INTO University Partnerships – Novel Coronavirus FAQs for Education Counsellors, Students and Parents

7 February 2020

A message from John Latham, CEO, INTO University Partnerships

INTO holds dear our strong relationships with so many across China and I, on behalf of the whole company, would like to express our sincere sympathies to all those in China and worldwide who have been affected in any way by the ongoing Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCov) outbreak.

The health and safety of our students within our UK and US centres, and our colleagues in China and around the world is of paramount importance to us. We want to keep everyone as updated as we can. Please rest assured that we, along with our university partners, are doing everything possible to provide all our students with the support and assistance that they need.

Where can I find the latest on the Novel Coronavirus outbreak and what precautions to take?

The situation remains fluid and we urge everyone to keep abreast of the latest updates and announcements from the following official advisory services:

What is the current travel advice from the UK or USA to China?

Please visit the official UK and US advisory services listed above.

I’ve just returned from China (but not Wuhan), what do I do?

Please follow the official UK and US advisory services guidance

What are INTO Centres doing as precautions?

The risk to any of our students contracting the virus remain low. At INTO, all classes will continue to run as normal. All our centres are working closely with their university partners to ensure the safety of all students and staff. Each campus may have their own protocols but as standard we have put various precautionary and advisory measures in place:

  • We have been monitoring all student arrival dates that have travelled to the UK and US from Wuhan/Hubei since the main outbreak. From this we can confirm that we have no students who are infected as we know they have been through the 14-day virus incubation period with no symptoms
  • We have low expectations of many Chinese students arriving to our centres at this time of the year/term but, where we have some, we have told any student who has arrived in the UK or USA to self-isolate for 14 days and they must not come into any of our centres and contact their local Student Support Services team who can offer further support that they may need during this time.
  • We are assuring students who may be affected that all student support teams, and teachers/instructors/professors are aware of what is happening, so that they are not dropped from classes, or marked as absent. We do not want anyone’s grades to suffer due to absences caused by this issue. Of course, any missed assignments will need to be completed at a later date, and full support and understanding will be given
  • We are providing all students with the latest information and advising them to read the latest governmental advisory updates.
If you are concerned

At INTO, all classes will continue to run as normal, but, if anyone is concerned about their own health or the health and wellbeing of any friends, the advice is that they should call ahead to their GP/doctor before visiting them. Please also advise your Support Services team.

Symptoms and prevention

Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to that of many other seasonal illnesses (e.g. cold and flu symptoms). Here is a list of common coronavirus symptoms:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

There is some useful information from the World Health Organization (WHO) on their standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices. This can be found here - https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

I am a parent and have a concern about my child. Who can I contact to discuss?

We are being vigilant with every student and if any student has flu like symptoms or is concerned, they should stay at home, phone 111, call their doctor and follow all public health guidance in relation to the prevention of spreading of flu. If there is a particular issue you should contact your educational advisor in the first instance

I am a student in China looking to take an INTO programme next year or start an undergraduate/graduate degree programme at INTO partner university and due to the outbreak, I may be unable to submit my transcripts, complete relevant documentation and take any appropriate language tests. Is there any additional support or advice INTO can give me?

At INTO we understand that this will be a difficult and uncertain time for all our applicants from the Chinese mainland and surrounding areas, and we will look to make every allowance that we can, where applicants have difficulty providing documents.

UK applications

Some documentation is required by UKVI as part of an applicant’s application for a visa to study in the UK, and INTO have limited control over that. We are working hard, along with the rest of the Higher Education sector, to secure exceptional arrangements for students who may be adversely affected by a long delay in being able to take an IELTS test, for example. Our advice to any students who still need to take an IELTS test is to book a test as soon as this becomes possible, as there are likely to be longer waiting times for test dates. Any students who think they will have difficulty in providing final transcripts or other documents required for their INTO application should speak either to their Educational Advisor, or the UK Central Admissions team, who will be able to advise of any alternative options that may be applicable.

USA applications

All INTO US centers accept Duolingo English proficiency test for most pathway programs and some degree seeking programs. The test is available online and students are able to complete the test from their home in 1 hour and get results in 2 days. Since many Chinese schools and universities are currently closed, we will request that updated transcripts be sent in 1 week after the school/university reopens.