UNIVERSITY bosses have told people in Brighton and Hove that there are measures in place to stop the spread of coronavirus as students return to the city after the summer break.

This follows the news this week that a "small number" of University of Sussex have tested positive for the illness and are currently self-isolating with their housemates.

There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus at the University of Brighton, a spokesman for the institution told The Argus this afternoon.

University of Brighton vice-chancellor Professor Debra Humphris and University of Sussex vice-chancellor Professor Adam Tickell issued the joint statement today.

READ MORE>>>University issues statement after coronavirus outbreak

They said that both universities had been working hard over the summer to "ensure that campuses are Covid-secure environments in line with all official guidance".

They also detailed how staff and students at the universities have been asked to sign-up to a "community commitment" to "act responsibly and in ways that help to keep everyone safe and well".

In the statement, they said: "We know that some local residents may feel anxious about the arrival of students back into the community and we would like to reassure you that the health and safety of our students, staff and local community are our highest priorities.

"Over the summer we have been working hard to ensure that our campuses are Covid-secure environments in line with all official guidance and are working in close liaison with the City Council and local public health authority."

The statement also listed the measures currently in place to limit the spread of infection: 

  • "Any students who have travelled from a country where quarantine is required are fully supported to safely quarantine in university-managed halls of residence.
  • "Our campuses are ‘Covid-secure’ by social distancing at 2m wherever possible (aided by one-way systems and signage); reducing and reconfiguring building and room capacity, increasing ventilation, regular deep cleaning and disinfection, providing access to hand sanitiser and requiring face coverings where appropriate.
  • "The numbers of students and staff needing to be on campus at any one time is reduced through changes in the way that teaching is delivered, adjustments to the teaching timetable and requiring staff to continue to work from home where possible.
  • "The demand for public transport is managed by moving to a blend of online and small group teaching, and extending the teaching/working day. We're asking staff and students to only come to campus where necessary, and are also encouraging walking and cycling safely wherever possible.
  • "Both universities work closely with the NHS Test and Trace to help identify those who may have been in close contact with a positive case in our communities and react as quickly as possible."

Professors Humphris and Tickell also spoke of their pride at how current and former students, along with staff and academics, had helped contribute to the enormous effort of fighting the coronavirus crisis.

READ MORE>>>List of Brighton and Sussex schools to have had confirmed cases of coronavirus

In the statement, they said: "We are proud of the way that staff and students at both of our universities have stepped up to support our local community, NHS and social care sector during the pandemic.

"This includes the thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals we produce every year, who play such a vital role in our local NHS.

"Some of our academics, including at our jointly-run Brighton and Sussex Medical School, are playing a critical role in global efforts to develop effective treatments for Covid-19, while others are carrying out research to help improve the ways in which we manage the many impacts of any future pandemics.

"Our universities are proud to be part of our local community and we will continue to do everything we can to help our city to recover from the impacts of the pandemic."