Pressure mounts on Sheffield Hallam Uni to act over coronavirus outbreak

As Uni of suspends face-to-face teaching

Sheffield Hallam Uni is facing growing calls to take swift action over the coronavirus crisis.

The uni has so far refused to cancel any teaching, despite the Uni of Sheffield suspending all face-to-face lectures, seminars and tutorials on Friday after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

At least ten other British universities, including Bristol, Oxford, Nottingham and Durham have suspended normal classes until the end of term.

Hallam said its incident management group have “met and are finalising arrangements for teaching and other activity from Monday 16 March”, and currently students are told to attend classes as normal.

But bosses have been fiercely criticised for not offering certainty amid the escalating chaos nationally.

“You guys seriously need to step up and follow suit [after the Uni of Sheff],” @belugasalesman told Hallam on Twitter.

In response to a Uni of tweet on its measures, student Ysabel Gerrard replied: “Come on now @sheffhallamuni, do the right thing”, while another wrote: “@sheffhallamuni do the same!”

Child nursing student Poppy Kia asked on Hallam’s Facebook page: “Will student nurses still get their placement hours signed if we’re told we can’t go? Not really fair if we’re expected to catch up on hours that we have no control over missing if it comes to that.”

User Richie G Man added: “Would it kill you to actually send these updates to our student emails and not rely on people sharing it on Facebook?”

It comes as UK cases surged to 1,145 on Saturday and the death toll doubled in 24 hours to hit 21. Three cases have been recorded in Sheffield.

Last night it was confirmed that a staff member at Uni of Sheffield has tested positive, prompting ten floors of the Arts Tower to go into lockdown until Wednesday for deep cleaning.

The institution announced that all face-to-face teaching is moving online from Monday until further notice in a bid to contain the outbreak.


Sheffield Hallam Uni said in a statement that it is “treating this as a major incident” and will provide an update on Sunday.

It added: “An Incident Management Group, led by members of the University Leadership Team, is meeting regularly to carefully monitor the outbreak of coronavirus, and to prepare contingency plans to manage any precautions we all may have to take as the situation evolves.”