‘We may well have to shut parts of the university,’ says UoB Senior Management amid coronavirus outbreak

The current risk to the public remains low, says Public Health England

Pro-Vice Chancellor Sarah Purdy said that in the event that the coronavirus outbreak gets much worse, “We may well have to shut parts of the university.”

The uni could shut for teaching and research, but students who have nowhere else to go would be supported by the uni.

At a meeting with Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, Sarah Purdy, and Registrar and University Secretary, Lucinda Parr, The Bristol Tab learned that members of the Senior Management Team are meeting on a daily basis to develop contingency plans to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

So far, no students or staff have contracted coronavirus although a small number have been tested.

Shortly after the meeting however, the first case of coronavirus in Bristol was confirmed, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to 163.

Public Health England (PHE) maintain that the risk to the public remains low.

The uni is following the advice of PHE and are urging students to check the FAQs page on the university website, which is also updated every day.

In terms of Bristol as a whole, the uni are working with the council and UWE to develop plans to deal with the outbreak.

The Senior Management Team at the University of Bristol are also considering the possibility of self-isolating halls and are liaising with private- sector halls about this possibility.

UoB has ordered a large quantity of takeaway boxes and are exploring the possibility of having to deliver food to students, should they find themselves self-isolating.

The Senior Team are also discussing ways in which they can use social media in order to prevent loneliness, in the event of students self-isolating.

When asked if students might not be able to graduate, Purdy said: “We’re pretty confident we will be able to graduate students.”

Graduation ceremonies may have to be moved back however and exam schedules may change in accordance with advice from PHE.

In addition, advice for international students, especially those returning home to affected areas during the upcoming Easter break, is currently being modelled.

Sarah Purdy’s final remark was: “Wash your hands and check the website.”