Friday 17 April 2020

All staff email

Covid-19 update Friday 17 April

Dear colleagues,

While it may not have been a surprise, the confirmation of the three week extension to the lockdown, announced by Dominic Raab yesterday afternoon, brings home the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic and the continuing impact it will have on our lives.

Details of any exit strategy from lockdown are uncertain, but it is likely to take some time, and be both phased and cautious. We should not imagine any return to anything like normal for some time. So it’s all the more important that we look after ourselves, and each other, over the coming weeks.

Managing your wellbeing

Even if we are now getting used to being in lockdown and, for many of us, home working, please do keep engaging with the support offered on the health and wellbeing web pages. It is likely that people will still experience highs and lows, dependent on their own personal circumstances, so understanding those diverse experiences and building resilience for both individuals and teams is really important.

Plans are in place to share ideas and advice in the coming weeks about different health and wellbeing topics, primarily through the weekly Staff Digest. Topics will include mental health, financial tips, physical fitness, support for managers, and advice for carers.

Equipment support and campus arrangements

In the context of yesterday’s lockdown extension, it remains vitally important in minimising risk of spread of Covid-19 that the University continues to adhere to stay at home guidance. This means that it is important that staff do not access campus to collect items or equipment.

That said, I am aware that some colleagues have been in touch with Estates to ask for access to equipment. In response Estates have been working with teams in Health & Safety and Security to come up with a plan to manage these requests. In the first instance, staff who are requesting critical items to work from home safely, or to support teaching and research, are asked to complete this form in order to triage, prioritise requests and the outcome of that assessment will be worked through with relevant department administrators and other relevant colleagues.

IT Services are also putting in place additional laptop support because as remote working continues, it is likely that some colleagues may experience difficulties.

We have also paused collecting all monthly staff car parking permit charges from April and will review in line with any changes in Government advice. For essential and front line staff, the online parking system can be used in the usual way, but no payments will be deducted from April pay. We have also suspended all pay and display charges on our car parks, and Estates teams will continue to patrol to ensure that our campus remains safe.

Confirmation and Clearing arrangements

We also heard yesterday that A-Level results will be released, as originally planned, on Thursday 13 August, along with the expectation that Confirmation and Clearing will work on the same timelines as normal.

A Recruitment Contingency team is planning for different scenarios including the options of delivering both on- and off-campus Clearing.

Prospective students are concerned, amongst many other things, about their offers and conversion communications are being accelerated and enhanced to provide as much reassurance to offer-holders as we can and to put in place ways to welcome them into the York Community.

Following the recent success of our virtual Post Offer Visit Days - and thank you for the extraordinary effort colleagues put in to redevelop these events virtually - an additional day of conversion activity for prospective students across all departments is being planned. The recruitment team will be in touch shortly, and I urge all departments to participate. We can anticipate intense competition for well-qualified students this summer..

One for the weekend

And finally, as we approach the weekend, some light relief to share - something to challenge the mind and perhaps bring out a competitive spirit.

I’d like to invite as many of you as possible to join me in our Big York Pub Quiz on Sunday evening, as we pit our general knowledge against York alumni all over the world. Organised as part of the York Unlimited campaign, participation is free but there is also the opportunity to contribute towards funds for our Emergency Student Support Fund.

40 teams have already signed up and we’re hoping it will be the first in a series of events to enable us to stay connected to our global York community, who we know are generously giving their time, donations and insight to help us here at York, wherever they can at this time.

In this way and many others, our whole community is joining together to make every difference we can - you can read more of our stories here.

Wishing you a restful and healthy weekend, with all good wishes,


Professor Charlie Jeffery