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Fabiola Gianotti on a safe return to working on-site

The Director-General explains the rationale behind the new rules on working at CERN in a three minutes-long video

As the gradual return to working on-site continues, all those on the CERN payroll should be present at CERN for at least 50% of their working time as of 7 September. The exact percentage and modalities of on site presence will be agreed with the supervisors. The Director-General has recorded a video message explaining the rationale behind this approach, which you can watch here. The recording is in English, with English and French subtitles. You can also read the transcript of the Director-General's message below.

(Video: CERN)

Transcript of the video:

Dear colleagues and friends,

It is a pleasure for me to talk to you again as the summer period now ends, and we resume our routines with masks, physical distancing and other health and safety measures.

The past six months have shaken our world. At CERN, we are used to overcoming the unexpected and dealing with complexity. The COVID-19 pandemic has put us to the test in an unprecedented way, but we have risen to the challenge, thanks to the contribution, dedication, and flexibility of each and every one of you.

And now I'm pleased to see that the special atmosphere and feeling of community that characterise the Laboratory are returning. Throughout the different stages, since we moved into safe mode in March, we have all had to adapt our way of working. For most of us, it entailed a quick move to teleworking. For others, whose functions are essential for the continued operations of equipment and facilities, it meant being onsite full time, protected by additional safety measures.

It has not been easy. Everybody has been affected in different ways, but everyone has adapted and everyone has been working as effectively as possible. Thank you for that.

As you know, we started the gradual restart of onsite work on 18 May, based on a total commitment to the safety and wellbeing of everyone. By mid-June, we started gradually bringing back to onsite work, the colleagues who had been teleworking at a 100%, increasing the maximum number of colleagues on site by 10% every week. According to this initial plan, we will all be back on site, full time by now.

However, we face the worrying situation of increasing infection rates in the neighboring areas. It affects us all. This is why we are being more gradual in the return than what was foreseen in May. We will, therefore, now have an updated framework of telework for people on CERN's payroll that will help us continue the transition begun in June, when those teleworking could start a return to the site, albeit at a slower pace. We will continue to take particular care, of those who are vulnerable or living with somebody classed as vulnerable.

Human resources are working to find optimal solutions with dedicated telework arrangements and support structure.  So that everyone of us can return to work safely, a dedicated working group has reviewed the use of office space, hostels, cafeterias, and all common areas. All departments and experiments are therefore prepared to ensure safe workplaces for everyone.

When I look at the very low number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the CERN community, I'm reassured that we have taken and are taking the best measures possible. Of course, all of this is possible only because CERN personnel have embraced the measures put in place with high sense of responsibility, despite the challenges to the everyday work they create. I thank you very much for that.

I very much look forward to a smooth and full return to the vibrant atmosphere that is so unique to CERN and to the in-person interactions that underpin the special sense of community of our lab.