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Queen Mary community share experiences of returning to campus

Lockdown measures in the UK have started to ease enabling the Queen Mary community to return back to work as our campuses gradually reopen in preparation for the new academic year. 

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Security Officer Shahzad Noorshargh
Security Officer Shahzad Noorshargh

With strict social distancing measures in place to ensure the welfare of everyone on campus, our staff have shared their stories of life at Queen Mary during and after lockdown.  

Keeping Queen Mary secure 

While lot of staff are returning to campus for the first time in months, some have been doing brilliant work to keep Queen Mary open during lockdown. Shahzad Noorshargh has worked as a Security Officer at Queen Mary for 18 years and is looking forward to welcoming the students back. 

He said: There’s a real community spirit here, that you won’t find in many other places. I also really miss the noise of our students and the banter that I had with them, even if it was to tell them off for playing football in Library Square! 

I’ve enjoyed making sure everything’s in order on campus, for when we can finally welcome our staff and students back – I hope we get to do this soon. I know we won’t return to how we were any time soon, especially with social distancing, but it’s encouraging to know that places are slowly opening back up and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

Looking after the kids 

The Westfield Nursery, on Mile End campus, reopened its doors to care for the children of staff on 8 June. The nursery had to adapt its ways of working and put precautions in place to protect staff, the children and their parents. 

Early Years Manager Linda Happe said: “The reopening of the nursery was a scary prospect, and being the first service to begin operations when we had been in lockdown for many months was a huge responsibility.  

We are now in our third week and we have had to tweak some of our procedures like staggering staff collecting their bags at the end of the day. I would just like to say a huge thank you to all my staff, who have been amazing during this time, and to those other campus services who have pulled together and enabled us to open our doors to our children and their families and welcome them back. 

Getting back in the lab 

Gianmichele Massimo working in his laboratory
Gianmichele Massimo working in his laboratory

Queen Mary has reopened the majority of its laboratories to enable staff and students to carry out their world-leading research. 

Gianmichele Massimo is a Postdoctoral Research Associate within the department of Clinical Pharmacology, part of the William Harvey Research Institute.  

He said: “For me coming back to work was a huge relief as I had my normal life back. I love my job and what I do daily in terms of working in the lab, so being in front of the computer for eight weeks, writing, reading, and studying without doing any lab activity was very painful. 

As a scientist I am really looking forward to sharing my life within the lab with my colleagues, interacting with them, solving problems together, and having a face to face conversation with them. For us it’s crucial to interact every day of our life, because as a team we help and support each other in solving problems and discussing science. 

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