As in previous weeks, I hope this communication finds you, your family and loved ones well. As we reach week eight of lockdown, it is with hope and optimism that we look towards other European countries and some of the measures being put in place there which are gradually allowing normal life to resume.
There have been touching scenes of reunited families, cafes and some shops reopening and the sense of release is evident. With today’s announcements from the Scottish Government about the first tentative steps to lift the lockdown, we are able to envisage some aspects of the coming months, both in wider society and on campus.
At Strathclyde, the work to restart operations and implement a phased return is being coordinated by the Return and Resume Development Group. Chaired by our University Secretary and Compliance Officer, Veena O’Halloran, this Group is assessing all aspects of a gradual return to campus operation with the health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff our focus in decision-making at all times.
This week’s Leadership Group meeting was devoted to planning our return and there was excellent input from the 75 senior colleagues who attended the session with comments and experiences being shared and captured to inform ongoing discussions. Your head of department/school/PS function will be involved in the planning process for your area and will be seeking input on our ‘Return and Resume’ plans in the weeks ahead.
After my email last week, I received a number of useful suggestions from colleagues giving their perspective on our gradual return, and I thank you for these. I would encourage you to continue to feed into this process by replying to Inside Strathclyde or by contacting Veena directly. Over the next few weeks, we will see a shared plan emerging that is shaped by the entire Strathclyde community.
Of course, many staff have been working on campus throughout the lockdown. Once again, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to these frontline staff as they continue to travel to work to look after the welfare of those students who remain in residences and to keep our buildings and facilities secure and maintained.
As I said last week, our planning is informed at all times by Government guidance and it is possible many of you will remain working from home for some time to come. However, I know from discussions with colleagues from all parts of the University that you are realistic about this and I thank you for your patience.
My Staff Engagement Sessions have continued this week and a further three have been scheduled for the coming weeks. Details for these will be in Inside Strathclyde on Tuesday of next week. These sessions are providing a fantastic forum for discussion on how we will achieve the strategic goals of Vision 2025 by collaborating and innovating across the Strathclyde community and I am hugely grateful to all of you who have taken part so far.
Our people-oriented rest days continue, and I know these are very well received across the University. With Monday’s national May Bank Holiday, this weekend will provide a welcome extended break for you to focus on family and loved ones.
Finally, I would like to reiterate how proud I am of all Strathclyders at the way we prepared for and responded to this unprecedented period. Throughout it all, your wellbeing has been front and centre of our collective efforts.
Enjoy the long weekend and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the continued planning for our gradual return to campus.