Staff update 15/03/2020
Message from the Registrar & Secretary about a confirmed case of coronavirus at University of Exeter
15 March 2020
I am writing to let you know that we received a report on the evening of Saturday 14 March that one of our students has been tested whilst abroad and has reported that this test is positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).
Our immediate concerns are for the affected student, their family and friends, as well as the health and wellbeing of our University community.
The student has not been on campus since 12 March and tested positive at home. When in Exeter they live in a private, one-bedroom apartment and do not share accommodation with anyone else. Our Student Support & Wellbeing Teams are in communication with them. They are with their family, feeling relatively well and would like their privacy respected.
The University is working with Public Health England (PHE) and their advice is that we do not need to take any additional actions. The student concerned has made direct contact with those most likely to be affected to advise them of the positive test result. I want to thank them for acting so proactively and responsibly.
PHE guidance for individuals is simple and straightforward. If you develop symptoms, however mild, you should self-isolate for 7 days to protect the more vulnerable in our community and call 111 if symptoms persist.
If you do need to self-isolate then please let us know using the online form so we can make sure you have access to any support you may need. Further advice on self-isolation is available from Public Health England.
In the meantime the most important thing we can all do to reduce the spread of Coronavirus is to observe the enhanced hygiene measures, particularly hand washing regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser.
We review daily the Public Health England and Government advice to put the right measures in place to protect our staff, students and visitors. We must work together, support each other and show the respect, kindness and compassion that we would expect for everyone in our community.
I know that this is a concerning time for all of us and if you need someone to talk to, then please reach out to the support services available for students and staff. If you have an urgent query you can call our Coronavirus Helpline. The Helpline is open today, Sunday 15 March, between 2:30pm – 7pm and will also be open Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm. Please call Helpline – 01392 725000 (international – +44 300 555 0225) if you have concerns.
It is very likely that we will see further cases here in the South West over the coming days as the numbers of cases also increase across the UK. We are monitoring the situation very closely. The senior team are meeting today and daily to review our plans and next steps.
As I indicated in my message on Friday, we are transitioning to teaching online for the last week of term (week beginning 23 March), with alternative arrangements in place where required. We are working with colleagues and departments to make this transition; and we will communicate through departments as arrangements are made. There will be no further group face-to-face teaching from 23 March until further notice and lab-based project work will be subject to individual risk assessment. From 23 March, Examinations and Assessments will take place online until further notice, with alternative arrangements in place where required.
Colleges will be contacting students tomorrow, Monday 16 March, to let them know what the teaching arrangements will be for their programme during this period of transition.
Thank you for your support and please look at our website for all the latest updates: www.exeter.ac.uk/coronavirus