Liverpool's universities have responded to the sweeping new changes introduced by the government to reduce the chances of a second coronavirus pandemic.
Yesterday the government announced a raft of new measures that will be brought in for the region - including a ban on households mixing and new closing times for pubs and restaurants.
Now The University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts have all lent their full support to the measures.
And the universities, in an open letter, have said that the new measures will not affect teaching activities at the respective institutions.
The universities have already put in place steps to reduce the spread of the virus. They are:
• made changes to our teaching delivery, moving some classes online and ensuring socially distanced face-to-face delivery;
• ensured each of the university buildings is COVID-secure;
• implemented one-way walking routes, social distancing markers, socially distanced study space, new cleaning regimes and a range of other measures on our campuses;
• introduced appropriate measures in our owned halls of residence and worked closely with accommodation providers across the City to share best practice;
• worked alongside the City’s Student Unions to plan a programme of online events to welcome students to campus. The student unions have devised ways for students to make friends and expand their network safely, get settled in to university life and get support if and when they need it;
• introduced new arrival processes for students;
• supported international students to quarantine safely on their arrival to the UK;
• communicated regularly with all our staff and students on the measures they need to take to keep themselves and others safe; and
• developed a joint Student Community Pledge which asks students to commit to demonstrate their shared commitment to respectful and responsible citizenship.
The open letter read: "We are proud that our institutions have played – and continue to play – an important role in tackling the pandemic. Our world-leading researchers are seeking solutions to the pandemic and its impacts, we have supplied NHS staff with PPE, accommodation and car parking, our staff and students have helped on the NHS frontline and many of our students have supported local community projects to support the vulnerable and isolated during the pandemic. We remain committed to doing all that we can to ensure we play our part in tackling COVID-19 across the City Region."
Announcing the new measures yesterday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We are seeing cases of coronavirus rise fast in Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, Warrington, Halton and Wolverhampton. Local leaders in these areas have asked for stronger restrictions to be put in place to protect local people, and we are acting decisively to support them.
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"I know these restrictions will make every-day life harder for many, but I know that residents will work together and respect the rules so we can reduce rates of transmission."
He added: "I urge local people to isolate and get a test if you have symptoms, follow the advice of NHS Test and Trace, and always remember 'hands, face, space'. By sticking to these steps, we will get through this together."