Coronavirus Advice

The following message is for apprentices and employers who may have concerns about the Novel Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19).

  • The University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre remains open, but we have no alternative option, given the current circumstances, but to temporarily suspend face-to-face teaching from Monday 16 March. This means that students should not attend the AMRC Training Centre until further notice.

The AMRC Training Centre is part of the University of Sheffield and we are treating this as a major incident.  Our top priority is always the health and safety of students, staff and those who make up our wider community across the globe.

We will continue to issue any further advice and guidance as it becomes available, so we encourage everyone to read the information contained within these FAQs carefully and regularly, and to follow the instructions given.

We're closely following the latest advice and guidance issued by the UK government, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We will continue to take all appropriate and necessary steps, as required by the official advice, to keep our community safe.

We want to reassure you that we are doing all we can to plan for all possible circumstances, and as the situation changes we will keep you updated with any further action you may need to take. Please keep checking these pages for updates.

Frequently asked questions

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses common around the world,which may cause illness in animals or humans. The Novel Coronavirus (or COVID-19) originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019, but cases have since been confirmed in other parts of China and in countries around the world.

Public Health England has assessed the current risk to the public as ‘low to moderate’ and will be working with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the NHS and other international partners constantly to review the situation.

As outlined on the NHS website, novel coronavirus (Covid-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • Respiratory symptoms including a new, persistent cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • High temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • Shortness of breath
  • A loss or change to your normal sense of smell or taste

The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild, although symptoms can progress to severe pneumonia and breathing difficulties in people with weakened immune systems such as; older people, with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Most people get better with enough rest, water to drink and medicine for pain.

The World Health Organisation and NHS guidance suggests good hygiene practice to avoid the spread of infection, as well as social distancing which you can find information on below.

  • Washing your hands with soap and hot water more regularly than normal - do this for at least 20 seconds, or twice the amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday.
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work.
  • Or if hand-washing facilities are currently unavailable, using hand sanitiser until you can wash your hands again.
  • 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 (with a lid if possible) straight away and wash your hands immediately afterwards.
  • Do not not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Avoiding sharing food, drink and utensils.
  • Thoroughly cooking meat and eggs and avoiding raw or undercooked animal products.
  • Regularly cleaning surfaces with disinfectant, such as desks, phones (including your mobile phone), keyboards and mice.

Public Health England have prepared an advice sheet for places of education which you may wish to share around your department. It is aimed more at schools, but the information is still applicable.

On Monday 23 March 2020, the government announced strict new social distancing measures, it is the single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus by staying at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

People will only be allowed to leave their homes for the following very limited purposes:

  • Shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible
  • Exercise, for example a run, walk, cycle, alone or with members of your household
  • Any medical need to provide care or help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work, only when absolutely necessary and when it cannot be done from home

These restrictions apply to all staff and students, including Undergraduates, Postgraduate Taught students, and Postgraduate Research students, including those living in University accommodation. Unless you have specifically been asked to do so for business critical reasons, please do not access campus facilities.

If you have a high temperature and/or a new continuous cough you should stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started. If you live with someone who has symptoms, you'll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person in the home started having symptoms also.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation, or are no better within seven days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency call 999.

Public Health England (PHE), has published detailed advice for people self-isolating and those living with someone who is self-isolating:

COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

It is imperative that you follow these guidelines. This means remaining in your accommodation, not coming to campus and limiting your contact with others.

There are three groups of people who are currently being asked to self isolate, with different advice depending on those scenarios:

  1. Those who have a confirmed or possible coronavirus infection
  2. Those living in a household with a confirmed or possible coronavirus infection
  3. Those with, or living with someone with, a pre-existing health condition

Please see detailed guidance below:

  1. Those who have a confirmed or possible coronavirus infection or symptoms

This only applies to those who live on their own.

If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus, or who have a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature, you need to stay at home for seven days from when these symptoms start.

If after seven days, you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine. If you have not had any signs of improvement and have not already sought medical advice, you should contact NHS 111 online, or phone on 111 if you cannot access the internet.

  1. Those living in a household with a confirmed or possible coronavirus infection

This applies to those who live in the same dwelling as other people, including family members, housemates, etc.

If someone in your household has a high temperature and/or new consistent cough, then that person should self-isolate for seven days, but the whole household should self-isolate for 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.

After 14 days, anyone who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine. If you do develop symptoms at any point within this 14 day period, that person should then also stay at home for a further seven days from the day your symptoms start.

  1. Those with, or living with someone with, a pre-existing health condition

If you have one of the pre-existing health conditions as identified by Public Health England, or are at high risk of contacting coronavirus, you can explore ways of minimising the risks of contracting coronavirus. A full list of the conditions can be found on the government website on social distancing and include:

  • Not leaving your home – you should not go out to do shopping, visit friends or family, or attend any gatherings
  • Avoiding close contact with other people in your home as much as possible

There are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The government has provided guidance around shielding for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support.

The health and wellbeing of our staff and students is paramount and we are committed to supporting you through these challenging times. If necessary, the University will support you in staying away from the campus to protect your health.

However, ways to implement appropriate social distancing within the campus for those staff or student researchers still needing to be on site, where necessary, should also be explored. For example by identifying an alternative location or office space in which they can work, not requiring them to attend meetings in person and changing some of the duties they undertake.

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