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COVID-19: a note from Nigel Portwood, CEO, Oxford University Press

COVID-19: a note from Nigel Portwood, CEO, Oxford University Press

25 March 2020

The global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is transforming our world at an unprecedented and extraordinary rate. At the beginning of 2020, we could never have anticipated that we would be faced with a global health crisis of this scale, leading cities and countries to lockdown, and forcing many of us to adopt new ways of living and working.
At Oxford University Press, we have been monitoring developments around the coronavirus closely, so that we can respond in a way that best meets the needs of our employees, and the communities that we serve.

As institutions all over the world are forced to close their doors for the foreseeable future, the need for high-quality, accessible, education and research materials and services is greater than ever. I am proud to say that since the spread of the virus began, teams across OUP have been working hard to identify ways to carry on meeting the needs of our customers and learners in this period of disruption. Whether it’s providing free access to resources on the coronavirus to researchers and medical professionals; offering free access to our education platforms; supporting professional development for teachers; or sharing guidance on home learning, we hope these valuable resources will go some way towards helping our communities during these challenging times. You can find a full list of everything we are offering here.

Internally, we have also taken numerous steps at both a local and a global level, to protect our 6,000 employees. All of our employees have been encouraged to work from home if they can—a significant shift to which we are successfully, and quickly, adapting. I am grateful to our customers for their patience, and their ongoing support during this time, and of course to everyone who works at OUP for their resilience and unwavering commitment to our mission.

I also wish to highlight the impressive work of my colleagues at Oxford University. Just last week, it was announced that scientists from the Engineering Science Department and the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR) have developed rapid testing technology for COVID-19, which could offer test results in half an hour—three times faster than previous tests. Promisingly, the Jenner Institute also revealed that it is preparing to trial a potential coronavirus vaccine in late spring.

None of us can see how long we will be living with this uncertainty and unease, nor can we predict what the world will look like as and when we slowly start to return to normality. However, I can say with some certainty that I and my colleagues at OUP will continue to do everything we can to create the highest quality academic and educational resources and services, to support education and research worldwide.

Wishing everyone the very best and I hope that you continue to remain safe.