ways of working together, research projects, and how technology can help us deliver these effectively.   If you have time to pursue these ideas and discuss them with your colleagues, we might all realise some benefits from this situation. 

While we cope with the lack of direct contact with colleagues and friends, you might enjoy Helen Sharman’s reflections on isolation from her time in space.

Finally, take time out to relax. This is a stressful time for all of us, and, it will not be over quickly. We all need to stay healthy.  Keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Alice and Ian

Professor Alice P. Gast, President

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost