20 March 2020
Our thoughts are with every member of the LSE community as we continue to confront the unprecedented and evolving global challenges posed by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and its impact on our lives.
We extend our best wishes to those who are currently unwell or who may have lost loved ones. We also express our gratitude to all healthcare professionals, medical and social scientists and policymakers for their dedication and expertise. Indeed, the need for experts and specialists in our lives has been made abundantly clear. It is deeply reassuring to know many in the LSE community are helping at this critical time, from working and volunteering to provide healthcare, security and support for the most vulnerable, to offering crucial analysis, insight and advice to governments worldwide.
In such uncertain times, community really matters.
It especially matters in a period when we are being advised to practice social isolation. At LSE we are proud to be part of a global community, characterised by our wonderful students, staff, alumni, friends and partners. As we work through these difficult days, I have been buoyed immensely by how everyone has come together and supported one another. Staying connected through these unprecedented times is more important than ever.
Today, in the face of coronavirus, LSE has moved online to sustain our community of people and ideas. Over the last week, we have moved all of our teaching, public engagement and daily work to online platforms. I am in awe as to how quickly faculty have put learning material on line, how quickly our students are engaging with online classes, and how our researchers continue to find ways to be productive through online engagement. LSE rising to a challenge is a sight to behold!
The health and wellbeing of the entire LSE community is our primary concern
Following the latest WHO recommendations and UK government guidance, we are suspending the majority of our campus activity and all unnecessary travel, and accelerating our flexible working while providing the maximum level of support to all students and staff. In keeping with many countries, schools in the UK closed today. This will add new challenges to working parents around the world as rituals adapt and families balance home schooling and work.
For our students, we led by example by moving all teaching and assessment activity online for the remainder of the academic year. We will ensure their LSE education continues (and for some, concludes) to the highest standard. Halls of residence will remain open for those students unable to return home, and we will continue to support them in every way possible. The School’s FAQs and information are available to all and will be updated on a regular basis.
Our commitment to alumni and friends
With many of our daily interactions moving online, our sense of LSE community is more important than ever. Although we cannot, for now, come together physically on campus, and at events around the world, we can continue to meet virtually. All public and alumni-related LSE events have been postponed or cancelled and our new Alumni Centre will temporarily close its physical doors, but our core services to you will be provided remotely where possible through staff in our Philanthropy and Global Engagement Division. We will be working with our alumni leadership over the coming weeks and months to support connectivity, sharing of insight and advice and opportunities for continued learning and engagement with the intellectual life of the School.
We will look to share LSE’s wealth of engaging research and content, and enable remote access so you can capitalise on lifelong learning opportunities. We will offer this through informal programmes and resources, through the LSE Careers team’s guidance and advice, and through our Executive Education portfolio of online certificate courses. With so many of us having more time at home than we are used to, it may be a good time to learn new things.
Thank you for your support
These are obviously challenging times for the School and we are profoundly grateful for your support, especially for our current and future students.
Alumni are the finest ambassadors of, and role models for, an LSE education: every year our global alumni volunteers help LSE to welcome prospective and new students into the community through events in the UK and around the world. Similarly, our alumni groups welcome graduating students into the alumni network for the next chapter of their lifelong LSE relationship. With our Alumni Association Executive Committee and alumni group leaders we will explore together how our traditional campus offer days and worldwide Destination LSE events can be delivered virtually. As an LSE alumna, I am so proud of our alumni volunteers and appreciate your dedication and commitment to the School at every level – thank you for all that you do for our community.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the many donors and partners who are already supporting our activity in this challenging academic year and for the offers of support I have received under the circumstances. Your generosity could never be more welcome and we thank you for your incredible support at this critical time.
Shaping the future together
Since 1895, LSE’s evidence-based approach has transformed the way important decisions are made across the world. We will continue to do our part in these times to inform decisions, educate leaders and provide a forum for debate. Together we will overcome these challenges, nurture the green shoots of global recovery, and help to shape the world.
Thank you for being a part of LSE: you mean a great deal to the School. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus and to our global events at a point in time when it is safe to do so. Until we can, please stay safe, and stay connected.
With our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones,
Dame Minouche Shafik