Dear friends and Alumni
These are extra-ordinary times and I believe the staff and students of our Faculty and our partner NHS Trusts have reacted in an extra-ordinary manner. We are on track to complete this academic year; students will complete their studies and take their end of year assessments, we will continue to perform exceptional research and we will stay together as a community. I cannot thank everyone enough for their fortitude, their resilience and their commitment to continuing our work in circumstances never experienced previously.
We are now looking forward to the next academic year and, importantly the preparatory work we will need to do over the summer to ensure we continue to deliver to the very best of our abilities. Throughout, we are hoping for the best but planning for the worst. In terms of clinical education, we recognise this may be a continuing challenge until we are absolutely confident we can operate in an environment that is safe for our students, staff and patients.
We may need to adjust the density of occupation of clinics to meet with social distancing requirements and because of this we may introduce extended days. We will also adopt a far greater reliance on simulation until such time that we are able to return to the normal levels of clinical activity. For that reason, we are developing enhanced facilities for dental simulation through both low fidelity and high fidelity installations. We already had plans for this new educational initiative to enhance our teaching, but for affordability reasons, this was originally planned on a phased basis over the next 12-36 months. We now realise now that we cannot wait that long!
This represents a significant investment in clinical teaching and graduate outcomes, alongside our efforts to retain our global no. 1 position. While the College has agreed to assist with this cost, we will not be doing this alone. We will look to build philanthropic partnerships to realise these enhanced clinical facilities faster and better. Through this we will be able to provide the absolutely finest facilities for all our clinical students, help mitigate the effects of this pandemic in the short and medium term, and longer term retain our top global position.
I do hope my next communication to you will be at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is no longer at such a critical stage and that we have a greater level of certainty about the future. In the meantime, please stay well, stay positive and stay confident of the future.
Professor Mike Curtis
Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences
King’s College London