Coronavirus (COVID-19): Statement from the Master
As you have probably heard, the University has declared that it is moving the status of its crisis response to RED, which basically means that the advice to students at every level is that they should leave Cambridge; most of the University estate will be closed down, and we are not expecting anything to reopen for next term. All departmental research is closing down by the end of this week, except for work of national importance (which will in no case involve student input).
We have already written to all students, postgraduate and undergraduate, informing them of the clear advice to return home, while repeating that no-one will be forced out of College accommodation; and we have undertaken to communicate further with them about rent-related issues.
One of the main practical implications is that we shall definitely be moving towards online teaching and examining. The University and the College are currently working out details of the arrangements we shall need to make. The College’s senior officers are consulting regularly via video link and you can view some of our communications on the website.
We are advising, with a very heavy heart, that no-one should visit the College until further notice, and all events in College are now cancelled until the end of the academic term. We are so sorry not to be able to engage with the wider Magdalene community in the way we usually do and we shall miss those whose forthcoming reunions have had to be postponed.
The decision by the University is a drastic step, and the consequential decisions we have had to make are a matter for deep sadness, but all this does at least allow us to plan systematically for a period in which we must learn to work differently. Our priority is to make sure that these new ways of working still give the best possible opportunities to our students at every level.
This is a stressful time for everyone involved in the College’s life, and I am deeply appreciative of the generous co-operation that has been shown by all here. I know we can also count on your understanding and continued support in this unprecedented crisis. We shall do our best to keep you all informed as matters develop, and meanwhile send our sincere wishes for your safety and well-being.
Dr Rowan Williams
Master of Magdalene