I hope you enjoyed some additional ‘down time’ over the long weekend and were able to benefit from the lifting of some restrictions as lockdown continues to ease.
A positive development this week has been news of the good progress with COVID-19 vaccine trials here in the UK and that other vaccine programmes are successfully under development across the globe.
Here at Strathclyde, we are putting the full weight of our expertise, research and resources behind efforts to tackle the virus. Strathclyders continue to play a key role in the COVID-19 response, through projects funded by the Chief Scientist’s Office in Scotland and the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund, while many of our academics are members of task forces and advisory groups, sharing their expertise with the government.
We have also continued to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) to support health and social care workers. Colleagues in the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) have produced 10,000 certified face visors to donate to charitable organisations including care homes, hospices, counselling centres, youth groups, social enterprises and the Scottish SPCA.
NMIS engineers are also working with Edinburgh-based company Breathe Easy to help them with the manufacture of masks which allow lip-reading for people who are deaf or hearing impaired. Our support means that the company can now accelerate production for health and care organisations and other services who deal with the public.
Projects like this are excellent examples of how we are making a tangible difference in the fight against COVID-19.
As I told you last week, many of our Science and Engineering teams are back on campus and undertaking valuable laboratory-based research activities. Office-based activities remain at a low level, but are beginning again for a small number of colleagues who need to be on-site to support the start of the new academic year. There is also an enormous amount of work being undertaken by our colleagues who continue to work from home as we prepare for the new term.
A number of Professional Services staff members are returning to work to ensure that the campus is ready to welcome students and staff when appropriate. This includes colleagues in teams such as security, cleaning, trades, grounds and gardens.
I am pleased to see so many activities resume and can reassure you that everything is being done in a carefully managed way, informed at all times by Government guidelines and in close consultation with the Trade Unions. As always, the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and students remain at the heart of everything we do.
I would like to thank all the staff that have been involved in the preparations for the return to campus for their significant efforts over recent weeks, this is really paying off now due to their professionalism, diligence and focus on delivery.
This week, the Executive Team has approved the reopening of the following buildings: James Weir; Thomas Graham; the Royal College; and, Acre Road. I am delighted that colleagues in PAC are returning to the Royal College and Thomas Graham Buildings, while more of the EEE research laboratories have recommenced working in the TIC.
To keep up to date on our return to campus plans, please continue to check the Return and resume hub. I have had positive feedback on how the information here is helping colleagues to plan and understand their own area’s journey back to working on campus.
If you haven’t had a chance to look at the hub, I encourage you to do so.
The content focuses on six areas:
- Managing the return to campus
- Ways of working
- Staying safe on campus
- Learning & teaching 2020/21 - support & guidance
- Travelling to campus
- Information for students
Content is updated regularly and this week a significant new section for line managers has been added.
I want to be sure that all staff members – in every category, and at all levels – feel confident and supported about making a return to campus. Of course, for many of you, working from home will remain the norm for some time yet.
Once again, thank you for your efforts on behalf of Strathclyde and please have a good rest day and relaxed weekend.