Coronavirus update - Message from the Vice-Chancellor to staff 16/03/2020
I am writing with an important update on our contingency planning for Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the University.
All of our decisions to date have been made with the safety of our students, staff and the wider community at the forefront of our mind.
Today, we are looking at the way we work and a move to support remote learning and teaching, where possible.
The University will remain open, but we will work in a different way.
The measures are precautionary, are not a cause for alarm, and are based on our commitment to help keep our community safe and limit potential exposure to Coronavirus.
We will be updating the staff Coronavirus intranet page with further guidance shortly. Guidance will include key consideration of staff potentially working from home and team separation arrangements.
For staff with specific concerns regarding any underlying health conditions, or someone close to you, please speak to your line manager to discuss the options available.
Should you have wider concerns regarding Coronavirus, please also discuss these with your line manager. Your line manager will consider any potential changes to your role, if they consider such changes to be required/appropriate.
Remote working: Professional Services
In our regular contingency meetings, we have been planning for business continuity should the need to move to remote working arise in future.
We appreciate the idea of remote working will be new for some people.
We would encourage you to speak to your line manager about the practicalities of working at home and ensuring your area of work can continue should this become necessary over the coming weeks.
Further advice on working remotely can be found on the staff intranet Coronavirus information page.
Remote working: Academic staff
Yesterday, I wrote to all Heads of Schools to outline our plan to move to remote learning and teaching, where possible.
From today (Monday 16 March 2020) we are phasing out face-to-face teaching as fast as possible, with almost all content covered remotely by the end of this week - Friday 20 March 2020.
Our students are being informed of this development today.
I am extremely grateful to all colleagues for their continued patience and hard work in making this happen. Your School will be in touch shortly with more information on how we can move our teaching, learning and assessments online.
Given the current uncertainty around large gatherings we have taken the decision to postpone our forthcoming Postgraduate and Undergraduate Open Days. Given the current uncertainty involving travel we would encourage anyone who had events to review and consider the best way forward for your event.
More information will become available as we work this through.
Supporting our NHS
We recognise that our clinical staff could be crucial in supporting the wider effort to tackle Coronavirus.
The University plays a crucial role in providing the next generation of doctors, nurses and other allied healthcare professionals.
Some of our staff are rightly concerned that they could increase the risk to themselves and patients – especially those near or in a clinical setting. Anyone who is concerned can speak to their School or their most appropriate NHS point of contact.
This is a constantly changing picture and we will do everything we can to keep you updated.
At this stage, I want to thank you all for your understanding.
This is a difficult and challenging time for us all, and we are faced with a unique situation.
We have never had to function in this manner University-wide. It is unprecedented. We are hugely proud of the professionalism of our staff and now, more than ever, we need to draw on your talents as we ask you to change the way you deliver your teaching, learning, and Professional Services.
Our move to online teaching delivery and remote working is designed to reduce the immediate risk of infection to yourself, our students and our wider community.
Staff and students will still be supported in libraries, halls of residence, catering, and sport facilities.
However, it does mean that we may have to change the way that we deliver these services.
We will continue to monitor advice from Public Health Wales and the government and take any further necessary steps.
This is a fast-changing situation, and I would encourage all of you to regularly check the Coronavirus guidance on the intranet and speak to your line manager.
If you need any further support you can contact our Employee Assistance Programme (Care First) which is a free confidential helpline and support for staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The staff Coronavirus intranet pages contain all this information and I’d encourage you to visit them daily.
We are closely monitoring the situation to ensure the safety and welfare of our staff and students.