13 March 2020 - Important information for all attending ucisa20 Leadership Conference 18-20 March, Manchester

Dear colleagues,

You will undoubtedly all be aware of the current situation regarding coronavirus. Now that the virus is having an impact in the UK, we have been monitoring the official advice very closely, as there may be changes at short notice. At the time of writing, after the Cobra meeting on Thursday 12th March, official guidance is that it is safe to both run and attend events of this nature and so the ucisa20 will go ahead.

We understand the pressure that IT colleagues at all levels are under at present as all institutions and our corporate colleagues plan the responses for their respective organisations. CIOs and IT Directors in particular are at the heart of the sector’s response to the current coronavirus contingency planning and carry huge responsibility for ensuring that the largely digital solutions that provide the backbone of most contingency plans are robust and sustainable.

We do therefore understand that many of our senior HE/FE delegates may be unable to take time away from their institutions at this time and will freely accept any delegate that you may send in your place. Likewise, if you can only attend for one day of conference instead of the full period, we will completely understand and be glad to welcome you.

All our venues are continuing to monitor and follow advice from the advice from the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England . Our main venue, Manchester Central, has installed signage in all toilets and digital screens across the venue advising staff and visitors on the importance of maintaining good hand and personal hygiene and added sanitising stations (bacterial gel) with dispensers are being made available around the venue to supplement the hand cleaning products in all toilet facilities. Their onsite first aid team have been fully briefed and have plans in place to deal with anyone reporting symptoms or who believes they may have been in contact with the virus.

If you are affected by any of the PHE advice recommending self-isolation, we would ask you not to attend the conference. This advice may change at short notice so please follow the embedded links for the up to date position before making your decision.

We are sure you will share our concern for the wellbeing of all our conference colleagues and thank you in anticipation of your co-operation with this request. If you will not be attending conference as a result of this request, please contact events@ucisa.ac.uk in the first instance.

We have also been asked by members to suggest that we all agree that, on this occasion, we will not shake hands at conference. This will save us all from any embarrassment as we will all follow the same protocol.

We wish you all an enjoyable and healthy ucisa20 and look forward to welcoming you in Manchester.

With Best Wishes

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Deborah Green Drew Cook

CEO ucisa Chair ucisa