The University said on Tuesday that non-essential members of staff must work remotely and all UK-domiciled undergraduate students must return home absent exceptional circumstances.
This was in response to Boris Johnson’s announcement of strict nationwide measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. The fresh restrictions come as COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has claimed over 22,000 deaths worldwide including 465 in the UK.
The sweeping government measures include the mandatory closure of numerous non-essential businesses and a prohibition on commutes to work unless “absolutely necessary”. People must stay home except for limited purposes including shopping for necessities and exercise once a day.
The University continues to state that teaching and assessments will be conducted remotely in Trinity term, but has not yet provided new information. Vulnerable staff will work from home, and the University will grant special paid leave if they are not able to complete their duties remotely.
In line with the new government restriction on gatherings of more than two people, the University advised organisers to cancel any events or conferences taking place in the next three weeks. It also recommended making contingency plans for future events as the lockdown period may be extended.
The University also echoed the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that British students travelling abroad return to the UK where possible as further restrictions on movement may be imposed as infection numbers continue to rise.
University libraries, museums, and recreational facilities will continue to be closed with the exception of the University Parks. Although the Bodleian Libraries have discontinued the ‘Scan & Deliver’ service, which allows readers to request digital extracts from library collections, they are “considering other options to reintroduce lending on a limited basis, in the future”.
Image Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via Joint Base San Antonio, public domain.