It is strange to think that we are only days into the pandemic and yet our world has changed almost beyond recognition. And whilst our immediate focus has been on the day-to-day issues of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those under our direct care at the RVC, we are mindful that the wider RVC community is suffering hardship and challenges in both personal and professional life. I can assure you that our alumni have been very much in our thoughts.
The difficulties of maintaining social fabric when we are required to be physically distanced are many, not least because it is almost the antithesis of the human condition and, however good our IT and social media skills might be, they will never replace that need for face-to-face interactions. At the other end of the isolation spectrum are those who are confined with others in situations that may be cramped or stressful. At the RVC we have been trying to help everybody attend to their wellbeing with advice on exercise, other pastimes and healthy connectivity at the same time as providing as much structure and support as we can whilst collectively translating our activities to the digital environment.
Most of our staff are now working from home, all of our students are now off campus except for those in our Halls unable to return home, all of our students on placement are relieved of obligation thanks to the RCVS, and with our essential staff and bolstered security, we strive to continue working as close to normally as we can.
With our campuses very quiet, our lecture theatres empty, laboratories on maintenance and even the QMHA now starting to slow with emergency and urgent care only cases, we are seeking ways in which we can support our broader community.
- We have created a register of staff able to offer research and laboratory skills to the COVID-19 research and clinical efforts - these people are now being deployed.
- RVC equipment that can be offered to the NHS is logged, and already being supplied, through a central Government plan.
- Our telemedicine provision is providing veterinary care to our clients and assisting referring vets.
- And a number of ad hoc yet important initiatives are in place to support those around us.
Specifically, with regard to our alumni, we are planning on mounting a programme of free-to-use webinars – more information to come! Our planned Impact Report will be extended to bring you some recent developments and happier news – a kind of mini summer version of Eclipse - and we have our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked-in profiles to keep you appraised on the fly.
So, wherever you find yourself, and whatever your immediate circumstances, I want you to know that you are in our thoughts. We will do all that we can to keep engaged with you and, when the danger resolves, do anything we can to get us all back and functioning again.
With all best wishes to you and yours,
For those of you who wish to know more about the specific actions we have been taking and to access something of a running blog on the RVC’s response, please visit https://www.rvc.ac.uk/about/the-rvc/coronavirus-covid-19-faqs