Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Happy New Year everyone - hope you had a good break and are all set to face whatever 2010 throws at us. It won't be lots more funding - that's for sure!
Last year we had an exciting return to work after the winter break with not one but two power cuts - one to our data centre and one the next day to our offices. This year I was hoping for a more gentle return to normal work, without any surprises. So what did we get - snow! Lots of it. Enough to have the buses off the road, and the trams disrupted (although they didn't stop running). Roads were very difficult to drive on, especially as Sheffield is not known for its flatness, and many people commute from small villages in the Peak District. But - we managed fantastically. Many people made it in - some walking many miles to get here, others worked from home. The University stayed open, although staff with a long way to travel were sent home early. All of our services including remote access via the portal held up well. The Information Commons stayed open 24*7 and had 500 students in at 5pm - many of them making good use of the free heating I suspect!
Today a small incident team had a review of how we'd managed, and reviewed our plans - particularly those for closing the University in the case of adverse weather. I spent some of today looking at the implications of closing and what might trigger it - personal safety of staff and students being the key driver. Of course, the University never really closes - security and portering staff work 24*7, as do staff looking after students in the residences. We have staff constantly monitoring and fixing systems, and the IC never closes. So maybe we shouldn't refer to it as closure, but switching to "out of hours" mode.