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Sheffield Uni students warned not to skip exams over coronavirus

Some are wearing face masks


Students at the University of Sheffield have been warned not to skip exams and classes over fears they may be infected with coronavirus.

The institution has issued guidance to all students by email after an outbreak of the respiratory illness in China, with some spotted wearing face masks on campus.

Sheffield is home to about 8,000 Chinese students, some of whom will be returning to the East Asian country for Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend.

Coronavirus has infected some 1,370 people in China, with 41 dead and 50 million people placed in lockdown after an outbreak began in the city of Wuhan.

With exam season ongoing until February 8, the university told students by email: “The University takes the health and safety of its staff and students very seriously. We are carefully monitoring the situation and will issue any further advice and guidance as it becomes available.

“In the meantime, staff and students are encouraged to continue their University business as normal. In particular, students should be aware that they should continue to attend classes and examinations as normal until and unless the University advice changes, in line with PHE guidance.”

Universities nationwide have ramped up measures to prevent the UK’s 120,000 Chinese student population landing the virus on campuses, with no cases yet reported in Britain.

Chester University has told students they will face “quarantine” if they return to campus after visiting China for Lunar New Year festivities, the Evening Standard reported on Thursday.

Cambridge hosted 15 students from Wuhan this week and staff at Dundee and Aberdeen unis have also returned from trips to the infected city of 11m people in recent weeks.

Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Birmingham and Edinburgh also have links to the city.

A University of Sheffield spokesperson said: “We are aware of the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan and our thoughts are with everyone affected.

“[…] Some students may be worried about friends and family members in China, so we will be letting them know who they can speak to if they are concerned.”

Sheffield Hallam University added: “We continue to monitor the situation closely, but don’t intend to cancel any university events at this stage.”