January 7, 2021, by Rob Ounsworth
Research continues during new national lockdown
Update from Professor Dame Jessica Corner
Following the Government’s announcement on Monday evening of a third national lockdown, I wish to update you on what this means for research at our university.
In line with Government guidance, our Covid-19 secure research buildings and facilities remain open and our on-campus research will continue.
Research staff, including postgraduate research students, should continue to work and research from home wherever possible; however, work and research that cannot reasonably be carried out at home can continue in our Covid-secure campus buildings.
Our existing approval processes for undertaking on-campus research will continue to ensure our resources are used effectively, while keeping you safe with social distancing measures and other safety protocols. Some open buildings will be on standby as we look at flexible approaches to providing on-campus study spaces.
Please discuss any concerns with your colleagues and line manager and continue to adapt projects wherever possible to overcome the current challenges.
By adhering to these guidelines, and thanks to the tremendous ongoing efforts of Estates and Health and Safety colleagues, we can continue to carry out research and maintain our progress towards recovery.
Covid-19 testing for staff
We strongly advise all staff visiting campus to carry out or support research to be tested once a week. This will help keep you safe and protect our families, loved ones and the wider community. By acting responsibly and taking up opportunities to be tested, we will also help ensure that our university can remain open for research and continue to play a vital role, whether by contributing to understanding of the virus or delivering the innovations needed to secure the UK’s recovery.
Please visit our pages on Covid-19 testing for all staff. All staff, including postgraduate research students, can access the university’s testing service at one of our dedicated testing stations. Staff working from home can also access the testing service, but please do not take any unnecessary risks in travelling to our testing stations.
After so many months of living with the pandemic, this third national lockdown is demoralising. But we can all take a great deal of pride in our university’s agile and gritty response to this evolving challenge, not least in the part we have played in trials for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, while undertaking other vital research into Covid-19 and offering expert advice to government and local healthcare partners.
We will update you as the Government releases further guidance for universities, including participation in on-campus research by the public. You can find the latest national lockdown guidance here.
Staff with school-age children
Government guidelines are that staff working in universities are considered ‘critical’ workers who may therefore continue to send their children to school during this period. We believe this is also the case for postgraduate researchers and we are seeking urgent clarification from the Department of Education. Staff can ask their Head of School or Department for a letter to confirm their status as a critical worker to enable their child or children to attend school in person.
Stay in touch
We recognise that this new lockdown has increased the challenges many of you are facing. As before, please stay in touch with colleagues and supervisors to discuss working arrangements and any impact on your personal or family life, so we can offer the support you may need.
Professor Dame Jessica Corner
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange