UEA will remain open as usual despite coronavirus panic

The university is taking the situation ‘extremely seriously’

UEA will be remaining “open as usual” despite increasing panic over coronavirus, the University has confirmed.

Despite the virus reaching pandemic status, there have been no confirmed cases in Norfolk or UEA. Our Chief Resource Officer, Ian Callaghan, has released a statement assuring students UEA is “in frequent contact with Public Health England (PHE), NHS Services and other key partners”.

He also said: “There are currently no plans to close the University, cancel events or suspend teaching.

“Plans are being put into place to allow online delivery of teaching should face-to-face teaching get disrupted, so please be reassured that we are looking into a variety of options to minimise the impact on your education should the situation change.”

In his email, Mr Callaghan included a list of hygiene precautions UEA has taken, including “additional cleaning across campus”, “extra hand washing stations” and “official information and guidance to all students and staff, including a dedicated page on the UEA Portal” website.

He also offered some advice to students: “Everyone should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene to help prevent the spread of germs – the NHS are advising that we should wash our hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser gel if soap is not available.

“If you have been abroad recently, you should check the FCO’s website and use the NHS online 111 coronavirus service if you’ve been to any of their Category 1 or 2 countries.

“Do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. If advised by the NHS to self-isolate, please inform Student Services on [email protected] If you are a student currently on a health placement, please advise your Placement Hub, who will inform student services.”

The outbreak of the coronavirus has also led to a rise in xenophobia and racism. On 30 January, the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Committee issued a statement advising all countries to be mindful of the “principles of Article 3 of the IHR (the International Health Regulations),” which is a caution against “actions that promote stigma or discrimination,” when conducting national response measures to the virus.

Mr Callaghan alluded to this in his email, reminding students to continue “showing respect to others”.

He said: “UEA is proud to be an international university and we strive to maintain a safe, inclusive and welcoming culture on campus. UEA has zero tolerance to any form of abuse or harassment, and we would encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses inappropriate behaviour to report it to us via our Report and Support website, or report it to the Police directly.

“If you would like support, please get in touch with Student Services on [email protected] or 01603 592761. All students at UEA also have access to 24/7 health and wellbeing support and advice through Health Assured – their telephone helpline is 0800 030 5182.”

Stock featured image via SWNS