The Covid-19 (coronavirus) infection has now been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organisation.
It is sweeping through the UK as well as the rest of Europe, the United States and across the world, and the different countries are currently taking different approaches to attempting to contain the health crisis. With law schools and universities in Italy, Spain, Ireland and France closed for the next few weeks and other European countries expected to follow suits soon, Public Health England is currently advising all UK law schools and universities that activities should continue as normal.
What are UK law schools & universities doing?
However, many law schools and universities are taking certain decisions of their own as a precaution against Covid-19, particularly moving towards as many remote learning and academic meetings as possible for the next few weeks. For example, Durham University is continuing with teaching until the end of term with the library staying open, however classes are to be accessed by the students remotely as stated on their website.
“From Monday 16 March until the end of Term (Friday 20 March), classroom teaching of all forms will cease and alternative modes of teaching should be used by all instructors.”
Meanwhile the University of Bristol has decided to bring forward the end of teaching for the current term from Friday 27 March to this Wednesday 18 March. And many UK law schools and universities are ceasing face-to-face teaching for the time being and moving to remote lessons.
All UK law schools ultimately have the wellbeing of their students as their prime consideration and are taking regular advice from Public Health England and are publishing regular updates on their websites as to their teaching, access, position and in some instances confirmed student Covid-19 cases – so keep checking your university’s website to keep up to date with their policy re lessons and exams.
What should you do if you think you might have coronavirus?
If you have any of the common symptoms of coronavirus – temperature, cough, sore throat – according to the latest advice in the UK you need to self-isolate for seven days if you live alone. At the end of the week if you no longer have a fever and are feeling better you can return to your normal routine at your university. If you are living with other people the government changed the policy as of 16th March to say that the entire household now needs to self-isolate for 14 days, even if the rest of the household isn’t displaying symptoms. While you are stuck at home in self-isolation make sure you communicate your situation with your lecturers, and if you feel capable of working they should be able to send you through details of lectures, research, essays, etc so you can keep up with your studies at home.
If your symptoms persist beyond the seven days of self-isolation the current advice is to call 111 and discuss your situation with an NHS professional.
Dos & don’ts of self-isolation
Here is the current government advice of what you should do.
Ask others to deliver essentials such as food and medicine so you can stay at home – but make sure you ask them to leave it on the doorstep/front door so you can avoid contact with them.
Wash your hands regularly with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds – it’s longer than you think so try singing two rounds of ‘Happy Birthday’ before you turn the tap off!
Drink plenty of water.
Keep away from older people (over 70-years-old) and those with long-term health conditions.
Take paracetamol regularly to ease pain and keep your temperature down.
And what about the don'ts?
Don’t go to law school.
Don’t have any visitors.
Don’t go out for a walk.
Don’t share dishes, cooking utensils, drinking glasses, cups, etc.
Don’t use the bathroom at the same time as others – try and use a completely separate bathroom if you can, and if this is not possible make sure you clean it as best you can after use.
As it is such a new disease and behaving in such an unprecedented fashion, the information and advice on Covid-19 and government policies regarding public safety are changing on an almost daily basis. Please note that the information and advice provided in this blog was correct at the time of publication on 16th March but could change in due course and we will do our best to keep you updated as and when any major changes happen.