The University’s response to COVID-19

Coronavirus

  • 18 March 2020
  • 5 min read

The University is facing an unprecedented set of circumstances with the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Throughout this fast developing and ever-changing situation, our priority has always been and will always be to keep our students, staff and the wider community safe.

Over the past few weeks, we have taken a number of proactive steps and decisions, in line with UK Government and Public Health England advice, to respond as quickly as possible to present circumstances.

The context is evolving daily and these are some of the actions that have already been taken, alongside areas of continued work and future planning.

Our actions

  • A Coronavirus Strategy Group, made up of University senior management, has been established to formulate and oversee the University’s approach to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and determine all decisions that have a University-wide impact.
  • We suspended all face-to-face teaching for students on taught programmes from 13 March. It’s important to say we are not closing the University - just changing the way we deliver teaching. All teaching material will be moved online so that from Friday 20 March all students can continue their studies to completion virtually. In almost all cases, outstanding assessments will also be completed online.
  • We set up a University Coronavirus Information line - +44 (0)23 9284 5588 and infoline@port.ac.uk - to help manage enquiries from students, parents and guardians about coronavirus.
  • The information line is managed by MyPort staff to coordinate responses and give clear, consistent advice about University policies and procedures in response to the coronavirus outbreak, including our emergency response team who will liaise with Public Health England in the event of a coronavirus case on campus. Specific queries will be forwarded on to subject experts, for example UoP Global for international student visa enquiries.
  • We are providing our students and staff with regular information and updates, through all-staff and student emails, social media updates and a Coronavirus webpage with the latest information, advice and FAQs.
  • We have suspended all University events and unnecessary large internal meetings, such as Global Week, the Chancellor’s Dinner and Academic Council. Many of these meetings can be conducted virtually, and where necessary, decisions can be taken by email.
  • We have been and will continue to be in constant contact with the Director of Public Health at Portsmouth City Council and the Portsmouth Emergency Committee.
  • Ahead of the Government updating its advice earlier in the year, we cancelled University organised staff and student travel to China, other parts of Asia and Northern Italy, and stopped a small number of student placements in China and Hong Kong. 

We appreciate that staff and students may be feeling anxious and concerned during this extremely difficult time. We want to provide reassurance that the University has in place and is developing a strong response, which is focused on protecting as far as possible the health and wellbeing of our staff and students, while ensuring that we complete the current year of education of registered students.

It is important that any actions we take do not unreasonably affect the education and future prospects of our students and that we ensure the strength of the University for future cohorts of students.

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