In a week where we have seen both the UK and Scottish governments take fresh action to control the spread of Covid-19, it is clear that we have entered a critical phase in the fight against the virus. It is essential that we all play our part in ensuring a safe environment for everyone and continue with our values led response to these challenges.
The announcements from the Prime Minister and the First Minister have made very clear the need for people to continue to work from home, when they can. This has been our consistent position since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it has been further reinforced by the national announcements. We have become highly adept at working remotely and are well placed to continue in this way for the foreseeable future.
I have been hugely impressed by the way Strathclyders have adapted to the circumstances over the past six months, and I am sure we will continue to demonstrate our agility, professionalism, our values and our commitment during this important next phase.
Last week, I hosted four digital Student Inauguration Events, our annual welcome to those joining our Faculties. This week marks the beginning of the first semester, another important milestone for the University. Our online teaching is progressing well and I have had extremely encouraging feedback about both the quality of teaching, staff support and the positive and engaging response of our students.
As part of our commitment to providing an excellent student experience, we have ensured that both the Library and Strathclyde Sport are operating in time for the return of our students. I am delighted to say that the new safety measures in place are allowing new and returning students to benefit from both facilities.
This week, we have updated the Return and Resume Hub to include: The University Buildings New Working Arrangements; COVID-19 Cleaning and Hygiene guidance; and an updated Travelling to Campus section. I would encourage you to use the Hub, as it is regularly updated with the latest guidance and information you need to help in your work and to keep you safe.
RRDG is also co-ordinating our readiness to manage any outbreak that might occur in the University. You will be aware from the media of outbreaks in recent weeks at other universities across Scotland. We have a small number of isolated cases in our university community.
Rest assured that we are working with the NHS and Public Health Scotland to ensure those involved, and their close contacts, are supported. If you receive a positive Covid-19 test result, or have been asked by the NHS to self-isolate, or you are displaying symptoms, please notify us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier this week, I collected my Strathclyde branded face-coverings from reception at the Technology & Innovation Centre during my latest visit there. These are high-quality coverings and I was delighted to learn that two Scottish manufacturers had won the contract to supply them. Take a look at our information on how to get our Strathclyde face coverings. As with all face-coverings, they should be washed before use and, as a general reminder, take a look at the Scottish Government advice on how to handle them safely.
I am nearing the end of my latest round of Principal’s Engagement Sessions, with eight of the nine scheduled having taken place. Each of these has been very constructive and a fantastic opportunity to update colleagues on our latest developments in relation to Covid-19 but also to show how we are continuing to deliver on Vision 2025 and seek out opportunities where they might be found.
The sessions have prompted a range of stimulating questions and I and my Executive Team colleagues have been impressed with the levels of interest, engagement and support from all parts of the University.
Finally for this week, I would like to thank everyone again for their efforts on behalf of Strathclyde which resulted in the University being shortlisted for The Sunday Times University of the Year. This latest significant external recognition – and the rise of 13 places in their league table – are testament to the alignment of our strategy, our teams and our people.
More importantly, it is fitting acknowledgement for the excellent work being done by all our staff across the University – you can all take credit for your part in our progress.
Thank you once again and please make the most of your meeting-free Friday.