COVID-19 Update to colleagues - 22 September 2020
Thanks to your very significant efforts over the past few months, our on-campus research is well underway following our ramp-up over the summer, and we are now welcoming students back to campus for the new academic year. The general message from government is still to make our environments COVID-secure, to reduce the risk of transmission and to keep running necessary in-person research and education activity.
Today, the Prime Minister announced new restrictions on hospitality and leisure activities and guidance to work from home if you can. It was clear that these new measures would likely be in place for at least six months and that further restrictions could be introduced if necessary.
Our response to today’s announcements is based on our existing policy that everyone who can work from home should remain working from home, so that we can safely accommodate those who need to be on campus for research and education within social distancing guidelines. We are therefore confident that with your help we can keep to evolving government guidelines and maintain our academic activities.
The guidance from the Department for Education is to retain face-to-face provision where it is possible to do so safely. Our model of multi-mode education is set up to be flexible and allows us to make adjustments in order to keep staff and students safe. Based on the current guidance from government, staff and students who need to travel to campus to deliver, participate in or support on-site teaching activities should continue to do so.
Faculties and departments, coordinated through the Education Strategy and Operations Group (ESOG), will determine how we can transition from multi-mode to increased online teaching with minimum disruption, if there is a requirement to do so. To ensure consistency and coordination, decisions to change the balance between online and in-person education, or to switch to online-only education will be advised locally by departments working with the ESOG in its cross-College role.
In order to take into account the interdependence of departmental needs, the final decision will be made centrally by the College
Our research ramp-up process has embedded protocols for safe working and social distancing and most of our on-campus research should continue. In line with our existing policy staff should work from home if they can (ie you do not need to carry out research on campus or only need limited access). Based on the current guidance from government, staff who need to travel to campus to carry out or support on-site research activities should continue to do so.
Faculties and departments will continue to determine what research needs to be done on campus and when.
College COVID-19 Response
We are working closely with local, regional and national public health representatives to ensure that we are doing all that we can to make our environment safe whilst delivering our academic mission. There will be new COVID cases across our community and our Test, Trace, Contain approach is designed to identify and isolate such cases and minimise the possibility of spread. Our COVID response has already been successfully implemented as cases are identified and members of our community are self-isolating and being cared for as needed.
Further information and guidance for staff and students on Test, Trace, Contain will be published this week.
Safety is everyone’s job
It is our collective responsibility to look out for each other and follow the safety precautions. Thank you for your continued work in following and promoting our Protect and Respect campaign and adhering to the Code of Conduct. These efforts are critical to maintaining our onsite research and education activity.
Alice and Ian
Professor Alice P. Gast, President
Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost