Coronavirus update for staff on flexible and home working

Over the past few days there has been a significant rise in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK. Unfortunately, but inevitably, this has included members of our University community. We anticipate that more colleagues and students will test positive for the virus in the coming period.

The University is committed to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our staff and students. Please do not take any risks. If you feel ill and are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, please self-isolate at home and advise your line manager accordingly.

There has been concern from many colleagues about whether they should come to work at this time. This is wholly understandable. We have been taking advice from colleagues in the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research and from public health professionals within the University and have decided that we should move to introduce social distancing protocols.

Whilst some parts of the University must remain open for a variety of reasons, we are looking to substantially reduce the number of staff, across all areas, who would be required to attend the workplace. This will help to keep everybody safe. For those that do come on campus we are changing our car parking policy to free access.

We are now working out the detail of the social distancing policy and will introduce it as soon as possible – though this will take some days to finalise. We will work with the Heads of School, Directors of Institutes and Executive Directors of Professional Services on how this will apply in their individual areas, but it will cover all grades of staff, including operational colleagues.

We want to swiftly transition towards greater flexible and home working. We do understand that not everyone can work from home, so we are looking at rota arrangements that would again reduce the numbers of colleagues who have to be on campus. We are asking line managers to discuss with their teams how this can best be achieved in a way that takes account of personal circumstances while maintaining certain essential services.

Already many of us have had to adapt what we do, and over the coming period we will all have to work in different ways and undertake tasks that are not part of our normal roles. I am very grateful for the flexibility that so many people are demonstrating at this difficult time.

As confirmed in our earlier communications, the University has implemented online teaching from today, Monday 16 March, and exams scheduled for April and May will be conducted remotely. A huge amount of work is taking place to enable these major changes to happen. I want to pay tribute to the many colleagues who are working tirelessly on this, and to those who are ensuring the University is best placed to accommodate the needs of staff and students in the light of COVID-19 pandemic.

Managing the change to online teaching and assessment is far from easy. Please bear with us as we work through the challenges that we are facing. If you are experiencing any difficulties accessing the appropriate technology, please make these known to your immediate line managers; we will do our absolute best to help.

As you will have seen from previous communications, GTAs and demonstrators who would have been expected to be delivering teaching but whose classes will not now take place will still be paid for these sessions.

I would like to point you towards detailed guidance which is available on the FAQ section of the Coronavirus page on the University website and which is being updated on a regular basis.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for all that you are doing during this crisis. We are trying to provide as much relevant information to you as quickly as we possibly can. More information will follow. But do please take care of yourself and look after those around you.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

First published: 16 March 2020