A year ago we went into lockdown. We knew so little about Covid19 then, and thought we would all be ‘back to normal’ in a few months’ time. It hasn’t worked out quite like that.
This year has been a time of loss and grief. It has been a time for gratitude, especially to all the healthcare and frontline workers who have cared for the sick and kept the daily necessities of life going. It has been a time for pride in the work of scientists – including, notably, here in Oxford – who have created vaccines faster than ever before. For some, it has been a time for juggling multiple responsibilities, especially for all those who have continued with their college work or their degrees while also taking on home schooling or other caring responsibilities: thank you to all those in our community who have managed this so remarkably. It has been a time for inventiveness and resilience, which I have seen in abundance amongst all of our college members and friends, as we have together found creative ways of engaging in community life, teaching and learning, and academic exchange, while physically distanced. It’s also been a time for kindness and mutual forbearance, knowing that none of this is easy for anyone.
The Vice-Chancellor wrote to everybody in the university at the end of this Hilary Term and said “Our two guiding principles this past year have been to protect the health of our staff and students and to protect our mission of research and teaching.” That is true for college life as well as university life, and I congratulate all of our fellows, staff and students on managing that so well at HMC. Thank you!