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

Visitors and Contractors

Latest update – Thursday 26 March, 16:00

The Government has announced that everyone must now stay at home, except in exceptional circumstances, to protect our NHS and save lives. 

We will commence online or remote teaching from Monday 23 March. Examinations and assessments will also take place remotely, with alternative arrangements where appropriate. Further information can be found in the sections below, and for staff and students within your emails.

The Government also advises students remaining at university in England should not attempt to travel. Following guidance from Public Health England and the Department for Education, we advise that anyone in student accommodation (for example University residences) does not undertake further travel, we also advise you only leave your accommodation for the following reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities
  • One form of exercise a day
  • Medical needs
  • To provide essential care or help to a vulnerable person, or to travel to or from work where this cannot be done from home

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.

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​

General updates on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Common signs of the infection include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England (PHE) update the UK’s COVID-19 information on a regular basis.

PHE have created a blog ‘Novel Coronavirus: what you need to know’. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have also created a dedicated website for information and guidance. 

To find out more about what the health and social care system across the UK has done to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and what it plans to do next, please read the  Coronavirus action plan: a guide to what you can expect across the UK.

Travel advice and updates

Advice for those intending to travel abroad and for those returning to the UK from specific countries is changing rapidly. 

Before travelling, or making plans to travel, you must check the latest advice from the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice website. This has links to detailed advice for every country/territory, and you should make sure to check the ‘Summary’ and ‘Health’ sections for the country/territory you are travelling to. There is also a facility to sign up for email alerts for the country/territory you are visiting. 

The Government has now withdrawn their advice for travellers returning from specific countries and areas and this has been superseded by ‘stay at home’ guidance on what to do if you have confirmed or possible coronavirus infection. Those returning to the UK from overseas should familiarise themselves with this guidance.

Please also stay up-to-date with our University specific advice and guidance on travel.

UPDATED UNIVERSITY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

The University has made the decision to temporarily suspend all international travel for work or study purposes, unless deemed essential.

We have attempted to contact all staff and postgraduate students who are currently abroad. If you have not done so already, please confirm your current position to insurance@exeter.ac.uk, including whether you are:

a) remaining overseas (if so, please confirm that you have risk assessed and are safe)
b) you have returned to the UK or your home location, or
c) you are in the process of or making plans to return. If you need assistance, please let us know how best to contact you and we will arrange for someone to get in touch.

The safety of our staff and students is of paramount importance, therefore we suggest you complete our coronavirus travel risk assessment form before considering any travel; including personal travel or travel within the UK.

You will know that the situation is changing all the time. Please check the Foreign Travel Advice website and your emails for updated information.

Trips booked within the next month should be cancelled. Once the trip has been cancelled please let your supervisor or line manager, and the insurance team (insurance@exeter.ac.uk) know that you are no longer planning to travel.

If you are currently overseas for work or study purposes and would like to return to the UK please contact your supervisor or line manager for guidance or contact us via coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk. Supervisors and managers may need to seek further advice from their College or Professional Service.

Staff and Postgraduates must have completed the online travel form via: www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/

Students must have arranged appropriate insurance, either via the University undergraduate travel insurance provider (www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/undergraduatetravelinsurance/), or a provider of their choice.

Advice for those intending to travel abroad and for those returning to the UK from specific countries is changing rapidly. 

Before travelling, or making plans to travel, you must check the latest advice from the Government’s Foreign Travel Advice website. This has links to detailed advice for every country/territory, and you should make sure to check the ‘Summary’ and ‘Health’ sections for the country/territory you are travelling to. There is also a facility to sign up for email alerts for the country/territory you are visiting. 

The Government has now withdrawn their advice for travellers returning from specific countries and areas and this has been superseded by ‘stay at home’ guidance on what to do if you have confirmed or possible coronavirus infection. Those returning to the UK from overseas should familiarise themselves with this guidance.

Please also stay up-to-date with our University specific advice and guidance on travel.

UPDATED UNIVERSITY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

If you are currently abroad for work or study purposes and would like to consider returning to the UK please contact your supervisor or line manager for guidance or contact us via coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk. Supervisors and managers may need to seek further advice from their College or Professional Service.

Staff and Postgraduates must have completed the online travel form via: www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/

Students must have arranged appropriate insurance, either via the University undergraduate travel insurance provider (www.exeter.ac.uk/cgr/insuranceauditandrisk/insurancepolicies/travel/undergraduatetravelinsurance/), or a provider of their choice.

Events on campus

We are sorry to let you know that we have had to cancel our remaining March Offer Holder Visit Days due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. We have taken this decision to safeguard the health and welfare of our visitors, students and staff.  Your safety is our top priority, but we are also very sorry to have cancelled as we know how important and valued these events are to our offer holders.

We are currently organising digital offer-holder events which will provide you with the guidance and information you need to make informed decisions about studying with the University of Exeter and hopefully give you a bit of a feel for our campus and teaching too. We will contact offer holders with details as soon as possible.

Our May Open Days will not take place on campus either in Devon or in Cornwall but we are organising alternative opportunities for you to visit us in person at a later date. We are also planning a series of live online events for you to experience all that we have to offer and help you make informed decisions about studying with the University of Exeter.

In the meantime, please sign up for our Open Days as usual via our Visit Us web pages to record your interest and give us your contact details so we can keep you informed of the latest position.

Whatever happens over the next few months, we will do our very best to make sure you have the information you need and to answer your questions about studying with us.

We are sorry to let you know that we have had to cancel our Postgraduate Open Days due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. We took this decision to safeguard the health and welfare of our visitors, students and staff.  Your safety is out top priority, but we are very sorry not to meet you in person right now.

We are currently organising virtual postgraduate events which will provide you with the guidance and information you need to make informed decisions about studying with the University of Exeter. We will contact you if you had registered for our Open Day update our postgraduate Visit Us web pages when details of our online provision has been confirmed.

We anticipate that our PGCE Open Day will not take place, but we are organising alternative opportunities for you to visit us in person at a later date. We are also planning live online events to help you experience all that we have to offer and help you make informed decisions about studying with the University of Exeter.

In the meantime, please book for an event on our Teacher Training Open Days web page to record your interest so that we can keep you informed of the latest position.

Whatever happens over the next few months, we will do our very best to make sure that you have the information you need and to answer your questions about studying with us.

We are sorry to let you know that we have had to suspend our Campus Tours for the foreseeable future. If you have booked on to a tour we will be contacting you directly with more information. We will reinstate this service when it is appropriate to do so. In the meantime, we are organising a series of online events to help you experience all that we have to offer and help you make informed decisions about studying with the University of Exeter. We will promote these in due course.

The University campuses are open only for essential services. Some areas remain open for use, such as study spaces and the Penryn Library, but we ask everyone to follow the guidance on social distancing, provided by the Government.

We have advised students to go home if they are able. From Monday 23 March we are moving to online/remote delivery of teaching, where possible. In addition to this, from 23 March, Examinations and Assessments will take place online until further notice, with alternative arrangements in place where required.

We have also asked staff to work from home where possible. Essential operational staff are still on our campuses, for example Accommodation Catering teams, Estate Patrol and certain Technical Services staff.

All University events, both on and off campus until the end of May 2020, have been cancelled with immediate effect and the sports facilities on all campuses are closed.

Third parties and contractors should seek advice from their line management.

University updates and actions

If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in the business or workplace they should be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance.

If they need clinical advice, they should go online to NHS 111 or call 111 if they don’t have internet access. In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection.

It is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home, unless government policy changes.

The University is acting on advice from sources including the FCO, WHO, NHS and Public Health England.  We have taken proactive steps to contact our students and staff to ensure that everyone has access to the latest advice.  

We are keeping in contact with students and staff who are in the affected countries/areas, as well as those students and staff who may have recently returned to the UK from from affected areas abroad.  

We are monitoring the situation closely, have made plans to act quickly if the situation changes and will provide further updates as necessary.

We are asking staff and students to notify us if they are self-isolating, and are keeping in touch with individuals we feel it necessary to contact.

For information on the reasons to self-isolate and for what period of time, please refer to the Government advice available online.

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation please complete a SID enquiry under the category ‘Accommodation – Coronavirus’ to ensure you get the support you may need and the relevant staff are notified.

If you are a member of staff and you are self-isolating please complete the online staff form to notify us.

Staff and students who are concerned about an underlying health condition should contact their GP and use the NHS 111 online tool for further medical advice. You can also notify the University of any underlying health conditions we need to be aware of by emailing coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

We follow the advice of Public Health England (PHE) when identifying students and staff who are at risk, and will communicate directly and promptly with individuals where necessary.

The library continues to give you access to the resources and support you need digitally.

All library buildings on the Exeter campuses close until further notice at 3:00pm on Friday 20th March. The library in Penryn will be open Monday-Friday 9:00-5:00, but this may change.

Further information for students and staff at an Exeter campus can be found here: https://libguides.exeter.ac.uk/coronavirus 

Further information for students and staff at Penryn can be found here: https://library.fxplus.ac.uk/service-updates-march-2020

Advice for parents

Unfortunately, we are not able to discuss the details of individual students with parents, guardians or carers unless the student gives us permission to do so, but please be assured we are keeping students up to date with the latest information, which can be found on this webpage and also via the Public Health England (PHE) webpages. We would encourage any student with an underlying health condition to speak to their GP for advice. 

We encourage you to make contact with your child directly and re-emphasise the need to contact 111 if they are worried about their health.

Concerns about your health

Public Health England (PHE) have updated their advice on what to do if you experience symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature and/or
- shortness of breath/breathing difficulties

If you have symptoms, however mild, please self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms started. If you need to self-isolate please let us know so we can make sure you have access to any support you may need. 

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. 

Students

Following our decision to ask students to go home where possible, we are no longer collating information on absence from face to face teaching.

If you are self-isolating, or remaining, in student accommodation: either on campus, in an external student accommodation provider or in privately owned student accommodation, please notify us by email on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk giving the following details:

1. Full name
2. Student Number
3. Address - including if you are living in Exeter or Cornwall
4. Period of self-isolating - start and end date
5. Contact telephone number

These details will then be passed to the relevant staff who will contact you to ensure you have access to the support you may need.

You no longer need to use the LISA attendance monitoring system to record absences. From Monday 23 March we are moving to online/remote delivery of teaching, where possible. In addition to this, from 23 March, Examinations and Assessments will take place online until further notice, with alternative arrangements in place where required.

If you have any queries email us on coronavirusenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

Staff

Please use the staff online form to let us know if you are self-isolating. You should also follow the guidance in the Staff FAQ “Reporting Absence – When and how do I report absence?”

Information about pay arrangements can be found online

Contact details for emergencies and out of hours help are listed below:

- Exeter: contact Estate Patrol on 01392 723999 (24 hours)
- Cornwall: contact the Living Support Team on 01326 255341 or via email: ls-team@fxplus.ac.uk (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or the Security and Night Support team on 01326 253503 (evenings 5pm to 9am and weekends)

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation, but please contact us using the details above. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency always dial 999.

Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings. Facemasks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly and disposed of safely in order to be effective. 

We know for some that coronavirus is of increased concern. Those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, may feel particularly vulnerable. If you have an existing or underlying health condition and you are worried about your health regarding the coronavirus, we would encourage you to use the NHS 111 online tool.

The NHS will be contacting around 1.2 million people at the highest risk of complications, such as patients having treatment for cancer or people on immunosuppressant therapy, who will be asked to isolate at home for 12 weeks to protect themselves. They will get special guidance from the NHS.

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

If you are classed as extremely vulnerable, your GP or the NHS in England will contact you directly with advice about the more stringent measures you should take, in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice from PHE.

If you are worried about your health regarding the coronavirus, you can use the NHS 111 online tool or contact your GP for further advice.
If you are a member of staff, you can talk to your line manager about being in a high risk category.
If you are a student, you can contact your GP or relevant health professional for advice. If you would like Wellbeing support, you can contact Wellbeing Services.

 

The Government has released a document on social distancing measures. Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people.

They are:

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough; 
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible;  
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information 
  4. Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs 
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media. 
  6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is pragmatic.