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Important COVID-19 update: message from the Major Response Team

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The following message was sent from Professor Julian Park and Professor Dominik Zaum, Co-Chairs of the Major Response Team, to all colleagues at the University of Reading.

Dear colleagues,

This morning (Wednesday 11 November) the government issued guidance about their plans to allow students to safely return home for Christmas at the end of term.

We are currently working our way through the details of this so we can put the necessary plans in place and will send further information to staff and students as soon as possible. You can read the latest DfE guidance here.

The government has also announced its intention to carry out rapid mass testing of students to minimise the risk of spreading the virus once they return to their hometowns. We have already submitted an expression of interest to be involved in this testing to provide our students and wider community with reassurance about safe travel home and are currently awaiting a response. However, today's government guidance states that testing may need to be prioritised, for example, based on local infection rates. We will update you on this as soon as we can, including whether the government intends to make testing available for staff as well as students.

An update email is being sent to students today, which you can read here.

We understand that the continued uncertainty is unsettling; please rest assured that we are committed to following the government advice to keep colleagues safe and help students travel home at the end of term if they wish to do so. If you have any questions about anything related to COVID-19, remember you can call our support line on 0118 214 7813 from 9am to 5pm on weekdays and 11am to 4pm at weekends. Equally, if you receive questions from students, please direct them to the support line.

We would like to take this opportunity to, once again, thank you all for your continued hard work and resilience in the face of these ongoing challenges. You have all played a part in contributing to the student experience - through delivering teaching, research, student support, keeping our facilities working and our grounds safe, providing IT support and access to the Library, keeping our students fed with nutritious meals or serving much-needed cups of coffee, keeping our community informed, and much more. And despite all these challenges, many colleagues also continue to keep the non-COVID wheels of the University turning! We remain very grateful.

Best wishes,

Julian and Dominik

Professor Julian Park (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education and Student Experience) and Professor Dominik Zaum (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation)
Co-Chairs, University of Reading Major Response Team

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