Figures from the university’s COVID-19 statistics web page show that 669 students and staff were confirmed testing positive for the virus as of this morning. The university, which is typically home to around 29,000 students and 8,000 staff members, has said it is providing “practical and emotional support” to all students who are having to self-isolate.
A spokesman said: “We recognise how difficult it is for students who are new to Sheffield and need to self-isolate because of Covid-19 cases.
“To make sure we are supporting students in the best way possible, we will contact all students who are self-isolating to check on their welfare and offer practical and emotional support
“We will also make sure that all students know how to access our mental health and wellbeing services while isolating.”
He added: “We are in regular contact with Sheffield City Council, Public Health England and other partners to make sure that we are sharing information about the local situation and responding to the latest guidance.”
The University also said it would continue face-to-face teaching on Wednesday and Thursday before it is suspended from Friday, with in-person classes to resume on October 19th.
As well as this, Manchester University, where there have been more than 1,000 coronavirus cases since September 21, has joined with Manchester Metropolitan University in announcing a move to online learning to protect the health of students and staff.
The Manchester universities said they had made the decision together in consultation with the area’s director of public health, supported by Public Health England.
They added they would increase the level of online learning for most programmes from Wednesday until October 30, which would be reviewed on October 23, and face-to-face teaching would continue for some clinical or practice-based classes.
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Meanwhile, staff at the coronavirus-hit Northumbria University have called on vice-chancellor Andrew Wathey to resign as UCU union members agreed to ballot for industrial action over health and safety concerns.
The university announced on Friday that 770 students had tested positive to Covid-19, including 78 who were symptomatic, with those testing positive now self-isolating in their accommodation.
Newcastle is among the worst affected cities in the UK, with its council leader Nick Forbes joining the leaders of Leeds and Manchester to write to the Health Secretary on Tuesday calling for new national restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.
Earlier, the universities minister said students could call a new helpline if they had concerns about coronavirus.
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Michelle Donelan announced the Department for Education (DfE) is launching a hotline this week – in conjunction with Public Health England (PHE) – dedicated to university staff and students.
The minister said it would be “unacceptable” for students to pay high tuition fees if an institution failed to provide support or high quality provision.
Ms Donelan added universities had the power to lower tuition fees if they did not believe they were providing a quality learning experience.