From remote learning to providing labs to research COVID-19, higher education has been characteristically creative in its response to the COVID-19 crisis
COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge to the UK’s higher education sector. Not since the Second World War have campuses seen studies put on hold and closed for the duration.
Despite this challenge, work has not stopped. Far from it. In many ways it has adapted itself in a positive and innovative ways to the challenge that the sector and the wider community faces. Here are just some of the way’s academia has marshalled its resources to contribute to the battle being waged by the NHS and key workers against COVID-19.
A large number of universities have set up research funds to fast-track studies into the new virus. Teams at Oxford University and Imperial College London have made “rapid progress” on trials to develop a vaccine to the virus. Imperial is among the institutions that have been at the forefront of efforts to model and map COVID-19’s spread. 
Universities have also been contributing to the frontline efforts, too. It feels heart-warming to appreciate the breadth and scale of efforts taking place to boost the frontline in all sorts of ways.
Engineers at the University of Warwick are 3D printing face shields for NHS workers to use, taking just six minutes to print each visor. Part of a range of efforts, Warwick’s students and staff are contributing ventilators, visors, volunteers and testing. Researchers at the University of Birmingham’s School of Chemical Engineering are making face visors for use by frontline medical staff at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. 
University of Birmingham experts also developed disposable plastic ‘pop up tents’ that covers the patient’s head, neck and shoulder area, creating a protective barrier between healthcare workers and patients. The Disposable Resuscitation, Intubation and Nebulisation Kit Shield – or DRs INK Shield – has gone from concept to taking orders in just one week. 
Portable and accurate tests for COVID-19 have been pioneered at University of South Wales. University of Chester is among those institutions that have pooled medical supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to reinforce hard-pressed health workers.
Newcastle University has handed over its campus buildings and facilities for NHS use. Among its many efforts, it is manufacturing PPE, giving to food banks, and sending its screening and testing equipment to bolster the NHS.
Medical students have seen their studies cut short to send them off straight to hospitals to broaden the ranks of the NHS. Other students are providing childcare or animal care for key workers, helping them stay at work to fight the virus.
While higher education teaching has in many cases gone online to make the most of remote learning technology, fears about many students’ ability to overcome the strain on personal finances caused by the virus has led to emergency funds set up to help lighten the burden for those struggling with fees and other costs.
The effects of COVID-19 will be profound for higher education, and they will long outlast the virus itself. What we can say, through the amazing work going on at these institutions and many others not mentioned here, is that universities are alert to these challenges, and they are working night and day to combat COVID-19.
Published Date: 20th May 2020
This note is not intended to give legal or financial advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon for such. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and or market practice in this area. In preparing this note we have relied on information sourced from third parties and we make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein. It reflects our understanding as at 18th May 2020, but you will recognise that matters concerning COVID-19 are fast changing across the world. You should not act upon information in this bulletin nor determine not to act, without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Our advice to our clients is as an insurance broker and is provided subject to specific terms and conditions, the terms of which take precedence over any representations in this document. No third party to whom this is passed can rely on it. We and our officers, employees or agents shall not be responsible for any loss whatsoever arising from the recipient’s reliance upon any information we provide herein and exclude liability for the content to fullest extent permitted by law.
Should you require advice about your specific insurance arrangements or specific claim circumstances, please get in touch with your usual contact at Risk Management Partners.
Risk Management Partners Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: The Walbrook Building, 25 Walbrook, London EC4N 8AW. Registered in England and Wales. Company no. 2989025
Risk Management Partners Limited is the data controller of any personal information you provide to us or personal information that has been provided to us by a third party. We collect and process information about you in order to arrange insurance policies and to process claims. Your information is also used for business purposes such as fraud prevention and detection and financial management. This may involve sharing your information with third parties such as insurers, reinsurers, other brokers, claims handlers, loss adjusters, credit reference agencies, service providers, professional advisors, our regulators, police and government agencies or fraud prevention agencies.
We may record telephone calls to help us monitor and improve the service we provide. For further information on how your information is used and your rights in relation to your information please see our privacy notice at https://rmpartners.co.uk/privacy-policy. If you are providing personal data of another individual to us, you must tell them you are providing their information to us and show them a copy of this notice.