Now that the Easter holidays are here again, we can look forward to even brighter days, warmer sun, and some long-awaited holidays. I hope you can enjoy some well-deserved days off with family, friends, outdoor activities, and rest.
The coronavirus epidemic has halted most of the experimental research and turned upside down teaching and meeting activities. It has been a tough and brutal exercise, but I think we have also learned a lot that we will take with us after the epidemic is over. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your constructive attitude and effort in meeting the enormous challenges we have had since March 12 at 6 pm. I am really proud of the K2.
On April 8, the government will announce possible changes in restrictions on schools and universities. The university now operates with 6 phases where phase 0 is where we are now and phase 5 is regular activity. If there will be any ease of restrictions for the universities, UiB wants this to happen gradually and slowly. We have mapped research and teaching activities that may fit with what the university calls phases 1 and 2, which seem most realistic in the first place. The research groups have been given the challenge of suggesting a limited number of projects. I have reviewed these, and based on central guidelines, selected those that seem most critical to get started and gain acceptance for. An application has been sent to the faculty for exemptions from the current limitations for these projects. Unfortunately, the deadline for this review was extremely short, and I thank the research team leaders and researchers for responding so quickly and constructively.
For many Norwegians, Easter means spending the holidays skiing in the mountains, boating, or travelling abroad. This will be different this year with a ban on travel and spending the night in the cabin in municipalities other than one´s place of residence and advice on reduced activity at sea. Prime Minister Erna Solberg says it is not a terribly great sacrifice to stay home, and although Norwegians are concerned about their own freedom and independence, this is the time to show unity. I really agree with her. Take the short trips instead of the long ones right now. Emergency preparedness in the mountain areas should be used for those who live there. Keep your distance – by exposing ourselves to infection, we can infect others who cannot tolerate it – here we must all take responsibility for our community at large. Also keep in mind those who are alone for various reasons. The holiday itself can be a difficult time for them, and the coronavirus epidemic can add a new kind of loneliness to being alone. Make a phone call, meet on the streets only at a distance, arrange Skype / Zoom / Facetime meetings with chat, contests and more. Only the imagination sets the limits, we have all seen the video clips that go viral at the moment.
Wishing a happy Easter holiday to all of you. Take care of yourself, your loved ones, and also those who are not the closest!