Dear Skoltech community,
First of all, I would like to inform you that I am still alive, and so is our whole management team. As of today, we have only three people down with coronavirus and, luckily, with no grave effects.
Dear friends, 75 years ago the World celebrated the biggest victory over what many consider the most despicable situation. Please take a pause and honor the many brave people who fought so hard to defend our freedom of thought and liberty for all. Since that time, we have had great power, peace, unparalleled fortune, and scientific advancements in the service of humanity. Skoltech is built on similar premises and aims to shape the modern future of a leading graduate science and engineering institution.
Yet, we, as a Skoltech community, are facing great difficulty adjusting to a new reality where everyone has to change their ways of work and collaboration. Collectively, this will be a test of character, courage and mental strength, but I do believe that we will overcome the challenge if we continue to operate as a unified team. Already, there are several instances of the Skoltech community coming together to collaborate and work productively to achieve common goals and to progress. In the next few weeks, we will see the delivery of Term 4 courses, all conducted online! We will also witness successful pre-defenses and defenses of our Master’s and PhD students in the next two months. Skoltech has done a tremendous job finding the right solutions for our work to continue smoothly and effectively.
Yet, we should remember that we have not been (and will not be) given a break on our KPI requirements that we must fulfill by all means. This is vital for each of us – take my word for it.
As regards the practicalities, I confirm that Skoltech management are open to considering motivated requests and suggestions from employees willing to gain access to the Skoltech Campus. We will support any activity which can reasonably contribute to a meaningful and tangible result that we need now more than ever.
Soon we will look at how to shape and resume Skoltech’s operations in a more normal mode while following the current rigorous requirements (masks, gloves, social distancing and self-discipline).
Keith Stevenson, our Provost and Chairman of the Skoltech COVID operations working committee, will announce a plan and guidelines for returning to the regular working mode. Skoltech has been fortunate in that it has acted quickly and efficiently to ensure the safety of its students and employees. Several positive lessons have been learned from this process that show Skoltech is an agile community that looks out for the safety and well-being of its people.
Humans are social creatures and we have learned this simple truth the hard way, by working in self-isolation for many weeks. Zoom has proved to be an excellent versatile tool but, if used for a long time, it falls far short of person-to-person communication in research, learning and administration alike. Skoltech will find additional ways to help its community to interact and communicate during this time of uncertainty. In the short term, I am asking that you remain patient and focus on the health, safety and well-being of your loved ones. We will persevere and grow much stronger as a unified community.