Next Monday is a significant moment in the government’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions, as students who require access to specialist equipment are allowed to return to universities. We are set to welcome around 600 further students back to Kent, and while this is still a long way from normality, it will hopefully be a big lift for all of us to see more life returning to our campuses. I want to once again express my huge gratitude for all the careful work going on across the University to ensure our students can return safely, including those coordinating the regular testing that will support them on their return.
Next week will also see large number of children returning to school across the country, which I know will have a big impact on the many of you juggling childcare (and teaching!) with the challenges presented by working at home. I hope the transition ‘back to school’ goes safely, and brings some respite for you and your families.
With today also being University Mental Health day, we have a number of events and initiatives to support our students and I encourage you all to take a moment if you can to check in with a colleague or loved one on how they are feeling. You can also listen again to today’s Staff Webchat, which focused on the support on offer at Kent to help you look after your health and wellbeing at a time when we have all been under so much additional pressure.
Finally, as some of you may have seen this week, proposed increases in salary contributions have been put forward for those in the USS pension scheme, which would be very challenging for staff and employers alike. We are surprised and disappointed by the proposals and have written to all scheme members at Kent with more information on how we will seek to influence the national negotiation via Universities UK – we will keep affected staff updated throughout as discussions progress.
With my very best wishes to you and your families,
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President