CoronavirusStaff update: 6 August

Dear Colleagues,

The planned re-opening of our schools next week will be a very significant step forward in the slow and steady resumption of a new 'normal' life. The opening is a very positive development and it will be tremendously encouraging to see education resume for so many children.

For those of you with school-age children, this will bring significant changes to the pattern of daily life that will need to be accommodated in your working-from-home arrangements. Please speak to your line manager about the flexibility you may require to accommodate those you care for. We also recognise that not all schools and nurseries are returning full time immediately and this will result in some upheaval to patterns which have been established since March.

Crucial to this is both communication and flexibility. Colleagues across the university have shown both in abundance since lockdown began and I am sure this will continue to be the case in the coming weeks.

It is important for us to remember that despite the reopening of the schools, it may be Phase 4 of the Scottish Government’s Route Map before all workplaces will be open, with public health measures in place. Even then, remote and flexible working will still be encouraged and it will be some time before many of us return to campus. Further information on agile working protocols will follow next week.

Our Return and Resume work continues at pace with all ten of the Phase 2 buildings now open for the resumption of laboratory-based research: Royal College, James Weir, Thomas Graham, John Anderson, TIC, SIPBS, AFRC, PNDC, LMC and Acre Road.

I am delighted that more of our departmental colleagues in DMEM, CPE, NAOME, MAE and PAC have returned to campus this week. The sign-off of our Phase 3 buildings has now commenced, with the Collins and St James Road buildings being our focus this week. The reopening of the Curran Library is the next priority with preparations well underway and I will be sharing more on this with you next week.

The Return and Resume Hub has more information added regularly and I am happy to report that our staff are making use of the online question form to submit specific queries. This is helping us to identify emerging themes and to address them for the entire University community. I encourage you to review the information on the Hub and please use the form if you have any question on a topic which you feel is not covered.

The health and wellbeing of our students and staff is central to everything we do, so I am delighted to tell you that thanks to the hard work of our Safety, Health and Wellbeing Team, Strathclyde has been awarded the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) Silver Award for health and safety performance in 2019. Running since 1956, these awards are one of the most prestigious and recognised schemes of its kind in the world, with almost 2,000 entries every year. It is a great accolade for the University and I would like to thank the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Team for their efforts on our collective behalf.

Another notable success for Strathclyde came on University Challenge this week. Our team defeated reigning champions Imperial College by 190 points to 155 points to win a place in the second round. I am sure that many of you, like me, were cheering them on and we wish them all the best in the coming stages of the competition. For those of you who may have missed it, it can be found on the BBC iPlayer.

Finally this week, and as communicated at the start of the summer, tomorrow is the last of our official Friday Rest Days. These days were designed to recognise that we have been working under unusual and sometimes challenging conditions and have been an innovation that I know many of you have found extremely helpful in balancing work and caring responsibilities. As a socially-progressive and people-oriented University, it was in keeping with our values that we gave colleagues the flexibility to balance their caring and work responsibilities while schools and nurseries were closed.

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing with you the evolving plans for how we will build on recent experience of more flexible and agile working. These plans will be informed by the objectives of our recently published People Strategy and will support our development of a structured and sustainable model for new ways of working.

Please enjoy your rest day tomorrow and have a good weekend.

Best wishes,