Vice Chancellor's email to students (Friday 13 March)
Dear University of Worcester student,
I am writing to all members of the University about the Covid-19 pandemic and the University’s response.
I know this is a time when many students are concerned for the health and welfare of family, friends and neighbours as well as their own.
Our aim is to do what we can to limit the transmission of this virus and the adverse impact that it has on human health.
Firstly, may I thank all those students who have been, and are involved, in preparing to minimise the spread of the virus in Worcester and our wider region.
I am very grateful to all those members of the University who are carefully following the excellent advice given by Public Health England and the NHS.
As we all know this involves regular, thorough hand washing, keeping your hands away from your face and scrupulous cleaning of surfaces on which the virus can live.
What is the Government response?
Yesterday (March 12), the UK government decided that everyone who has a cough, temperature or both should self-isolate for up to 7 days.
According to this coronavirus BBC article, the government’s chief science adviser says: “Telling those with a high temperature or cough to self-isolate for a week will have the "biggest impact" in the fight against coronavirus, the UK's chief science adviser says.
We know that you will support the community by following this advice.
If you need to self-isolate and live in University or University managed accommodation please inform us immediately by either calling 01905 542502 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you, a friend, fellow student, family member or anyone you know does need to follow this advice then this NHS guidance is clear and helpful.
How is the University Responding?
In terms of the University’s response, we have concentrated on doing those things we can to limit the transmission of the virus and its impact on human health by scrupulously following Public Health England, NHS and Government advice and applying this to our own circumstances.
You may already have noticed, for example, that we have intensified the cleaning regime at the University, particularly in areas where there are many smooth surfaces which are frequently touched.
As you know, the UK government has decided at this time that it is best not to close Universities as has happened in a number of other countries.
There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is that University students, in the great majority, are not a vulnerable group in the population as is quite clear from the statistical analysis of the impact of coronavirus by age.
Following government advice means that at Worcester we are continuing to provide our full normal teaching timetable whilst simultaneously promoting the NHS/Public Health England advice. We intend to continue in this way. Of course, at some point there may be some cancellations and you yourself may need to self-isolate for 7 days. In such an event please contact your personal academic tutor for specific advice. Please do not worry about “missing something vital”. Health is the first priority.
Where can you find more information?
I am sure that there are many questions which is why the University has prepared a set of Frequently Asked Questions which you can access above.
This web-page is being regularly updated as the situation evolves. Please do consult it regularly and feel free to share it with fellow students, friends, family and anyone you think may find it useful.
Naturally, we are also preparing for the possibility of teaching in lectures and seminars being cancelled. We are well advanced should this become necessary and will ensure that examinations and assessments can be properly carried out and that students have access to all the proper help you need and expect to succeed in your studies and earn your qualification and, in many cases, your professional registration.
We are also working closely with our partners in the schools, hospitals, Health Trusts, regulatory bodies and government departments to ensure that students who are on teaching practice or on placements in hospitals and health settings are able to continue their vital work and training and that any adaptations do not disadvantage students in terms of qualification.
If the University does have to close for on-campus classes at some point, we will allow students to continue to live in University accommodation and to support students generally with the ongoing provision of library, security, catering and other services in line with ongoing Government advice.
We are currently working with NHS colleagues to see if we an established a training/volunteering programme which will help us all gain the expertise we need to be as useful as possible to family, friends, neighbours and society.
All of these highly practical matters are being tackled with the calm professionalism which is characteristic of the culture here at the University.
Covid-19 is a big challenge to human society. We already know a great deal about it. Whilst dangerous, particularly to older and ore vulnerable people, it is not a mass-scale deadly pandemic for younger people in the same way as was the ‘Spanish flu’ epidemic of 1918-20.
I am very grateful to students, staff and all members of the University community for being so calm, purposeful and professional in both individual and group responses. Many members of the University community have been exemplary in countering disinformation with science-based evidence and rational, thoughtful, compassionate responses.
Thank-you so much for your contribution to this vital work.
If you have questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact your personal academic tutor or firstpoint.
With all best wishes.
Professor David M A Green CBE
Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive