Update for staff - 2 November
Dear Colleagues and Doctoral Researchers,
In his announcement on Saturday the Prime Minister described a number of further national restrictions that would run from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December. Importantly however, he announced that universities would remain open. Whilst the Government’s actions have implications for our activities at Loughborough University, we will remain open and continue to operate from our campuses in the East Midlands and London.
The number of students at the University testing positive for Covid-19 and those self-isolating is falling. There are no significant reports of transmission of infection in the context of teaching and learning but we continue to monitor closely and I am not complacent. This demonstrates that the actions that we have implemented to minimise infection are having a positive impact. As I said in my newsletter at the end of October, a herculean effort is in progress to keep things going in an effective, well-managed and constructive way. I remain grateful to all involved in this endeavour.
The vast majority of the student community at Loughborough continues, despite the hardships that it brings, to behave responsibly to protect both themselves and others. Alas, a small minority of individuals show an unacceptable disregard of others in how they are behaving. We are now taking disciplinary action where, for the first time, a small group of students are likely to have their studies suspended for the rest of this academic year.
I say this with much sadness but with no regret. We will take robust action where poor behaviour jeopardises the welfare of others in our community. My responsibility to all colleagues is to protect those that are doing all they can to keep us operating, whether it be learning and teaching or the many other things that go on here.
In line with Government guidance, our two campuses will remain open. The safety measures that we have in place to minimise the spread of the virus at Loughborough mean that we shall continue the current mix of in-person and online teaching. The precautions that are in place across our campuses provide protection for colleagues and they should continue to work as before. If any colleagues have concerns about the current arrangements or the Government’s changes, they should feel able to discuss their concerns with their line manager in the first instance, and after that with our Occupational Health Team if appropriate.
Students have been advised that learning and teaching continues and that the Government expects students to remain on campus until the end of term, at which point those who are able to will return home (we expect some international students to choose to remain on campus).
Research activity can continue as currently, following the socially distanced protocols already in place, although in some cases risk assessments may need revisiting. Doctoral Researchers should liaise with their supervisory team but again I expect their work to continue in a way similar to the previous period.
We have said previously that we would prioritise the continuation of academic activity (including research and enterprise), student sport and student social activity, in that order. We are going to have to change the way in which we do some things but this will largely be around student sport, socialising and the provision of campus services such as food and accommodation.
Life will continue to be challenging for some time to come. In previous emails I have given staff and students alike the commitment that I shall do all that I can to keep the University open and preserve the campus environment as a safe place to work.
We expect detailed guidance over the coming days and it is very likely we will write again shortly with further updates.
How we do this over the next four weeks will be a challenge but with your support and loyalty I know that we can do it.
Professor Robert J. Allison
Vice-Chancellor & President