University of Birmingham statement regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The University are monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and its impact, and doing all we can to make safe and reassure our staff and students. This statement will be regularly updated as the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE) and other sources becomes available.

For more detailed information we are regularly updating the FAQs for staff and students to include the most up to date advice. 

Visit FAQs for students
Visit FAQs for staff


 *Statement last updated: Tuesday 24 March*

Update at 12:45

We are continuing to issue a daily update to staff and students on the University’s approach to ensure we are providing the best possible guidance to our community. Today, we notified staff on how to access their payslips on CoreSystems whilst working remotely, information for staff expecting University deliveries to either their home address or to campus; and what the interim arrangements are for campus deliveries and further information on building closures. Following last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister and having taken advice from PHE, we are suspending access to the Murray Learning Centre for students until further notice. We also took the discussion to close Winterbourne Gardens with immediate effect, following decisions by the National Trust and other parks across the country. Please see the full list of campus building closures on the intranet.

We also highlighted our staff heroes who are part of a new £20 million COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, which was announced yesterday by the government and the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor. To find out more about the ways in which the University is helping the global research effort in relation to COVID-19 please visit our new COVID-19 research page.

We also contacted all UG and PGT students to provide them with as much information and reassurance as possible about the University’s approach to the summer term examination and assessment period. Please see the full email to students. We have taken these high level decisions based on the latest information on the Coronavirus crisis, and the expectation that the April-June period will be particularly challenging.  We are now working through the detail and will provide students with further information as soon as possible. 


 *Statement last updated: Monday 23 March*

Update at 18:00

Dear colleagues,

Today marks the first day of restricted campus operations and a new way of working and engaging with each other – whether you are working from home, juggling remote access with caring for children or vulnerable dependents, or carrying out essential activities on campus to ensure that our critical research, support for students who remain on campus, and essential infrastructure continues to operate.

Significant progress has been made in reducing activity on campus - with 95% of research now being carried out remotely or in the process of being temporarily suspended until campus returns to normal operations. 100% of teaching is now being delivered online and substantial work is being carried out around our approach to next term’s exams and assessments; plans will be shared with staff and students later on this week.

Cases of COVID-19

We recognise that there is significant interest and concern in relation to COVID-19 amongst our community of staff and students. This is an unsettling time and we should be prepared for the number of cases in the UK and globally to increase and impact our community.

We have now been advised of two (unrelated) confirmed cases within our wider University community and understand that this development may cause some anxiety. Our immediate concern is for the affected individuals and their families along with the health and continued wellbeing of our staff and students. In communicating any cases we do of course have to have due regard to individual confidentiality.

As soon as we were made aware of each of these cases the staff and students in the wider Division/Department/School were contacted by email. In addition, we carried out contact tracing and alerted everyone identified who may have been in contact with them and provided further advice and steps to take. If you have not been directly contacted about either of these cases this is because it is our understanding that you have not been in contact with the individuals.

Both of these cases have occurred since Public Health England (PHE) changed its approach to testing and contact tracing. This means that PHE no longer inform the University about a confirmed case nor do they carry out the contact tracing.

We will continue to notify you of confirmed cases where we become aware of these until the University closes for Easter on Thursday 9 April. After this date we will only carry out notification and contact tracing if a case is confirmed amongst those essential workers who have been identified to continue to come onto campus. This is because by that time 14 days of Restricted Campus Operations will have been in place.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and implement appropriate measures in line with the latest PHE advice.

Working remotely

The majority of staff should have tested their ability to work remotely over the last couple of weeks and hopefully are managing to log on and access emails and files etc. If staff are having challenges then please follow the instructions in the homeworking guidelines and the IT Service Desk knowledge bank before you contact the service desk in order to help them prioritise and manage queries.

Students supporting the community in the fight against COVID-19

In addition to the pioneering research being carried out by researchers at the University, our wonderful students are volunteering their services and skills to support the community. From Computer Science student Ben Sassoon who has created a website to help people calculate how much loo roll they actually need in order to reduce panic buying, to students who have set up a food bank to support both students and locals in Selly Oak who will be self-isolating. The student group called, Selly Oak Response to COVID-19, will also pick up and deliver prescriptions and contact elderly and vulnerable citizens in the area to make self-isolation feel less lonely.

Our medical students have also been setting up a number of volunteering groups – one for UoB Medical students who are interested in working in hospital trusts in the West Midlands that are affiliated with the University over the next few months and the other is for final year medicine students, who have had their clinical placements postponed, to help out front line NHS workers with everything from school pick-ups to dog walking and running errands so they can continue to work. There are already more than 1000 students who are volunteering through these groups.

These are just a few examples of the remarkable things that our University community is doing to support each other and the wider community. Please continue to stay safe and follow the very latest guidance from the NHS and UK government.


 *Statement last updated: Thursday 19 March*

Update at 17:00 - A statement from our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood

Dear colleagues

I wanted to write to you following this afternoon’s meeting of the Strategic Emergency Response Team.

I have approved the recommendation to move to restricted campus operations from 17:00 on Friday 20 March and further details are below.

A significant amount of work and planning has taken place to ensure that the University is in the best possible place to ensure that we meet the needs of our staff, students and our wider campus operations, and can respond quickly to the latest government announcements during this unprecedented time.  For example, the speed with which colleagues have engaged with the transition to fully online teaching and learning delivery in this challenging time is testament to what we can do when we come together as a community.

It is important to note that whilst schools are closing from this Friday, research-intensive, residential universities like ours do far more than teaching and it is critical that we are able to provide services so that we can support those students that need to remain on campus and continue with core and essential national research. 

Restricted campus operations from 17:00 on Friday 20 March

I have also agreed to bring forward the move to restricted campus operations from 5pm on Friday, 20th March until 1st June at the earliest.  This means that from 5pm tomorrow the majority of buildings will be closed and most staff will be working from home.  However, a defined number of buildings that have been identified as essential will remain partially or fully open through the period of restricted campus operation but will only be accessible to specific staff for pre-agreed reasons. We also recognise that some buildings or facilities may require several days to fully close and line managers will advise staff if they are required on site after Friday 20th March to support this. If you are required to be on campus during the period of restricted campus operations please ensure that you are wearing your University ID.

While the majority of students have already returned home and will remain at home until campus returns to normal operations, we will be keeping the student residences open to support those students who are unable to return home.  The Main Library will be closed from 5pm on Friday 20th March but we are enhancing our online library services and will be identifying alternative study space on campus for those students who are unable to travel home. The Guild will also be closing from Friday 20th March.

Recognition of staff contribution

There will be a requirement for certain groups of staff to deliver and support essential services across campus during this period of restricted campus operations and I am extremely grateful to those staff from across our community.  We also want to more formally recognise this group of staff, taking account of the principles underpinning our existing reward practices. We have therefore agreed from 30th March to provide a special payment of £75 per week to this group of people, which will be paid retrospectively in full when the campus fully reopens.  This payment will be for staff up to and including grade 8 who are authorised to be on campus during the period of restricted operations and will be pro-rata dependent on hours worked during the week. 

Staff working remotely

IT has produced a guide to using University laptops or personal computers at home in order for staff to be able to continue to work effectively and deliver our core activities. The guide can be accessed via the FAQ page as part of an updated Home Working Guide produced by HR and IT.

Removal of any university property such as monitors and associated items must be agreed by a Senior Officer/Head of College (or delegated nominees such as Heads of School or Directors of Operations) and logged in the asset registers which all areas already manage. This is critical in enabling the University to be able to return to normal operations quickly and effectively when we are allowed to do so. 

We also recognise that working remotely will be challenging, and ensuring that staff remain connected with the University and engaged with their teams is very important and our internal communications team are currently developing some new channels and approaches to help with this, alongside the guidance from HR on maintaining regular one-to-ones and team meetings.

Annual leave

While we are learning to operate in uncharted ways, it is really important that the normal provisions for taking annual leave, which is provided for rest and recuperation, continue to apply and staff should be supported to take their annual leave throughout the period of restricted campus operations as they would do normally. We recognise that due to travel disruption and cancellations staff may wish to change their leave dates but we do expect that they will use their leave allocation during the current leave period. We will continue to apply the normal carry over limit of 5 days annual leave into the next annual leave year to be taken within 3 months of the start of the new annual leave year (beginning 1 January for Support staff, and 1 October for AoR/Academic staff). 

All line managers should work to ensure overall holiday plans for their areas are manageable and will not hamper the ability of the University to function both during the restricted operations period but also critically when we start to resume the breadth of our activity on campus.

Approach to refunds and paid services

There are a number of paid-for services which will inevitably be impacted by the restricted operations of the University including Meal Plan arrangements for students, subscriptions to Sport and Fitness, and nurseries.  We have developed specific approaches for each of these depending on the nature of the service and are communicating directly with those who may be affected.

Student recruitment and admissions

Teams from across the University have been working together since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure that the needs of both our current and prospective students were being considered and addressed.  In addition to the transition to online teaching and assessment for current students, in recent weeks this work has moved from helping students to return to their home countries – both international students based here and home students on a year abroad, to considering how we might deliver pre-sessional education for international students.  Yesterday’s announcement by the government that students in England will not be sitting their A Levels this summer creates another layer of uncertainty.  We are expecting more information from the government tomorrow and will share a more detailed update around this in the coming days.  We have already communicated with our applicants and offer holders to reconfirm our commitment to them as future University of Birmingham students.

I would like to thank you all for your continued commitment during this unprecedented time.  The pace at which colleagues have worked to implement these changes has been remarkable and I am sure that this will enable the University to continue to deliver our core activities and to be ready to return to normal when we are permitted to do so.

With best wishes

David Eastwood

Vice-Chancellor and Principal


 *Statement last updated: Wednesday 18 March*

Update at 15:30 - COVID-19 daily briefing (Students):

Dear Students,

As per our most recent updates, we are continuing to increase access to online delivery of teaching and learning. You will be aware that from Monday 23 March, there will be no face-to-face teaching activity, with any remaining taught content and materials for this term to be delivered through Canvas and other online platforms and channels.

We are aware that many students have already departed campus this week, for home destinations in the UK and around the world. Yesterday, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an exceptional travel advisory notice confirming that the FCO advise British nationals “against all but essential international travel”. This restriction takes place immediately and will remain in place for the next 30 days.

This advice does not affect EU and other international students who are still able to return to your home countries – subject to local travel restrictions and you should check the situation at your destination before travelling.

We are also advising that students who may have an underlying health condition; or are pregnant; or who live with or care for a dependant who is in at risk group (including elderly relatives), should not attend taught sessions or be on campus. Similarly - if you or anyone in your household has a cough or fever you should stay at home and let us know immediately.

From today, we will be planning to issue one update every day until the start of the Easter vacation, reflecting any change in the UK Government guidance. Exceptionally, if there is any significant overnight change we will try and provide an “urgent” update statement. We will also provide reminders and updates about developments at the University:

Remember -
You should follow your School’s normal processes and deadlines for requesting extensions/deferrals or submitting Extenuating Circumstances. However, we appreciate that you may not be able to provide evidence that you have been advised to self-isolate (for example, if NHS 111 have provided you with advice over the phone). Please do not worry about this – you can submit extension/deferral requests and/or ECs without evidence, as long as you explain clearly why you have been advised to self-isolate.

At all times we are keeping our frequently asked questions pages up to date and we recommend that you check these regularly.

Thank you.

Sent from the Student Communications Team


 *Statement last updated: Wednesday 18 March*

Update at 11:30 - COVID-19 daily briefing (Staff):

Every day we will be issuing a daily update staff and students. We will aim to issue these by 11:00 each morning to enable us to reflect on and respond to the latest changes in Government policy and the university approach to ensure we are providing the best possible guidance.

Below are the latest updates that relate to staff and students following the Prime Minister’s daily briefing.

Vulnerable and at risk groups

If you are in an ‘at risk’ group, or live with, or care for somebody in one of these groups and you are concerned for their welfare you do not need to come onto campus. Instead you should notify your line manager that you will be making alternative working arrangements with immediate effect. These groups include people who are pregnant, over 70, and those with underlying health conditions.

Support for casual workers

We wish to continue to support our community as much as possible during this difficult time. In order to provide additional support for casual workers engaged through Worklink we have approved exceptional measures. Where individuals are unable to fulfil assignments agreed and scheduled up to 9 April 2020 (for reasons relating to COVID-19), the University will honour these assignments and pay for the scheduled work.

Campus working and teaching

As outlined in yesterday’s message, and based on the current advice relating to educational establishments, the University is rapidly transitioning to online teaching and learning with the intention that we will be fully online by the end of this week.

We are also transitioning to a remote working and restricted campus operations model and therefore staff are reminded to check that they have access to the relevant systems when working remotely and to take any University-owned devices such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets, as well as chargers, home with them every day. Please refer to detailed guidance online for more information.

While many staff will be working remotely there will still be a number of colleagues who will continue to be based on campus in order to ensure that our critical activities such as supporting the welfare of those students who will remain in our residences, carrying out essential research and ensuring that our key systems and facilities continue to operate effectively. We are very grateful for the continued commitment during this challenging time.

Travel guidelines

The latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stipulates that British nationals should now avoid all non-essential foreign travel. This restriction takes place immediately and will remain in place for the next 30 days. Staff and students who live overseas can currently still return home, provided that the country they are in has not imposed international border restrictions or lockdowns. The FCO also warns that British Nationals should keep in mind that flights may be cancelled at short notice or other travel restrictions may be put in place by foreign governments.

Lapworth Museum and Barber Institute closed to the Public

As part of our transition to a restricted campus model, and in line with the latest government guidelines advising people to avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other social venues, we have closed the Lapworth Museum of Geology and Barber Institute of Fine Art to the public.

Future updates

In addition to the daily statements to staff at 11:00, if significant new policy changes are announced, we will of course issue a more immediate update. In the meantime, please continue to refer to our online FAQs for up to date guidance and advice, and contact your line managers/supervisors for any specific information and emergency measures.

With best wishes,
Internal Communications Team


 *Statement last updated: Monday 16 March*

Update at 21:30 - University response to the Prime Minister’s statement:

We have considered carefully this evening’s update from the Prime Minister. In light of the fact that schools and education settings are remaining open for the time being – will be continuing to implement the plans shared with staff and students this afternoon to move to online teaching, increasing working from home and restricted operations on campus.

We recognise that the situation continues to evolve rapidly and are asking all staff and students to ensure that they have tested their ability to work or study remotely.

As in the email sent earlier today we understand that many students have already chosen to return home and that other students will also be returning before the end of term.

However, we want to draw attention to some important changes - any students or staff that fall into the following categories – over 70, pregnant, or with a pre-existing health condition - should not come onto campus in light of today’s guidance from the Prime Minister. Staff in these groups should notify their manager if working from home with immediate effect.

Students should follow the correct process to record that they have left the campus using the authorised absence process. Details of this process are as follows:

For an international student with a T4 Visa: the process to notify of absence can be found here.

For a UK/EU Student: the process to notify of absence can be found here.

We will be sending a daily update to you until further notice so please keep checking for this and reading our FAQs.


 *Statement last updated: Monday 16 March*

Update at 15:30 - A statement from our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood:

A communication has been sent to all staff and students to confirm our latest plans. A summary of this email is below, but we encourage everyone to read the email carefully and refer to the FAQs.

In all our planning we have been guided by two principles – firstly the need to minimise the impact and risk to staff and students, and secondly the requirement to sustain essential operations while minimising the need for staff and students to travel to or operate from the Edgbaston campus.

Key summary of updates as of today:

Transition to online teaching and learning

Between 16 and 23 March 2020 the University will be transitioning to online teaching and by next Monday 23 March, we will move to online delivery for the remainder of this term which means that there will be no face to face teaching activity. During the transition week all programmes will move online, subject to College approval. Students will receive direct communications informing them of how they will be affected and to prepare for home study.

We anticipate that we will need to continue to deliver our education online when term resumes on Monday 27 April, including the delivery of online examinations and assessments due to commence on Monday 4 May.

We are finalising plans for the delivery of online exams and assessments next term, which will be shared with students in the next 10 days. However, it is our intention that the timing of exams will go ahead broadly as planned.

A move to restricted campus operations by the end of term

In order to minimise the risk to staff and the wider community, we will be moving to a restricted campus operation model by the end of term (17:00 on Friday 27 March). This will initially run until the Easter closed days. During this time the majority of University staff will be required to work remotely and only essential staff will be on campus. In addition, only essential buildings and services will be open and operating from this point and a list of these will be communicated by the end of the week.

Implications for research activity

We are working to a default position that on-campus research activity will cease from 17:00 on Friday 27 March as part of a move to restricted campus operations, although the majority of research activity can continue remotely. In addition, a very limited number of research activities and facilities will still need to be sustained through any period of restricted campus operations.

Wellbeing

Student wellbeing services can be accessed normally up until Friday 27 March. In “restricted campus operations mode” we will not be able to provide face to face services, but will be able to respond to general e-mail and telephone queries and where necessary make referrals to other services. Our webpages will be updated with advice and information for available services. Our website will also provide details of support and crisis services that are available outside the University.

Events

All events scheduled on campus involving external visitors from 23 March to 1 June will be moved to virtual provision, postponed or cancelled. We will continue to keep this under review, monitoring any changes in public health advice

Our longer term plans that are being developed

At this stage it seems likely that restricted campus operations will continue from 16 April 2020 until at least 10 May 2020. In addition, we anticipate that we will need to continue to deliver our education online when term resumes on Monday 27 April, including the delivery of online examinations and assessments due to commence on Monday 4 May.

Many staff and students from across the University have been working hard to plan and prepare in these challenging times. These efforts will ensure that we are as equipped as we can be to get through this unprecedented period and with the resilience required to return to normal operation as soon as we are able.


 *Statement last updated: Sunday 15 March*

Update at 15:30 - A statement from our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood:

The COVID-19 crisis is moving fast and we understand that this is causing growing anxiety amongst students and staff. A communication has been sent to all students and staff today with the latest updates, which are as follows:

As of today, our general guidance remains in line with Public Health England and government advice. This means that the University will remain open for students next week, although we will be transitioning to online delivery of teaching.

We also recognise that with increasing countries restricting travel many students, particularly (but not exclusively) international and EU students, will want to return home whilst they can. As previously communicated we want students to be assured that they can do this without any concerns about being absent from the university. Likewise, we will continue to support those students who choose to stay.

We ask that all students follow the correct process to record that they have left the campus:

For an international student with a T4 Visa: the process to notify of absence can be found here.

For a UK/EU Student: the process to notify of absence can be found here.

One key additional change is that for international students with a Tier 4 Visa the current regulations about a maximum 8 week (or 60 days) absence have been relaxed by the UK Government meaning that if students cannot return as planned they will not face any penalties or visa restrictions as a consequence of the current situation


 *Statement last updated: Friday 13 March*

Update at 15:30 - A statement from our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood:

Dear colleagues,

I wanted to write to you at this unprecedented time recognising that that many people will understandably be feeling anxious about COVID-19 and what might happen in the coming days and weeks.

Firstly I want to reassure you that should the University be notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 among our staff or students I will write to you to advise you that this is the case.  However, at the moment we are not aware of anyone who has been tested positive among the University community and therefore it is important that we continue to operate as normal for as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so.

You will have seen from other correspondence that colleagues across the University are working hard to put plans in place so that we can be ready to deal with whatever the government and Public Health England (the government’s official body) advises.  This might include extending the Easter break for students, moving to online delivery of teaching, increasing homeworking where appropriate, or reducing the activity that takes place on campus.  Birmingham is also playing an important role in the global research effort in relation to COVID-19 with academic colleagues in a number of our Colleges contributing significantly to this work.

Our priority remains the health, safety and wellbeing of our community, and as part of this I would encourage everyone to be thoughtful and supportive towards each other and ensure that we remain the diverse, welcoming, and affirming community that we are all so proud of.  The attached WHO advice around protecting our mental health in relation to COVID-19 is also particularly helpful.

With best wishes,

David Eastwood

Vice-Chancellor and Principal 


Statement regarding open days and offer holder visits: 

In light of the recent and ever changing situation around COVID-19, we have taken the decision to postpone our scheduled open days and offer holder visits to campus next week, and instead run online events which you will be able to join from any location.

You will still have the opportunity to speak to staff, learn more about your chosen programme and get a flavour of life at Birmingham. The event will run on the same day as your planned visit to campus, and we will be in touch next week with further information on how to join.

If you are registered for events beyond 22 March 2020, we will be in touch to provide further information on these events next week.


 We are regularly updating the FAQs for staff and students to include the most up to date advice: New posts include:

  • Updated information for staff in reporting sickness and recording absence  
  • Updated information for line managers in reporting sickness and recording absence 

*Statement last updated: Wednesday 11 March*

Update at 15:18 - We understand everyone is concerned about COVID-19 but can confirm at this time there are NO confirmed cases among our staff and students. It is our policy to tell staff and students should we have a confirmed case. In addition, if we did have a confirmed case, Public Health England would take over and direct us in terms of appropriate action. Please continue to visit FAQs for the latest advice and information.


*Statement last updated: Tuesday 10 March*

We are regularly updating the FAQs for staff and students to include the most up to date advice. New posts include:

  • Advice for line managers and guidelines in relation to Covid-19
  • Updated guidance for travellers returning from Italy.

 *Statement last updated: Monday 9 March*

We are regularly updating the FAQs for staff and students to include the most up to date advice. New posts include:

  • Advice if you have been diagnosed with Covid-19, are being tested for Covid-19 or have been asked to self-isolate.
  • Advice for staff with underlying health conditions.
  • Information on sick pay and payment during self-isolation
  • Advice on working from home
  • Advice on how to record absence 
  • Information on taking leave to care for a dependent 
  • Advice on overseas travel (work, personal, incoming international visitors)
  • Advice if the University has to temporarily close
  • Information for staff based in Dubai

More information and the latest Frequently Asked Questions are available here 


 *Statement last updated: Friday 6 March* 

We are regularly updating the FAQs for staff and students to include the most up to date advice. New posts include:

  • Questions for students in Dubai
  • Questions for international applicants
  • Questions for UK applicants

More information and the latest Frequently Asked Questions are available here 


*Statement Updated Thursday 5 March*

Update at 16:30  - We have had some questions regarding the emergence of a coronavirus case in Birmingham. We wish the individual a speedy recovery and can confirm that they are not a member of staff or a student and have no known links to the University*

As the global situation and response to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, we will update this page and our FAQs on the latest position in the UK, Dubai and elsewhere, as well as provide the latest guidance on what individuals can do to reduce the chance of the virus spreading. We understand the concern that the emergence of the virus is causing amongst colleagues and students and will continue to communicate the most up-to-date advice as soon as possible.

UK update 
As of today, in the UK, there have been 85 confirmed cases and the latest UK Government advice for the public is published here. The most recently updated advice contains further information for anyone who has travelled and returned to the UK in the last 14 days from a number of affected areas. Advice for returning travellers is being regularly updated and full details can be found on our coronavrius FAQs.

If you are affected by the above, staff members are advised to contact your line manager/supervisor in the first instance and your local HR Business Partner can offer advice and support. Students are advised to contact Student Services in the first instance via ss-feedback@contacts.bham.ac.uk. There is furhter information on what to do if it is agreed that you need to "self-isolate" on the government website. 

Update on University of Birmingham Dubai
The Ministry of Education in the UAE has advised all schools and higher education institutions to close for an early Spring Break from Sunday 8 March for four weeks. This means that the campus will now be closed to staff and students from Sunday 8 March until Saturday 4 April. During this time, the Ministry of Education have said that all institutions and facilities will be deep cleaned as part of measures to contain the coronavirus.

Colleagues in Dubai are implementing plans to prioritise student and staff safety and wellbeing and continue to operate as effectively as they can while working remotely from the campus and will continue to monitor the latest updates ro remain connected and be able to access the input and support they need. 

What can you do to help?
NHS advice is to:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

To compliment good hand washing and hygiene, sanitisers have been placed throughout the Edgbaston campus. Campus services are working hard to ensure stock levels are kept optimum but if you do come across any shortages please email adm-cleanliving@adf.bham.ac.uk and stock will be replenished as quickly as possible. Cleaning services are completely cleans across campus, including wiping desks and other clear surfaces and a vacuum of floors. Staff are reminded that they are responsible for ensuring the cleanliness of their IT equipment, screens, keyboards, laptops and telephones. Where present, personal bins should also be emptied daily into the nearest recycling/ general waste bins. 

If you wish to purchase additional cleaning wipes (70% alcohol) they may do so through Core Systems:

  • Supplier – John Astley’s & Sons
  • Product number – 52246
  • Product description – Disinfectant Wipes 

*Statement last updated: Wednesday 25 February 2020*

We are regularly updating the FAQs for staff and students to include the most up to date advice. New posts include:

  • Questions for returning travellers
  • I am a student with a study abroad/exchange programme in Italy, is there advice for me?

More information and the latest Frequently Asked Questions are available here


 *Statement updated Wednesday 19 February 2020*

We are regularly updating the FAQs for staff and students to include the most up to date advice. New posts include: 

  • I am a student / member of staff who works or is on placement in the NHS (clinical setting) is there any special advice for me in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
  • My visa to remain in the UK is due to expire and I am concerned that I cannot get home to China…

More information and the latest Frequently Asked Questions are available here


 *Statement updated Friday 7 February*

Based on advice from the UK Chief Medical Officers, travel advice has been updated to include travellers who have returned to the UK from the following areas:

  • China
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Hong Kong (S.A.R)
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Macau (S.A.R)

If you have returned to the UK from any of these areas in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
  • call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country 
  • Please follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.

*Statement last updated: Friday 31 January*

UPDATE – The government’s Chief Medical Officer has now advised that anyone returning from wider mainland China, if they have any symptoms, should self-isolate and phone NHS 111. This is a change from previous advice.

Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern and following this the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities.

While there are now a small number of positive cases in the UK, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty said:

“The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.

We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately. We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.”

We have put posters up around campus from Public Health England (example below) and would recommend that staff and students on campus maintain good hand hygiene to prevent any infections potentially spreading (as you would for any other illness such as the common cold and flu etc.).

Corvirus cropped

We have also heard from our partner institutions in China who have advised that Chinese Universities are closed for the forseeable future.

The previous advice below remains current. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for specific queries.


*Statement last updated: Thursday 30 January 2020*

The University strongly advises all staff and students against non-essential travel to China (including the S.A.R. Hong Kong) until further notice - which we will keep under review.

We have made this decision based on the latest advice from the FCO as well as advice from our own staff office in China, and in light of notification from institutional partners in China that they will be extending the New Year holiday and so are likely to be closed until further notice.

The Chinese government continue to impose further restrictions on movement within China in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Some airlines, including British Airways, have suspended flights to and from mainland China. Other commercial airlines are still operating, but it may become harder over the coming weeks for those who wish to leave China to do so.  The FCO advise that “If you feel that you may want to leave China soon, you should consider making plans to do so before any further restrictions may be imposed.”

If you are currently in China and are waiting for a partner institution to re-open, additional guidance is available via our frequently asked questions.

There is also information on our frequently asked questions about changing travel arrangements if you are in or about to go to China (including the S.A.R Hong Kong).

Latest advice for travellers who have visited Wuhan or Hubei from Public Health England (PHE)

If you have returned from Wuhan or Hubei in the last 14 days PHE advises:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses
  • call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city

If you need to be absent from your studies for a short period due to clinical advice then you should notify your school in the first instance and contact our support team on: ss-feedback@contacts.bham.ac.uk  We can then offer advice and support while you are in isolation.  Please do not worry about being absent from your studies for this short period.

This is an evolving situation and the advice has changed based on emerging information from China about the number of cases and spread of the infection from person to person. While the risk to the UK population remains low, this is a highly precautionary measure to limit the potential spread of infection.

Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus but have recently visited Wuhan / Hubei province within the last 14 days.  

More detailed information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

Specific advice and guidance for staff and students in Dubai

 The above advice is applicable to staff and students currently in Dubai, however further advice is also available from the Dubai Health Authority here. Staff and students in Dubai can also contact the Wellbeing team at dubaiwellbeing@contacts.bham.ac.uk.


*Statement last updated: Tuesday 28 January 2020*

The University strongly advises all staff and students against non-essential travel to China (including the S.A.R Hong Kong) until (at least) 14th February - which we will keep under review.

We have made this decision based on advice from our own staff office in China, and in light of notification from institutional partners in China that they will be extending the New Year holiday and so are likely to be closed, at least, until 17 February 2020.

We are also aware of ongoing travel restrictions, particularly in and around Wuhan and Hubei Province, extending to other cities.

We have developed some Frequently Asked Questions for further advice on changing travel arrangements if you are in or about to go to China or Hong Kong.

Latest Advice for travellers who have visited Wuhan or Hubei from Public Health England.

PHE have updated their advice today as follows - 

If you have returned from Wuhan or Hubei in the last 14 days:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses
  • call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city

If you need to be absent from your studies for a short period due to clinical advice then you should notify your school in the first instance and contact our support team on: ss-feedback@contacts.bham.ac.uk  We can then offer advice and support while you are in isolation.  Please do not worry about being absent from your studies for this short period.

This is an evolving situation and the advice has changed based on emerging information from China about the number of cases and spread of the infection from person to person. While the risk to the UK population remains low, this is a highly precautionary measure to limit the potential spread of infection.

Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus but have recently visited Wuhan / Hubei province within the last 14 days.  More detailed information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public


*Statement last updated: Monday 27 January 2020*

The University is aware of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus originating in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, with cases confirmed in other parts of China. As is consistent with the latest FCO advice, we are advising all staff and students against travel to Hubei Province.

We will continue to closely monitor FCO, WHO and PHE advice and take measures accordingly.

Advice for students

Students should seek medical attention, via the GP or by calling 111, if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK. These symptoms include –

  • symptoms of a common cold
  • fever
  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • problems breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • headache and body aches) should seek medical care.

If you are an international student, access to medical care is normally through your local doctor – also called a GP.  You need to register in advance by visiting the doctor's surgery and completing some simple forms.  All students are advised to register with a doctor straight away and not wait until they become ill.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, Public Health England has advised staff and students visiting Wuhan or returning to the UK from affected areas:

“Individuals should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK. They should phone ahead before attending any health services and mention their recent travel to the city.”

We strongly recommend that staff and students on campus maintain good hand hygiene to prevent the infection potentially spreading, as advised by Public Health England. There is more information about preventing the spread of infection on our infectious diseases intranet page

Although the risk in the UK is low, we recognise this can be a worrying time for you, and your friends and families abroad.  If you need to talk you can contact the University’s support services. You can also talk to your Wellbeing Officer in your School/College.

Advice for travellers

Public Health England has offered advice to travellers, and additional health screening measures may be in place for anyone choosing to travel.

We recognise that students and staff members may be traveling independently, particularly at the time of the Lunar New Year festival – and we would urge you to take all sensible precautions. Travel from the affected regions into the UK is now subject to additional health checks and screening at UK borders.  Students and staff experiencing persistent symptoms (similar to those of a common cold, including fever, dry cough, sore throat, problems breathing, shortness of breath, headache and body aches) should seek medical care.

In addition to the above, University staff planning business trips to other parts of China may also need to complete an assessment of risk in conjunction with their School or College.

Students from Wuhan City partners

Students from a range of partner universities in Wuhan City, Hubei Province are currently studying in Birmingham and most will have travelled to the University many months ago to commence or continue their studies. The risk of any infection in the UK is currently low. There are no new students starting at the University in January 2020 from the affected regions. 


 *Statement last updated: Friday 23 January 2020*

The University is aware of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus originating in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, with cases confirmed in other parts of China.

 As is consistent with the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice, we are advising all staff and students against all but essential travel to Wuhan city, Hubei Province.

Public Health England has offered advice to travellers, and additional health screening measures may be in place for anyone choosing to travel.

Students from a range of partner universities in Wuhan City are currently studying in Birmingham and will have travelled to the University many months ago to commence or continue their studies and the risk of any infection in the UK is currently low. There are no new students starting at the University in January 2020 from the affected regions.

We recognise that students and staff members may be traveling independently, particularly at the time of the Lunar New Year festival – and we would urge you to take all sensible precautions. Travel from the affected regions into the UK is now subject to additional health checks and screening at UK borders.  Students and staff experiencing persistent symptoms (similar to those of a common cold, including fever, dry cough, sore throat, problems breathing, shortness of breath, headache and body aches) should seek medical care.

If you are an international student, access medical care is normally through your local doctor – also called a GP.  You need to register in advance by visiting the doctor's surgery and completing some simple forms. In an emergency you should go straight to the Accident and Emergency department at a hospital.  

If, having read the advice and guidance on the above webpages, you are feeling concerned please contact your GP or the University’s Wellbeing Support Services.

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