Everyone at UKCISA and Universities UK International understands that it is a difficult time for many international students. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and advice from institutions, and from the governments in the UK and other countries is understandably being updated on a very frequent basis. Student and staff wellbeing is the top priority for ourselves and our university members and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that everyone has the support they need.
Please be reassured that we are working constantly with UK government departments, our members, and other sector organisations, taking every possible measure to ensure the university community is well-informed, supported and safe. The health of all students and staff is of the utmost importance to university leaders and operational and contingency planning to manage the outbreak is underway across our institutions. This is a constantly-evolving situation and universities are planning for all possible scenarios.
UK universities understand that a university 'closure', which can mean a variety of things, may cause anxiety for students who cannot return home. Universities understand that a student's halls are usually their main home for much of the year and universities will support those students who cannot or do not want to go home.
We are seeking specific advice from the government on self-isolation in shared accommodation. The focus for universities who have students in this situation would be to ensure every possible measure is being taken to support them during self-isolation, to ensure this is effective but also that their needs are met.
For more general support, students should check their institution's website and contact their wellbeing support services, or phone UKCISA's Student Advice Line on +442077889214 (1–4pm UK time, Monday–Friday).
Update: 23 March
The UK government has now issued guidance on isolation for residential educational settings.
It notes that 'It is important that institutions operate a ‘non-eviction’ policy if students have no alternative residence' and that this 'is particularly important for international students who may not be able to return home due to travel restrictions.'