Southampton uni is ‘open as normal’ despite the coronavirus panic

There’s a dedicated team to help anyone self-isolating

The University of Southampton will remain open as usual, despite rising concerns over coronavirus.

Other UK universities have made changes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. King’s College London has cancelled normal exams, and there will instead be “alternative assessments” such as take-home exams.

Lectures at Durham are being moved online, in a bid to reduce the likelihood of coronavirus transmission. Bristol uni has ordered 1,000 takeaway boxes to use if and when food needs to be delivered to self-isolating students.

The University has set up a dedicated website containing information and answers to questions regarding coronavirus, based on advice from Public Health England. It says: “The University is open and operating as normal. Staff and students should attend their activities as usual.”

There is a dedicated team to look after anyone self-isolating

The University of Southampton have set up a dedicated task force, offering local support to students who are affected by coronavirus. They can arrange for food and other provisions to be delivered to your door.

If you are self-isolating, you should notify the Student Life team. Impact of self-isolation on academic studies will be dealt with on an individual, case-by-case basis. Student Life will help liaise with your Student Office about what to do.

The Student Life team offer 24-hour support to all students.

Lectures are still on

As current Public Health England advice is that people in the UK can still continue with day-to-day activities, the University is “encouraging” students to go to lectures and other activities as normal.

The University website says: “It is safe as long as you practise sensible hygiene.”

Exams are still running

The University are planning to deliver exams as currently scheduled, rather than having students sit them remotely. They are also making contingency plans, so as to minimise the impact coronavirus will have on assessments.

The University website says: “It will take a little time to work through all the implications, but we will provide more information as soon as it becomes available.” Updates will be provided via Blackboard, email, and the dedicated website.

International students should stay in the UK

Current Public Health England advice says it’s safe to be at UK universities and remain in the UK. If this advice changes, the University “will take immediate action” to communicate this to staff and students.

The University website says: “You should be aware that, if you request to return home now before the end of the semester, you will need to request to suspend your studies.

“We are unable to refund tuition fees or accommodation fees for students who choose to return home.”

The University have contingency plans in place

An email sent to all students by the Vice Chancellor last week says: “The demand for information sometimes out-strips the ability of official bodies to provide it. As a University, the wellbeing of our staff and students is always of utmost importance, and never more so than in situations like this.

“For more than a week now we have had scores of colleagues across the University working around the clock to support our students and staff, and that will continue for as long as it is needed.

“We have well-developed University plans for dealing with all kinds of contingencies.

“As the global situation develops, the University will continue to review the information available, develop our guidance and support offering for our staff and students, and maintain open and frequent communications.”

Daily update emails will be sent

This morning, students received the first of the new daily emails that will be sent to update us on any developments regarding coronavirus.

The email said: “Our focus is to continue to deliver learning and teaching on campus as normal as possible for as long as possible. However, we are of course actively preparing for potential changes and discussing new working practices including the possibility to deliver courses online, and how some staff can productively work remotely.

“We recognise that the demand for information and clarity is understandably increasing, and we, like the Government, don’t yet have all the answers. We have a significant number of staff across the University focused on making the informed decision we need, at speed. Making practical recommendations to address the many questions arising from our staff and students about teaching, lectures, exams etc. is our top priority.”

Stock featured image via SWNS

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