There is so much uncertainty during this Coronavirus outbreak, as campuses become deserted and classes move online. Students are unsure of what they should be doing next.
Universities and staff are working to make sure students are safe and able to continue there degrees, following the government advice. Here is some information to help you through some of those unsure questions you might have.
Should I be self-isolating?
The advice from the NHS is to self-isolate if you have any coronavirus symptoms. The most common symptoms identified currently are high temperatures or a new continuous cough.
Even if you don’t have any symptoms, the government has advised to social distance. This will help to stop the rapid spread of the virus. This means avoiding meeting up with friends and family, staying away from busy areas where possible and working from home. The government has said you can go out for walks to exercise but again social distancing should be practised. This means staying away from others by two metres. The government may restrict this if the public do not comply with the advice.
Carl Heneghan, the director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences has said most young people do not have to worry about their own health. “Their role is to understand their job in slowing the spread of the disease and how it will impact older people. It’s about not overwhelming services,” he says. He advises avoiding social contact as much as possible and to stay at home where possible. The risk is who you could pass this virus onto, it could be your older parents, grandparents etc.
Does my university have a helpline?
Most universities have increased support for students and opened a dedicated helpline. In some cases, students have been asked to notify their university if they are self-isolating so the university can support you through this process. They will schedule in regular telephone check-ins. To find out more about what support is available at your university, visit your uni’s website and check your university emails for communication from vice-chancellors and heads of departments. They should be sending out regular updates to keep you informed.
Remember to be patient with communications. Everyone is experiencing this for the first time so you’re university will be coming up with the best processes to guide you through this process. This can take time.
Should you go home?
Currently, all on-campus activity has either been cancelled or paused. However, not all universities are telling students to leave so the best thing is to find information on your individual university website and email communications.
It seems most students are picking a place to stay put, some have decided to stay at uni “I have decided to stay at uni and there is a handful of us but everything has been closed down on campus” says Gemma.
For international students, the situation may be more worrying as many countries have closed their borders or putting restrictions in place. Patel says “it’s not as simple for international students. India has closed its borders and a lot of students are stuck in the UK”.
Can I still study?
A pause has been announced for face-to-face education but measures are being explored to deliver learning through online resources like recorded lectures and moving assessments online.
However, it may be difficult during this period to actually sit down and study as it is understood that this is a worrying time for all students.
How to cope with anxiety?
It is extremely important to maintain your mental health during this period. If you are aware of any peers who suffer with mental health issues, take the time to reach out and check they are okay! We all need to pull together during this period. Remember everyone is in the same boat.
The vice-chancellor at the University of Buckingham has said students should reach out for support. “Our students can talk to our specialist mental health advisors, mentors and personal tutors should they be feeling anxious or need extra support during this time of minimised social contact.”
Also, consider tasks that will help with you’re mental state. For example, keeping a routine, doing home workouts and keeping in contact with friends and family over Face-time or calls.
When will classes start again?
A lot of you have asked when classes will start again. This is unlikely to happen until September at the earliest. There is a lot of uncertainty around what will happen to assessments and grades for exams but the government has reassured everyone that steps will be taken to ensure students don’t miss out because they couldn’t take their exams.