University of Sheffield speaks out on decision to keep student village open amid lockdown

As the country goes into lockdown, the University of Sheffield has spoken out on the decision not to close one of its student villages.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 12:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 1:43 pm

In an anonymous email sent to The Star, a Sheffield resident expressed their concern that the Endcliffe student village remained open despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordering a three-week lockdown to minimise the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The resident claimed that students are “casually walking around coughing everywhere” at the site on Endcliffe Crescent and blamed the University of Sheffield saying it was “putting more students and workers at risk”.

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The University of Sheffield Endcliffe student village (google)

Now, the University of Sheffield has spoken out on the decision stating there are only a handful of people at the site – including business-critical staff and those who are not able to leave the accommodation, such as international students who cannot return to their home countries due to travel restrictions.

A University of Sheffield spokesperson said: "We understand that this is a worrying time for our students and staff and our absolute priority is their health and wellbeing.

“We have been proactively communicating with all staff and students on a daily basis to update them on the actions we are taking to keep our community safe and to stress the importance of following government advice and good hygiene practices.”

The University of Sheffield says it is treating coronavirus as a ‘major incident’.

It suspended face-to-face teaching with immediate effect on March 16, and later decided to change the term dates by ending the first half of the spring semester on March 20, beginning again on April 20.

The majority of university staff are also working from home and some teaching is taking place online.

"While many students living in our accommodation have left to continue their studies remotely, some are unable to do so or have chosen to stay,” the spokesperson added.

“We are doing all we can to support those living in our residences by maintaining vital safety and welfare services - including offering daily welfare checks by telephone - at the same time as taking all possible steps to protect business critical staff who need to be on site. We are continually reviewing our practices in line with government advice.”