Coronavirus information for students
Updated 19 February 2020: We can confirm that the coronavirus test result that we have been expecting has come back negative.
Information and guidance
On 13 February, we confirmed that the coronavirus test result that we had been expecting had come back negative. Obviously, we are very pleased for the individual concerned and we are very grateful to them for letting us know the outcome of their test.
We are acutely aware of the level of concern about the risks from coronavirus and we are liaising with Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS, and closely following official advice.
The University is committed to informing our community if there are any positive cases in the future, in partnership with the relevant authorities. In making this commitment, we are aware of the enormous workload for the NHS and PHE in processing these tests. As of 18 February, a total of 4,916 people have been tested, of which 4,907 were confirmed negative and 9 positive. We would ask our community to note that some test results are not coming back within the anticipated 72 hours and the University does not have any control over this.
Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty has shared a statement. If more cases are confirmed in the UK, it will be announced as soon as possible by the Chief Medical Officer of the affected country.
There are no positive tests for coronavirus for any member of our community.
The health and safety of our staff, students, visitors and the wider community is our top priority.
Anyone concerned about their health in relation to coronavirus should follow PHE guidance and contact NHS 111 if the guidance advises them to do so.
The information below aims to offer you advice and guidance and is based on the current guidance issued by Public Health England (PHE).
The situation is subject to change and we are monitoring the guidance regularly to ensure that our arrangements remain consistent with expert advice. If this guidance changes then we will update our advice accordingly.
On 17 February the UK Government published new immigration guidance for individuals in the UK who are unable to return to China.
National advice and guidance
Visit .gov.uk for information on the outbreak of coronavirus in China, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms.
NHS information on coronavirus has advice for travellers and information on the virus and its symptoms.
University advice and guidance
What are the symptoms?
Based on current evidence, novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.
What is the risk?
PHE has increased the national risk from low to moderate, but the risk to individuals remains low. There is a greater risk of complications in people who have pre-existing long-term health conditions.
What steps can I take to protect myself?
The advice from PHE is that people should continue with their normal activities. PHE also reminds people to follow good hand hygiene and standard infection control guidelines“Catch it, Bin it, Kill it”.
If you have any immediate health concerns, please contact NHS 111.
Should I still attend classes?
Yes. You should continue to attend classes unless you fall under the two categories of individuals who PHE are advising to self-isolate. See more on attending University.
What should I do if I have recently travelled from or via China or other specified countries?
The current advice from PHE is that anyone who has visited Wuhan city or Hubei province should self-isolate for 14 days after leaving the city.
If you have travelled from Mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and are experiencing a cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should self-isolate , even if your symptoms are mild.
If you are advised to self-isolate, please Contact Security then call NHS 111. Security can be reached on:
666 (from an internal landline)
01225 383999 from a mobile
Self-isolation is about taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like you would with other flu viruses. This means remaining at home for 14 days and not going into public areas.
Where possible, you should avoid having visitors to your home, but it’s ok for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.
For more information about self-isolation see the NHS Coronavirus web page.
What should I do if I have symptoms but have not travelled to China or the specified countries or been in contact with anyone who has?
You should follow the normal guidance for treating coughs, colds and flu. This includes:
staying away from work until your symptoms have eased
getting plenty of rest and sleep
taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration
If you are pregnant or have a long-term underlying health condition or a weakened immune system then you should contact the NHS non-emergency helpline 111 for advice. You should also contact this number if your symptoms do not improve after seven days.
What support is the University providing for students in self-isolation?
We will do all we can to support you and your learning during this difficult time. Security will ensure that you have access to appropriate practical support throughout.
As far as is possible, all your lectures will be recorded and accessible, and relevant notes and materials will be uploaded to Moodle. Your lecturers and personal tutor will also reply promptly to any specific requests for academic support.
If you are advised to self-isolate, please contact Security then call NHS 111. Security can be reached on:
- 666 (from an internal landline)
- 01225 383999 from a mobile
Please also contact your Director of Studies / Teaching, Personal Tutor or supervisor to tell them you will be absent. This should be done by email or by phone.
Please contact Student Services by calling 01225 383838 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not visit, we will arrange for support to be provided. Help is also available from the SU’s Advice and Support Centre.
I suffer from a long-term underlying health condition. Should I stay away from my studies?
The current advice from PHE is that this should not be necessary. However, we understand that people may be concerned, and they may want to discuss study arrangements, please contact your personal tutor or Student Services by calling 01225 383838 or emailing email@example.com.
Should I wear a face mask?
The advice we have is that there is little evidence to indicate that wearing a face mask provides any additional effective protection. However, it is a personal choice and we would encourage all members of our community to be supportive of the choices people make in this regard.
Is the University open as normal?
The University is open as normal. Teaching, research, work and all other activities are running as usual.
Will exams and assessments be affected?
We do not anticipate any changes to planned exams or assessments at this time. If you are concerned that you may be unable to participate in exams or assessments or have concerns that your performance may be affected then please follow the University’s Individual Mitigating Circumstances procedures, requests will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
How will this affect International students with Tier 4 visas?
If you are a Tier 4 visa holder and are required to be absent from studies, please submit an authorised absence request through SAMIS online so that the Student Immigration Service is aware of your situation. Please note that this will not negatively affect your attendance record. If you have any concerns regarding your immigration status please contact the Student Immigration Service.
What action is the University taking?
We have followed all PHE advice and guidance and are communicating regularly with our staff and students.
The University’s Emergency Management Team is meeting daily to ensure that we have appropriate procedures and arrangements in place. This group is made up of key leads from across the University and the students’ union and is in regular contact with PHE, the NHS and key officers in the local authority to ensure that our approach is consistent with expert advice.
We have reviewed cleaning arrangements, are using anti-viral products for hard surfaces, ensuring soap dispensers are well stocked and reminding people to observe good hand hygiene.
We are monitoring the situation closely and we continue to provide as much advice, care and support as we can to our University community.
How can I help?
Please be mindful that colleagues and students from China and specified areas may be particularly concerned about family and friends at home and about potential discrimination here in the UK. As an inclusive international community, we’d ask all members of our community to continue to be supportive of one another at this time.
I am due to travel to China, should I go?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising all UK nationals to leave China if they can. It is also advising against all but essential travel to mainland China and continues to advise against all travel to Hubei Province.
Public Health England has also issued health advice regarding travel to China.
In light of this, we have suspended travel on University business to mainland China as a precaution. If you are travelling to one of the specified areas listed by PHE, we would ask you to carefully consider whether your trip is essential. Please see the University’s general guidance on travel and contact Nicky Kemp, the Acting University Secretary.
My visa is due to expire and I need to return to China, what do I do?
If you have any concerns regarding your immigration status please contact the Student Immigration Service.
The UK Government has said that if you are a Chinese national in the UK with a visa that expires between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020, your visa will be automatically extended to 31 March 2020. You will not need to take any action to get the extension.
You should read the GOV.UK guidance to find out if your visa will be automatically extended or whether you need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Helpline (0800 678 1767, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, calls are free of charge) or CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Are there any other overseas destinations that I should avoid?
The FCO has not currently identified any other areas where travel should be avoided due to coronavirus. There are other areas where the FCO advises against travel for other reasons. If you are travelling to any of these destinations then the University’s general guidance on such travel should be followed.