I’m conscious that most of my recent updates have focused on our move to support remote working in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For those members of staff still adjusting to home working, we have put lots of information on the intranet to help support you.
However, I am very mindful of our staff whose roles do not allow for home working and who have therefore continued to turn up for work and shown the same level of commitment and dedication as always. It is thanks to you our essential operations and support for students on campus can continue.
That said, we are aware of the need to take additional measures to protect staff who are physically present, and we are doing so. For example, in residences, our residential reception processes and areas are being changed to reduce face-to-face services, and we are directing students to other means of contact, wherever possible. We are introducing social distancing measures and implementing team separation as part of a package of measures which apply to all departments.
While it can be invidious to single out individual departments or areas of work for particular mention, I do have to pay tribute to our members of clinical staff who are working in Health Boards across the country looking after patients at one of the most difficult and challenging times that our NHS has ever faced. I would just like to say to them and all members of staff, on behalf of the whole University community I am extremely grateful to you all.
As we all know from this week’s events, things are changing by the day. Yesterday, it was confirmed that schools in Wales will close from Friday. This decision will have an added impact on those members of staff with childcare responsibilities. If you are affected in this way, please do check how the University can support you. Flexibility is at the heart of our policy and you should discuss with your line manager what the options may be. You can also find more information in this regard on our updated intranet pages.
Unfortunately, the decision also means that we have had to announce a temporary closure of the University nursery whilst we consider the impact of school closures on our staff who have children and our need to remain in strict staff to child ratios. We appreciate this will cause an immediate challenge for many parents and we will be in contact early next week with further information on our service availability. I know how difficult this might be for some colleagues and we are sorry that we have had to take this step.
To support University staff who are unable to work from home during this period, or are critical to keeping the University open, we are opening our car parks. Staff who need to access to their University place of work can park. Barriers were lifted yesterday. The only exception to this will be College House car park, where staff will need to seek specific approval.
Finally, at the time of writing universities have still not been advised to close. There now appears to be an understanding that universities must continue some essential services and cannot fully be locked down given students living on many campuses and some areas of research that cannot be left unmonitored.
Of course, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and will update you as often as we can.
With best wishes,