BREAKING: Sheffield Uni stops face-to-face teaching over coronavirus
Sheffield University has halted face-to-face teaching over the coronavirus crisis.
All lectures, seminars and other teaching is temporarily moving online from Monday, 16 March.
Vice-chancellor Koen Lamberts said tonight in an email to all students that they are “also aware of a small number of unrelated suspected student cases of the virus”.
“The global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is a great concern and the health and wellbeing of our students and staff is our absolute priority,” Lamberts wrote.
“I have seriously considered Public Health England’s (PHE) advice and I have no alternative option, given the current circumstances, but to temporarily suspend face-to-face teaching from Monday 16 March.
“Today we were notified that a member of staff has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is following Public Health England (PHE) advice and self-isolating. We are also aware of a small number of unrelated suspected student cases of the virus.”
He added that the risk of passing on infections on campus is low and that uni buildings will remain open.
The uni has not said when the online teaching period will end, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and medical experts warning yesterday that the pandemic could reach its peak in Britain in the summer.
It comes as the number of cases in the UK soared to 798 on Friday, jumping 200 in 24 hours – the highest daily increase yet. The current death toll stands at 11.
The move to shift teaching online follows at least eight other universities across the country in the last 24 hours, including Oxford, Durham Bristol and Nottingham.
Public Health England’s advice is for anyone who has visited coronavirus hotspots such as northern Italy or China in the last 14 days, to call 111 and self-isolate.
Those who develop a persistent cough or high temperature are also told in official guidance to self-isolate as a precaution.