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UK Government on COVID-19 Pandemic: ‘Schools should remain open.’

In a press conference earlier this afternoon, members of the UK government detailed their new plans for handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary measure introduced was a seven-day self-quarantine for any individual displaying minor symptoms, including a persistent cough and/or a fever. The government also advised against international school trips and all cruises, especially for those individuals aged 70 or over. Schools and universities were not advised to close, and sporting events have yet to receive a blanket ban. The Prime Minister has said that they are considering the question of banning the latter due to ‘the burden it puts on public services.’

As of this evening, 26 countries have made the decision to close schools nationwide, with an additional 20 implementing remote closures in areas which have been impacted more drastically. As of today, King’s College London administration has chosen to remain open. This position was reaffirmed in an email sent to students yesterday. The message also included a segment regarding alternative assessment procedures for the upcoming exam period, to be implemented on a department-by-department basis.

In a response to a petition started by KCL students to provide lessons online by March 9, a representative for the university said ‘We understand that this is a worrying time for our staff and students. The university is open as usual. Public Health England has confirmed that a student at King’s College London has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19). We want to assure you that PHE managed the response very swiftly and thoroughly and no special measures have been recommended. The individual had not attended any lectures when they were unwell and therefore the risk to staff, students and visitors is considered low.’ The petition has currently received just over 5,000 signatures.

 LSE decided today to suspend normal operations and deliver both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching online until the end of the current academic year. The university’s main campus is located directly opposite KCL’s Strand Campus.

If you feel that you may need to self-isolate, contact the NHS 111 Coronavirus service, notify King’s via [email protected] and notify your personal tutor and/or department to ensure appropriate support.

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