Uni students advised to take two Covid tests when they return

All University of Exeter students will be recommended to take a coronavirus test as soon as possible when they return to campus in the New Year – with advice saying they should complete two before beginning in-person teaching.

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com 

The university will be offering free tests to all students, including postgraduate researchers, between January 4 and February 5 using their existing test centres on the Streatham and Penryn campuses.

All students are being recommended to book tests for when they arrive in their term-time accommodation and before starting any in-person teaching, or using study or social spaces on our campuses, and should isolate until they receive a result. Students should plan to take two Covid-19 tests before beginning in-person teaching.

Mike Shore-Nye, Registrar and Secretary, said: “It is essential that you allow enough time to take your test and you should book your test to be taken as soon as possible after you arrive at your accommodation. If your preferred slot is not available choose one as close as possible to your arrival time and try to keep away from other people.

“Only by testing can we identify those who are positive and support them to isolate, and this is how we can keep each other safe, avoid further outbreaks and find ways to return to a more normal University life. If you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 90 days, there is no need for you to take another test.

“Students should plan to take two Covid-19 tests before beginning in-person teaching.”

Speaking at a Team Devon Local Outbreak Engagement Board meeting in December, Sean Fielding, Director of Innovation, Impact and Business, had added: “We will do 50,000 tests over the first month of the new year. We don’t want people coming into the city and creating an infection risk.

“The return of students will be staggered and there will be a testing schedule as and when they arrive. Every student will be asked to do two tests.”

Examinations for some students begin on January 4, with all exams online, and teaching begins for all students on January 11, but for many students this will initially be online-only

Those degree programmes with placement or practical elements which cannot be delivered online will resume in-person teaching first, with most resuming from the week beginning January 11.

New postgraduate taught students will also begin their in-person teaching from the week beginning January 11, while other final year undergraduate students and returning postgraduate taught students will resume in-person teaching in the week beginning January 25

All other Undergraduate students will resume in-person teaching in the week beginning February 1, while postgraduate research students can resume their research from January 4.

Government guidance adds: “The return of students should be staggered over five weeks – this is to minimise transmission risks from the mass movement of students, with practical and placement students returning first.

“All students should be offered testing on return to university and students who returned home over the winter break should not be encouraged to return to their term-time accommodation until their face-to-face teaching is scheduled to resume

“To minimise the risk to themselves and others on their return to university, before travelling, students should act responsibly, follow local restriction tier guidance on social contact and use local community testing programme and take a test before travelling if they have spent the winter break in a local restriction tier 3 (very high) or tier 4 (stay at home) area where this fits with locally-targeted programmes led by the Director of Public Health.”

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