We recognise that those working in the  museum and heritage learning sector are facing a very uncertain time with the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, GEM has pulled together the following guidance from health professionals, the UK govenerment as well as educators and arts and culture organisations for the benefit of those working in education.

Q: What is Coronavirus (Covid-19)? 

A: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats. Several coronaviruses routinely infect humans and are a cause of the common cold. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as has occurred with MERS- CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

Q. What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)? 

A. The World Health Organisation is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in many locations internationally, including the United Kingdom. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes is named “coronavirus disease 2019

Q: What can I do to protect myself and others? 

A: First and foremost, apply standard precautions in your everyday practice by washing/sanitizing hands often, and use appropriate personal protective equipment when appropriate. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, followed by washing/sanitizing hands. Also clean surfaces and items you use often (cell phones, etc.) at least once a day.

Read the latest from the NHS about COVID-19 here.

Children and COVID-19

 It’s important not to understate that coronavirus is a serious issue. However, the language and increasing culture of fear around the illness can cause fear and alarm in children, especially when they are out of school. The resources below address how to talk to children about coronavirus in an informative, calming and effective way.

Museums/Heritage Sites and COVID-19

As museums and heritage sites begin to close worldwide, organisations need to have a business continuity plan in place and support remote working for employees. For many front of house employees and those working in public-facing education roles, it’s not possible to perform their role from home. The following articles and resources address how museums and heritage sites across the world are addressing coronavirus, safety procedures and digital innovations for working and teaching.

Mental Health and COVID-19

Those with pre-existing mental health conditions are particularly vulnerable during this uncertain time. GEM encourages everyone to practice self-care and read the following guidance on remaining well while staying properly informed.