Dear Colleague,

Now that the government has announced that the lockdown will be lifted next week, and that from Wednesday 2 Dec London will be in the “high alert” Tier 2, we wanted to let you know what the arrangements for College will be in the run up to the Christmas break.

In short, the College will remain open for research and some teaching until Friday 18 December with the familiar safety measures in place. As you will be aware, most of our teaching will move to online only from Wednesday 9 December, to accommodate the student travel window specified by the government. Further, the gyms and food outlets will reopen, allowing staff to exercise and gather for meals using the COVID-safe arrangements in operation before lockdown.

We have been fortunate to have avoided large outbreaks across the Imperial community, and the relatively low rates of infection are a testament to the way in which we have all worked together to protect and respect each other in adhering to the safety measures in halls and on campuses.

Our programme for asymptomatic testing continues throughout the rest of the year and we encourage those of you working on campus to get tested regularly. You can find available slots on the online booking system. If you’re working from home, please don’t use this service so that we can be sure to have the capacity for staff and students who are working around others outside their bubbles. And of course, if you display any symptoms, the NHS testing service is available.

After the break, the College will open for research activities on Monday 4 January. This includes PhD and MRes students who are working in laboratories, within the usual rules of COVID-safe working.

We are anticipating a staggered start in January for in-person teaching and are planning to be able to adapt should government guidance indicate otherwise.

Thanks to those of you working from home – your patience and resilience in keeping the College functioning without being with your teams on site is very much appreciated. We expect there will be a few more months of the current arrangements, though it does seem that, with the good news about vaccine developments, we can see a more familiar future emerging.

Best wishes,

Alice and Ian

Professor Alice P. Gast, President

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost