As I mentioned in the February Academic HoDs “Update”, I’m writing with further information for you on the University’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. There’s no specific action needed but please feel free to share this message with colleagues in your department. Covid-19 is undoubtedly concerning for many in our community, and it brings much uncertainty. Our response is fully aligned with governmental advice and I think we can be confident that we are planning for both mild and severe disruption to ensure we can manage the outbreak in an informed and proportionate way.
We will keep updating you as necessary so that you can manage any conversations you have with staff in your department about the coronavirus and working arrangements.
Telephone helpline and advice
We have set up a dedicated 24 hour phone line for members of our campus community to call to report if they are seeking medical advice from the NHS and to find out where they can go for support at the University. This number is 024 7652 3111 and is published on the website below. There is also an email account at firstname.lastname@example.org for queries. Coronavirus guidance pages available through insite and MyWarwick also provide extensive information and advice drawn from PHE and the FCO. These pages will be updated regularly. See www.warwick.ac.uk/coronavirus
In line with PHE advice on personal hygiene to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, there will be additional hand sanitisers distributed to toilet facilities and departments around campus, and hygiene reminder posters will be displayed.
We are reiterating PHE advice on testing, self-isolation and travel. We are aware of a small number of individuals at or linked to the University who have sought 111 advice or are undergoing testing. In line with PHE advice, we will not take action to identify people who’ve been in contact with any potentially affected individuals unless coronavirus is confirmed. We will of course make you aware if any member of your department is confirmed to have coronavirus and will provide support if any actions are required at a departmental level.
We have convened a dedicated group to coordinate our response to coronavirus and to consider business continuity issues and risks to a range of key business activities such as recruitment and admissions and education delivery. Chris Twine and Geraldine Mills are leading on this, with the welcome support of Noel McCarthy, Professor of Epidemiology in the Medical School. Our plans are informed by the need to provide proportionate and adaptable responses, informed by Governmental advice.
Information for staff
One of the more significant risks to the University community and our activities that we’ve identified is if staff are required to self-isolate, or have family or carer responsibilities for individuals required to self-isolate, and are not able to come to campus, or to work at all. There are a set of FAQs available via the web pages that will address staff issues so that we can hopefully reassure people about these scenarios. See www.warwick.ac.uk/coronavirus
I would imagine that we have all been saddened and horrified by the small number of reports we’ve seen of hate crime and violence towards individuals because of the threat of coronavirus. Some people feel vulnerable and scared, of course. But there is absolutely no place for this kind of discrimination in our community, and we have a zero tolerance approach to the perpetrators. We have a collective responsibility not just to respond reasonably and proportionately to Coronavirus itself, but also to protect and champion our global, inclusive community at Warwick - especially at a time when people have worries and concerns.
I hope the guidance online provides all the factual information and advice you need, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries or comments.
Professor Christine Ennew OBE