Coronavirus: Oxford University to roll out recruitment freeze

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Oxford University employs about 15,000 people and is the biggest employer in Oxfordshire

Oxford University will introduce a recruitment freeze and redeploy staff, as part of dealing with financial uncertainty caused by coronavirus.

In a staff email, vice-chancellor Prof Louise Richardson said it will use the government's furlough scheme for some workers.

Planned building projects will be designed but then costs "reviewed in light of the new financial reality".

The university currently employs about 15,000 people.

Prof Richardson acknowledged the plans - introduced for an initial 12 months - "will be disappointing for some and will require the postponement of long-held plans".

But she warned "they may not suffice to address the scale of the challenge we face".

Staff will be furloughed on full pay if they have caring responsibilities or because of the nature of their jobs.

They include those working in university facilities that have been closed by coronavirus such as its libraries and museums.

Prof Richardson added: "We can be confident that with careful planning and by working together, we will make our way through this crisis and emerge with a university even better placed to pursue our mission of research, teaching and contributing to the world around us."

Its Trinity term, the final of the current academic year, is set to start on Sunday.

Prof Richardson said it will be "unlike any other". Most students will remain at home after leaving Oxford for the Easter break in March.

On Monday, the university published its "safety net policy" that is designed to reduce the risk of students taking remote assessment from being disadvantaged by the outbreak.

A spokeswoman said: "It is designed to ensure students can be assessed in a rigorous way while taking into account Oxford's diverse assessment arrangements, students' various living circumstances, and the general impact of the pandemic."

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