Reducing the risk of catching coronavirus

University of Exeter expert in Communicable Disease Control and Infectious disease management, Dr Bharat Pankhania discusses how we can reduce the risk of catching coronavirus (COVID-19).

How to reduce your risk
Wash your hands
Self Isolation

UK Work Placements

Latest update – Monday 1 June 12:00

Restrictions currently remain in place across all our campuses. The health, safety and wellbeing of students, colleagues and the wider community is our top priority.

In England, up to six people can now meet outside, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces - provided those from different households observe social distancing rules. You should also try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession - to minimise the risk of quick transmission.

As of Monday 18 May the Government have advised all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough, fever or anosmia. Anosmia is the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked. For further information please visit the GOV UK pages.

As of Monday 1 June the UK Government has started to reopen early years settings and reception, year one and year six in primary schools in England. From 15 June, secondary schools will begin to provide some face-to-face contact time for years 10 and 12.

Please continue to check the FAQs below for updated information and guidance.

Frequently asked questions

Please note the advice on this page may change, particularly as there are ongoing updates to the Government guidance.

Students currently on placement this academic year (2019/20)

Please contact your placement module lead in the first instance. If you have already met the Intended Learning Outcomes of the module, with the work you have completed so far, the minimum hours requisite could be waived. If it cannot be waived your placement module lead will discuss alternatives. We appreciate this may be a disappointing and worrying situation, and will support you wherever possible.

If you do leave your placement, please make sure you leave with a good relationship with your placement host. You may need to rely on them in the future for a professional reference and their experience working with you will impact whether they host another Exeter student on placement in the future.

Please take a look at our Examinations, Assessments, Progression and Awarding information, found here.

If you require more information please speak to your placement module lead.

Please contact your placement module lead as soon as possible and make plans to find safe accommodation. If you are unable to find alternative accommodation please contact the University at coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

In line with Government advice employers should be asking their employees to work from home, wherever possible. This may mean the way you work will change, for example team meetings on Zoom, or perhaps your responsibilities will need to adapt to the resources you have at home. Your employer should support you to achieve this and your line manager should discuss how you can effectively work from home. You may need extra equipment such as a laptop or access to company documents via a remote connection. It's also important to discuss any responsibilities you may have such as caring responsibilities whilst at home and how your working hours could accommodate this.  You need to ensure that your employers insurance covers you whilst you work from home, it is likely that it will as many employees are working from home at this time but please check with your employer and let us know.

It’s important to keep up to date on your employer’s guidance related to COVID-19 and home working. If you are unsure of what your employer’s guidance is ask your line manager for clarification. If you are working from home, here are our top tips:

• Workspace – Find somewhere that you will not be distracted by the television, social media, people, pets etc. so you can concentrate on working. Try and set up a workstation in that room so you can work effectively and safely. Keep the space around you organised and check you are not straining your body in the working position you are in. If this isn’t possible then talk to your employer.
• Plan your work – Make sure you have brought home everything you need to work from home e.g. documents and IT equipment they are going to lend you. Use your outlook calendar to plan tasks and co-ordinate online meetings/calls.
• Take breaks – Keep focussed when you are working but take a 30-minute break at least every 6 hours and a 5-minute break every hour.
• Keep in contact – Keep in touch with your line manager so they know what you are working on, can help you if you are struggling and can give you more work if needed. Don’t feel isolated, keep in contact with your team/colleagues.
• Final thought – Home working can be tricky and may lead to a drop in motivation and productivity. Start the day as if you were going to the office, maybe even dress as if you were. Try imagining your manager is sitting near you to help motivate you to keep working!

There is guidance on home working available from ACAS (UK employers only) which you may find useful on this link. Countries outside the UK may have different guidance for employers/employees in relation to home working so we would recommend researching them.

Many employees around the world are having to adapt to different pressures, tasks and responsibilities as a result of COVID-19. This does sometimes mean employees are asked to undertake different duties to support the business. Employers can make reasonable changes to your placement duties but we would not wish this to impact your health, safety and wellbeing. We also would not wish any changes to impact on your academic outcomes and experience.

If you are asked to undertake a role (or different duties) which impacts on your health and safety, or is significantly different from your contract/tripartite agreement and could therefore impact on you meeting the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of your module, please speak to your line manager in the first instance. If you are not satisfied please then speak to your placement module lead. If the changes are minor and do not affect the ILOs of your placement module, please bear in mind that being flexible, adaptable and having a positive outlook in the workplace are all behaviours which will help your immediate team and the wider company. They’re also fantastic traits you can evidence in future job applications.

In line with Government advice employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. If your employer will not allow this please speak to your placement module lead.

Public Health England (PHE) is advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. The Government have identified those that are classified as extremely vulnerable, and those that are at increased risk of severe illness, online:

Guidance on those who are at increased risk of severe illness
Guidance on who is classified as extremely vulnerable

The health and safety of our students is paramount to the University. Please discuss with your line manager and placement module lead how you might continue your placement work (if you are keen to do so) from home, observing the Government guidance on self-isolation. If you are not comfortable continuing your placement even if there is a homeworking option, please talk to your placement module lead about what to do next. If you want to terminate your placement early, please speak to your line manager in the first instance to reach agreement. If this is not possible then please speak to your placement module lead or placement team.

The University is supporting students who have been impacted financially by the coronavirus crisis through accommodation refunds and bursaries, however, we recognise that individual students are facing hardship because of circumstances that are unique and beyond their control. Therefore we have, with considerable assistance from our community of alumni and supporters, established an Emergency Assistance Fund to extend the University’s financial assistance to the most vulnerable students across the institution.

The Emergency Assistance Fund will provide up to £1,000 (per applicant) for students facing unanticipated financial challenges due to Covid-19. The fund aims to provide short-term emergency support until the end of May 2020 (with the option to extend), and is now available for all students via an online application form on the website: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/students/assistance-fund/

The majority of staff are now working from home and providing services online for students such as email placement support, skype appointments, webinars etc. You can find out more about the services on offer by visiting My Career Zone or contacting your placement team for information on changes to the support for your module as a result of the coronavirus. If you are struggling to find contact details for your placement team:

For Streatham and St Lukes based students: placements@exeter.ac.uk

For Penryn based students: placements-penryn@exeter.ac.uk

The FAQs on this page give extra detail on how the University is responding and continuing to support students. If you are currently on a placement abroad, please contact the Global Opportunities team on outbound@exeter.ac.uk

Students due to go on placement this academic year (2019/20) or summer 2020

Placements that have been approved but have not yet started this academic year can proceed if the employer is happy for them to become desk-based placements in line with Government advice, where you are able to work from home. Please update the placements team of your revised work environment if you have not advised your placement module lead of this already.

For Streatham and St Lukes based students: placements@exeter.ac.uk
For Penryn based students: placements-penryn@exeter.ac.uk

If your placement cannot be worked at home then please contact your placement module lead to find out what alternatives are available, for example postponing your start date to a later point in the year.

 

Please speak to your placement module lead for more information on the next steps.

We anticipate there will be a lot of disruption to various industries over the coming months and this will lead to new opportunities in some sectors whilst other sectors will temporarily pause their placement schemes. Placement opportunities as always will be very competitive so please use our careers service to give you the best chance of securing a placement. They offer a wide range of support including but not limited to; 1 to 1’s, employability sessions such as CVs, applications etc., online resources, jobs board etc. If you are keen to find a work placement you can access support from the Career Zone or contact your placements team. Your placement module lead will may also be able to provide further support and advice.

Please update your placement module lead and the placements team as soon as you possibly can. They can advise you on the next steps/alternatives particular to your module.  If you don’t know who your placements team are please email as follows:

Placements team:
For Streatham and St Lukes based students: placements@exeter.ac.uk
For Penryn based students: placements-penryn@exeter.ac.uk

Please talk to your placement module lead about the alternative options for your module. If you need to decline a placement offer please do so professionally, you may need to rely on the same organisation for a graduate job in the future and a bad experience for the employer may mean future students are not offered placements.

Please discuss this with your placement supervisor, update your placement module lead and the placements team if the placement needs to be altered, postponed or cancelled. The placement supervisor will have the most up to date information on the operation of their lab facilities, whether they can still host your placement or if they are offering alternatives.

If the placement can be conducted from home, e.g. a desk based research project, and the academic still has capacity to be your placement supervisor this could still go ahead. Please check with your placement module lead for approval before submitting your placement paperwork.

Please speak to your placement module lead in the first instance as you may need to re-submit your placement paperwork.

The University is supporting students who have been impacted financially by the coronavirus crisis through accommodation refunds and bursaries, however, we recognise that individual students are facing hardship because of circumstances that are unique and beyond their control. Therefore we have, with considerable assistance from our community of alumni and supporters, established an Emergency Assistance Fund to extend the University’s financial assistance to the most vulnerable students across the institution.

The Emergency Assistance Fund will provide up to £1,000 (per applicant) for students facing unanticipated financial challenges due to Covid-19. The fund aims to provide short-term emergency support until the end of May 2020 (with the option to extend), and is now available for all students via an online application form on the website: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/students/assistance-fund/

The majority of staff are now working from home and providing services online for students such as email placement support, skype appointments, webinars etc. You can find out more about the services on offer by visiting My Career Zone or contacting your placement team for information on changes to the support for your module as a result of the coronavirus. If you are struggling to find contact details for your placement team:

For Streatham and St Lukes based students: placements@exeter.ac.uk

For Penryn based students: placements-penryn@exeter.ac.uk

The FAQs on this page give extra detail on how the University is responding and continuing to support students. If you are currently on a placement abroad, please contact the Global Opportunities team on outbound@exeter.ac.uk

Students due to go on placement next academic year (2020/21)

Placements are being reviewed and approved for the next academic year bearing in mind government advice and any changes to the placement module requirements. If you are unsure whether your placement puts your wellbeing at risk or whether the requirements for a placement for the next academic year have changed, then please speak to your placement module lead in the first instance. We would recommend you keep in regular contact with your placement employer up until your start date to ensure you have the latest information regarding your placement.

Please speak to your placement module lead in the first instance as you may need to re-submit your placement paperwork.

Please update the placement module lead and the placements team as soon as you possibly can. They can advise you on the next steps/alternatives particular to your module.  If you don’t know who your placements team are please email as follows:

Placements team:
For Streatham and St Lukes based students: placements@exeter.ac.uk
For Penryn based students: placements-penryn@exeter.ac.uk

We anticipate there will be a lot of disruption to various industries over the coming months and this will lead to new opportunities in some sectors whilst other sectors will temporarily pause their placement schemes. Placement opportunities as always will be very competitive so please use our careers service to give you the best chance of securing a placement. They offer a wide range of support including but not limited to; 1 to 1’s, employability sessions such as CVs, applications etc., online resources, jobs board etc. If you are keen to find a work placement you can access support from the Career Zone or contact your placements team. Your placement module lead may also be able to provide further support and advice.

The University is supporting students who have been impacted financially by the coronavirus crisis through accommodation refunds and bursaries, however, we recognise that individual students are facing hardship because of circumstances that are unique and beyond their control. Therefore we have, with considerable assistance from our community of alumni and supporters, established an Emergency Assistance Fund to extend the University’s financial assistance to the most vulnerable students across the institution.

The Emergency Assistance Fund will provide up to £1,000 (per applicant) for students facing unanticipated financial challenges due to Covid-19. The fund aims to provide short-term emergency support until the end of May 2020 (with the option to extend), and is now available for all students via an online application form on the website: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/students/assistance-fund/

The majority of staff are now working from home and providing services online for students such as email placement support, skype appointments, webinars etc. You can find out more about the services on offer by visiting My Career Zone or contacting your placement team for information on changes to the support for your module as a result of the coronavirus. If you are struggling to find contact details for your placement team:

For Streatham and St Lukes based students: placements@exeter.ac.uk

For Penryn based students: placements-penryn@exeter.ac.uk

The FAQs on this page give extra detail on how the University is responding and continuing to support students. If you are currently on a placement abroad, please contact the Global Opportunities team on outbound@exeter.ac.uk

Respect in our community

We know that outbreaks can take place anywhere in the world. Internationally, nationally and locally there have been incidents of xenophobic and racist behaviour and abuse.

We emphasise the need to show respect, kindness and compassion for all during this uncertain time. Inappropriate behaviour or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. This is a hate crime and is against the law.

If you experience, or are witness to, any behaviour of this type, please report it to the police immediately. You can also report it to the University via our Speak Out web pages. We will investigate this and, where necessary, disciplinary procedures will be followed.

If you are feeling anxious during this time, further support is available via our wellbeing webpages.

We have signed an open letter with partners across Exeter on tackling hate crime and racism in our community, particularly in light of recent incidents in relation to coronavirus. This is a time when we must work together and support each other - not create more division and hurt. Read the letter in full​