With spring comes hope that the pandemic can be pushed back, if not because of the weather, then at least due to increased vaccination rates. In social media, photographs of people hugging each other are starting to appear and children and their grandparents can finally get close to each other because of the vaccination programme.
But it is important to remember that stricter regional restrictions are still in place. For the second year in a row, a traditional Walpurgis Night celebration with the students in the Garden Society of Gothenburg, will not take place. Current infection rates still make such events impossible.
Last week, I made a policy decision for the autumn of 2021, which regulates the planning conditions for summer and autumn and the university’s readjustments to the restrictions. A very difficult decision as, at the moment, it is only possible to hope for a lifting of restrictions but we are simply unable to know what regulations will be in place this autumn.
Therefore, we base our management on two different scenarios; one where most of the restrictions remain and one where they are eased. It is difficult to discuss return and opening plans in a scenario where stricter restrictions are still in place. But the decision emphasizes the fact that it is the university’s ambition to return to more campus-based activities as soon as circumstances allow.
In anticipation of this return, we must make the best of the situation. Let us all, employees and students, celebrate spring, in a caring, compassionate and responsible way. I understand that everyone has missed each other significantly, but please only meet in small groups with people you would normally see and with social distance observed. The city of Gothenburg has produced tips and advice on outdoor gathering and the city center’s most famous parks.
Spring is here and May is at the door. I wish everyone a nice and safe Walpurgis Night celebration!