In this blog post, I want to share an update on how the Raspberry Pi Foundation is responding to the novel coronavirus and what it means for our work to support people all over the planet to change their world through technology.
The situation is changing rapidly, and we’ll update this blog as our response develops.
Follow local public health advice
The main guidance to our teams, partners, and community members is that they should follow the local public health advice in the country or region where they are based.
The spread of the virus is at different stages in different parts of the world. That’s one reason why the public health advice differs so much depending on where you are. This is a new threat and there are competing theories about the best course of action. We see that in the different approaches that are being taken by different governments around the world.
To state what I am sure is obvious, we aren’t epidemiologists or public health experts. That’s why our approach is to follow the local public health advice.
Changes to our schedule of events
We’ve been working closely with venues, partners, sponsors, and community members to keep our programme of events under review. There aren’t currently any restrictions on events that affect the specific dates and places where our events are being held. The problem really is one of uncertainty.
Until now, we’ve taken a ‘wait and see’ approach for events, following the local public health guidance closely and working on the assumption that we will go ahead as planned, unless the local advice is to cancel. However, over the past couple of days, we have become increasingly concerned that we are asking people to book travel and make practical arrangements when we think that there is a high likelihood that we will have to cancel events at the last minute.
We have therefore taken a number of very difficult decisions about our events programme.
Cambridge Computing Education Research Symposium, 1 April 2020
We have decided to hold the Research Symposium as an online-only event. Plans for this are well developed, and we are looking forward to bringing together an amazing community of researchers, academics, and practitioners to discuss cutting-edge research on how young people learn computing and computer science. Registration remains open and we will provide updates on the event via the symposium web page.
Coolest Projects UK, 4 April 2020 in Manchester, and Coolest Projects International, 6 June 2020 in Dublin
We have decided to cancel both upcoming Coolest Projects events. This was a really tough decision. In both cases, there is just too much uncertainty for us to continue to ask young people, parents, mentors, and volunteers to make travel and other arrangements. We are exploring options for providing an online experience that will enable the young creators to still showcase their amazing projects, so please don’t stop work on your project. We will provide further updates on the Coolest Projects website.
Clubs and community-led events
We have issued guidance to the tens of thousands of brilliant human beings that organise Code Clubs, CoderDojos, Raspberry Jams, and other community-led events all over the world. Our message is that they should follow the local public health advice in their country or region and take decisions on whether to cancel their club or event in consultation with the venues that host them. If you are a club leader or an event organiser and you have a concern, please contact us in the usual way, or email us at [email protected]
We are working with community members and partners to increase our support for online learning, and we’ll say more about this soon. For now, clubs (and everyone else) can access all of our free learning resources online as usual.
Raspberry Pi computers
As a organisation with a global supply chain that makes and sells products all over the world, we have been working with our partners to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the availability of our products, and on the wellbeing of those involved in our supply chain and distribution network. At this stage, I am delighted to report that Raspberry Pi products are still available in all of the usual places and we’re working very hard to make sure that this continues.
We have implemented a range of actions to support our colleagues wherever they work. This has included restricting non-essential international travel, encouraging and supporting flexible and home working, improving the cleaning and hygiene facilities at our offices, and putting in place extra support for colleagues who have increased caring responsibilities because of government or other institutions taking actions to control the spread of the virus, like school closures.
We are following local public health guidance on self-isolation and, for anyone who is unwell, we will provide sick pay as normal. We have committed that none of our employees will be out of pocket because of actions we take to prevent the spread of the virus.
We have encouraged colleagues to consider moving face to face meetings online, including job interviews. So if you’re due to meet anyone at the Foundation, they’ll check in with you about your preferences and agree the best approach with you.
Look out for each other
One of the best things about Raspberry Pi is the amazing community that we have the privilege to work with everyday. That includes our teams, partners and funders, educators, volunteers, businesses, and millions of incredible young digital makers.
Whatever happens over the coming days, weeks, and months, it feels increasingly likely that everyone in this community will be affected in some way. Hopefully, for most people that will be nothing more than being inconvenienced.
Personally, I am finding the uncertainty one of the hardest things to deal with. I’ve really appreciated all of the messages of support and offers of help that I’ve received over the past few days. This has always been an organisation and a community where people genuinely care about and support each other. Let’s all double down on that now.
CEO Raspberry Pi Foundation