A brief message to staff and students from the Vice-Chancellor about the current situation of uncertainty around students’ return.
Planning for next term continues across the University and colleges in a context of continuing uncertainty.
My message today, however, is simple: we are not in the clear yet. I said last week that we hope to welcome back as many students as possible in the Easter term. This, however, will depend entirely on what is allowed by the government. I understand that the current restrictions will not be reviewed before the first week of April, and possibly later. Even then, we cannot assume that all university students will be allowed to return.
We are all hoping for good news, and seeking signs of better days. The much kinder weather inevitably conjures thoughts of spring and even – dare I say it? – summer. Until the government has confirmed the new arrangements, however, we must continue to operate within the strictures of current government advice. The University’s COVID Gold Team has confirmed that no in-person Congregations will take place in April and May. Congregations happening in June and beyond are still under consideration, although in modified form. Large group gatherings, such as May Balls, are unlikely to be possible.
Like all of you, I am frustrated by the continuing constraints on our lives. However, if we are to avoid more prolonged lockdowns – and if we want to successfully return to the rich and stimulating life of our collegiate University – it is essential that we do not let down our guard at this critical moment.
Professor Stephen J Toope