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Human Resources


When anxiety is high, when personal plans have been disrupted, and when worries about our health are paramount, the kindness of fellow staff and students can make an enormous difference. We are a decent and caring University community. I am certain that, with each other’s support, we will get through what may become a difficult period.

Professor Stephen J Toope, Vice Chancellor

General advice  

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) many of us will be deeply anxious about our health, both physical and mental, and that of our loved ones. The University is doing, and will continue to do, all it can to support members of the University collegiate community during this time, and this document has been put together to offer advice and sources of support. 

To look after your mental health during this time, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that you:  

Try to minimise watching, reading or listening to the news if it makes you anxious or distressed.  

Seek information only from trusted sources, and mainly to take practical steps to prepare plans and protect yourself and your loved ones. Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts; not the rumours and misinformation. Facts can help to minimise fears.  

Protect yourself and be supportive to others.   

Assisting others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper. For example, check-in regularly via your phone with friends, family or members of your community who may need some extra assistance. Working together as one community can help to create solidarity in addressing the Coronavirus together.  

Do not associate the Coronavirus with any particular ethnicity or nationality.   

Be empathetic to all who are affected, in and from any country. Everyone deserves support, compassion and kindness.  

Amplify positive and hopeful stories and positive images of people in your community who have experienced the Coronavirus.   

For example, stories of people who have recovered or who have supported a loved one and are willing to share their experience.  

Learn simple daily exercises you can perform at home.   

This will help to keep you active and reduce boredom, in case you need to stay at home.  

For more information, visit the WHO website or download this guide to coping with stress during the Covid-19 outbreak

Wellbeing support: Internal   

Wellbeing support: External   

For links to external sources of general advice, see external sources of support. For specific guidance and resources about maintaining good mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak are available from the following organisations below:  

Home working   

Homeworking over a sustained period of time can lead to feelings of isolation. You should ensure that you are in regular contact with your colleagues, including maintaining one-to-ones and team meetings and continuing to collaborate with colleagues remotely.  Reaching out to your colleagues socially as well as professionally may also be helpful, for example by scheduling in time at the end of meetings to catch up on general news. Staying in touch with those who need to self-isolate but are unable to work at home will also be important for example by organising a buddy system. 

Please visit the Coronavirus FAQs, Homeworking Protocol for further guidance and the Institutional Guidance (link to follow shortly). 

Specific issues or circumstances  

For guidance on what you should do in specific circumstances not covered here, or for general pastoral support, students should contact your College in the first instance. Staff should contact their line manager or departmental administrator.   

The Students' Unions' Advice Service also remains available to provide free, confidential and independent support. Booked appointments and drop-ins are being delivered over telephone or Skype.  

The Staff Trade Unions are also available to provide support to staff. 


updated 3 April 2020