Following a suspected case of coronavirus at the University of Birmingham Business School, the University will be accelerating its plans for online teaching

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One suspected case of COVID-19 was identified at the University of Birmingham on Monday evening. The patient, a member of staff at the University’s Business School, has been hospitalised. The University intends to bring forward its current contingency plans, it stated on social media.

The University will close non-essential campus buildings and services from next Friday, the 27th March. Several departments have already moved to online teaching and the majority of staff will be required to work remotely following the campus closure, the Vice-Chancellor said in an email to staff members earlier on Monday. The measures mean face to face teaching will cease, with canvas and online-learning replacing conventional methods. Events on campus featuring external visitors will also be postponed or cancelled from next Monday. 

The development comes as the government raised the risk of coronavirus in the UK to high. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said from Tuesday social venues including pubs and nightclubs should be avoided and mass gatherings were something the country is ‘now moving emphatically away from.’

Johnson said: ‘Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.’

The Guild of Students plans to make several decisions in the coming days. Joshua Williams, President of the Guild of Students, said, ‘I do not have any more information at present but I will do my utmost to share this as it is confirmed. It is a quickly developing situation and we will try our best to communicate these updates to students.’

The University believes campus will remain closed for non-essential services until at least the 10th May 2020. It plans to commence online examinations from Monday 4th May, it said in a statement on Monday.