Statement from our President and Vice-Chancellor

Today we enter our second national lockdown in what has already been a tumultuous year. I do not underestimate the impact this will have on everyone and I wanted to express my support during these uncertain times.

The reason we are going into national lockdown is for the public good – a mission that is at the core of what we stand for as a University – and we should all continue to support one another during this time.

I fully recognise the many challenges this lockdown brings – for staff and students and their loved ones. This lockdown will impact communities in different ways and I am particularly conscious that both Diwali and Remembrance falls within this period. How we remember and celebrate will need to be very different this year and I do hope you are able to find alternatives ways to recognise these events in the most appropriate way.

Our students form a key part of our community and I’d like to thank you for continuing to support them. This is the spirt of Leicester – one of courage, kindness and collective responsibility. Staff have rallied to help students in numerous ways, including the provision of our blended learning approach Ignite, which has been well received by the students. Our Residential Life, Student Support Services and wider Estates and Campus Services teams have gone above and beyond in supporting students and I have received a wealth of positive feedback from students and parents during this period. Unlike the last lockdown when students were instructed to return home, this time the Government advice is very clear and students are advised to remain on campus and not return home until Christmas. So, let us be there for them and provide them with the best supportive environment during this time.

Whatever our circumstances, being able to reach out to colleagues acts as a safety net. Some of our staff may be feeling anxious, have caring responsibilities or are living with vulnerable individuals. The lack of access to a wider network of friends and family can be particularly debilitating and I would hope the Leicester family can be of some support.

In addition, we have a range of measures in place to support you. These include the Staff Health and Wellbeing Support Toolkit, which has a range of resources available. We are also continuing our digital wellbeing approach. As a reminder this includes: Microsoft Teams meetings to begin on the hour and run for 50 minutes allowing 10 minutes in between meetings. No emails before 8am or after 5pm and none at the weekend (unless working an event/activity ie an open day) and Microsoft Teams-free Friday afternoons. Taking some of these small actions can have a big impact on your health and wellbeing.

I am confident that we can get through this difficult period and come out stronger to deliver on our mission. Please take care and stay safe.

Nishan Canagarajah
President and Vice-Chancellor