With the First Minister’s announcement yesterday of the extension of the current restrictions, combined with the proposed introduction of a Covid Levels System in Scotland, it is clear that the Strathclyde community will be required to maintain our significant focus and effective approaches to managing the effects of Covid-19 on our students, staff and operations.
I have been enormously impressed by the levels of resilience, collaboration and mutual support we have all shown since the pandemic began, and I know we will continue in this vein throughout the period running up to Christmas.
The University’s response to the pandemic demonstrates our on-going commitment to putting the safety of the Strathclyde community first and foremost; this has guided all of our decisions. I am confident that we will continue to respond well to the pandemic as the situation changes from week to week.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you once again for your efforts throughout 2020 and I know that is due to the professionalism, commitment and values-led behaviour of all Strathclyders.
This week, the Executive Team received and approved the plans from Faculties for the phased commencement of our transition to blended learning. This will see some essential face-to-face teaching taking place on campus with specific student cohorts from the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), Pure and Applied Chemistry, Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS) and Prosthetics and Orthotics (Biomedical Engineering) being among the first to benefit from on-campus learning.
These specific cohorts will require face-to-face teaching to meet professional accreditation standards. The management of the arrangements will be communicated to these student cohorts through the relevant Departments/Schools. All other teaching will remain online until further proposals from the Faculties have been considered by the Executive Team.
I am delighted that these arrangements have been made and that our campus is operating in the context of Covid-19, with enhanced safety measures in place.
To support efforts to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19 on campus, it is important that we keep track of who is in the room for face-to-face teaching events. We are using QR codes to monitor who is in attendance at on-campus teaching events. This allows us to track contacts and recommend who needs to isolate and/or book a test if someone subsequently tests positive for Covid-19. Read more about our Covid-19 tracking process. I would also encourage you to take the new Data Protection Online Training Module on MyPlace.
I would like to thank everyone for respecting and following the safety rules closely to keep staff and students safe and well. A safe campus is the responsibility of every member of the University community, and to reassure you, the University will not hesitate to take action in the event of inappropriate behaviours that could put others at risk. If you have any concerns, you can contact Report and Support via the website.
Please be aware that the Scottish Government has recently updated its guidance on the use of face coverings in public spaces and workplaces. From last Monday, 19 October, we must all wear face coverings when moving around the communal spaces of the campus buildings including all corridors, walkways, stairs and social spaces.
Face coverings should continue to be worn in other indoor spaces wherever two metres distance cannot be guaranteed, and must be worn in the Library. We have updated our guidance based on the new rules Covid-19 Guidance on the use of PPE and face coverings.
Also, please remember that the University is providing staff and students on campus with three University of Strathclyde branded, washable and re-usable face coverings.
I would also ask if you could please keep your contact details up to date. We are all aware of the importance of contact tracing and I urge you to check your details under the Human Resources tab on your Pegasus home page.
Despite the on-going challenges, the University community is focused on the continued delivery of Vision 2025 and I am delighted to tell you that construction is set to begin next week on the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Renfrewshire.
Strathclyde is a founding partner in the centre, which will bring together industry, academia, healthcare providers and regulators to test new and disruptive technologies for manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry. Companies of all sizes will be able to use the facility to evaluate, test and prototype processes using advanced Industry 4.0 manufacturing technologies.
By using next-generation technology, they will be able to produce drugs more efficiently, and protect future generations by bringing new medicines to market safely and quickly. Ultimately, the centre will help to reduce the financial burden of medicines on healthcare providers.
I will be joining our partners CPI, GSK and AstraZeneca, as well as Scottish Enterprise and UK Research and Innovation, at a virtual ground-breaking event on Monday to mark this significant milestone. The centre is set to become a world-leader in its field, and will be based near the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland – part of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland in Inchinnan. The centre is due for completion late 2021 and will be operational in early 2022.
It is incredibly heartening to see such significant progress being made and I would like to thank everyone who has worked together to reach this important milestone.
Please have a good week, and stay safe and well.