On March 4th, KCL emailed students and staff regarding a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case within its community. The university is planning to be "operating as normal."
However, this disregard for risk is unsafe for multiple reasons. KCL's campus is highly populated - students go to class and eat together. If the Senior Officers do not take action, the virus has potential to jeopardise not only the health of our students and staff, but also our families and neighbors.
The university's failure to be transparent about the incident is also highly concerning. In the email distributed, the news about having a case in the university was not disclosed until the fourth paragraph. Numerous students reported missing this detail, as if it were not important. As of 9pm on March 4th, (https://www.kcl.ac.uk/coronavirus) contains no information regarding the case.
Some schools in the UK have already sent pupils and staff home when cases of coronavirus were suspected. Universities without coronavirus cases in Italy have been closed. Universities such as Stanford University have been requesting school closure, even without a confirmed coronavirus case. Clearly, action needs to be taken right now before opportunities arise for greater danger.
President & Principal Edward Byrne - please listen to your community. We're requesting that you:
1. Protect your students and staff
2. Transition to entirely online learning by the end of March 9th, which already exists through Lecture Capture on KEATS
3. Inform students about confirmed cases of coronavirus in a straight-forward fashion
4. Continue to provide more resources to combat racism and hate speech; make it more clear in your communications that discrimination should not be tolerated
5. Recognise your impact; protecting our greater community beyond students and staff is key and is the right thing to do