Vice-chancellors have moved to reassure would-be overseas students amid concerns that the UK’s reputation as a swine flu hot-spot could put them off joining degree programmes in September.
Following a seminar on the UK’s higher education sector’s handling of swine flu today, organised by Universities UK, the chair of the event, Michael Farthing, said: “Students heading to the UK should be assured that the UK is as well prepared as any other country to deal with this situation and that includes our higher education sector. It may well be the case that some of the international students will be from countries that have themselves experienced far more cases of swine flu.”
Professor Farthing, vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex and chairman of Universities UK’s Health and Social Care Policy Committee, said: “It’s clear that universities are handling the current situation well, and have a range of contingency plans in place. We want to ensure that it’s business as usual on our campuses and that we minimise disruption and maintain as near normal operation as possible during this uncertain time.
“If things change, universities are ready to revise those plans and put them in place to ensure business continuity.”
Professor Farthing added: “So far, cases on campus have been relatively few and far between. We hope it stays that way, but we are ready for all eventualities.”