Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s blog: progressing on the road to recovery

June 22nd, 2020

In today’s blog I want to focus on some of the tangible ways in which the University’s road to recovery is progressing.

I’m delighted to be able to share news that four of our buildings are opening this week, with a further two planned for next week.

The buildings are listed below although it wouldn’t be a recovery blog unless I stressed the overriding, and most important, message that unless you are invited to return to campus you must continue working from home.

W/c 22 June; Chemistry Building, University Park; BioDiscovery Institute, University Park; Monica Partridge Building, University Park; Advanced Manufacturing Building, Jubilee Campus.

W/c 29 June; Plant Sciences, Sutton Bonington; Vet School, Sutton Bonington.

Each week we will be refreshing a list of the buildings which are being prioritised and the target dates for re-openings. You will be able to see the next buildings being worked on including the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre at University Park and the Sir Colin Campbell Building at Jubilee Campus.

As well as facilitating early return to teaching for the courses that need it we are working towards the aim of having all priority research buildings and facilities open by the end of July, and all other buildings required for University operations during August and September ready for the start of term.

Staff with queries about where their place of work sits in the opening schedule should consult the list or speak to their Head of School or line manager who will be updated by the workstream lead for their area.

Again I must stress that even if the building you normally work in is re-opened you must not return to campus unless asked to do so. This is for a number of reasons included in a return to work process that we will be communicating with line managers. This process sets out the ways in which we are supporting staff returning to campus such as with health declarations, impact assessments and health and safety training.

The re-opening of our campus has been no mean feat and made possible by the efforts of the estates, health and safety and research workstreams who are working at pace to ensure that buildings meet the latest government guidelines around social distancing, that the movement of people around the campus can be done safely and that any new cleaning and maintenance protocols are addressed. In short we are ensuring that staff only return when it is safe.

As we progress these openings we can enable a stepping up of our essential research, much of which has continued during the lockdown, as well as facilitating priority teaching and Discover something extraordinary, our online open day experience, which launches this week.

You may have seen mention of some our research in the media over the last few months particularly Nottingham’s involvement in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, looking for new treatments and looking beyond this outbreak to identify future threats. Research facilities are being prioritised based on a number of factors including financial sustainability, research reputation, time sensitivity and supporting student qualifications. You can read more about this approach in Professor Dame Jessica Corner’s blog.

This week I hope to attend a tour to see some of the health and safety measures that have been put in place to enable our safe return and I’m encouraged by the work that has taken place alongside union representatives, more of which you can read about here. We are planning to capture some of these measures by video to share with you and give a sense of what the campus will look like when we all do return in the future.

Colleagues are also looking at how we might present a different look and feel to our campus for students arriving in September. This will be a strand of our Welcome Campaign, which will also incorporate a Welcome Back to returning students.

Looking ahead to the start of the academic term I’m reassured by a survey from Universities UK that shows our approach is in line with how other universities are intending to welcome back students, specifically that 97% of universities (including ourselves) confirmed that they will provide in-person teaching, and 89% are planning to provide in-person sporting, fitness and wellbeing activities, offering the full range of student support.

I hope this gives you an indication of where the University’s recovery pathway sits alongside the rest of the country, as well as giving you a sense of the real progress made.

As always I’m grateful for your patience, professionalism and commitment to helping our recovery.

Professor Andy Long
Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor

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