We ended last semester in unprecedented circumstances, a situation causing us to live and work in ways that were highly demanding and unusual. Never was the need for a well-earned summer holiday felt more keenly, to rest and disconnect. As we approach the start of the new academic year, I hope that the time off has allowed you and those closest to you to catch your breath and recover some degree of calm.
Unfortunately, our return to work does not spell a full return to normality, as COVID-19 remains a threat and we must act accordingly. Over the coming months and for as long as this situation persists, we will continue making every effort to coordinate the regular start of the academic year with maintenance of our excellent professional standards and the highest possible safeguards for the whole UOC community.
With this in mind, and in exercise of our university's autonomy and social responsibility, I would like to relay personally to you the Executive Board's decision to extend the policy of prioritizing e-working throughout the 2020/21 academic year. Meanwhile we will be providing workspaces at our three main buildings to ensure on-site alternatives for staff who require them, always respecting the appropriate health and safety measures. However, there will be no large-scale meetings on-site.
Naturally, if the social and health circumstances change or if the authorities introduce new regulations, we will review and update our measures. In tandem, the Executive Board is working on a longer term plan to adapt and update the ways in which we work at the UOC, details of which will soon be shared.
In the next few hours a news item will be posted on the IntraUOC offering further information on the extension to the policy of prioritizing e-working, the possibilities for working on-site and the other measures taken to facilitate your professional, teaching and research activities.
I would like to add that our commitment and quality as a team of professionals is one of the University's main strengths. This has been demonstrated time and again, in periods of change and upheaval such as the present, throughout the UOC's twenty-five year history – a celebration of this milestone is pending – and, most of all, on a daily basis in our renewed mission to make education, research and innovation key drivers of change.
I wish you all the very best for your return to work.
Josep A. Planell