Important update on Covid-19 testing and travel guidance for the Winter vacation
By: Harvey Atkinson
Last updated: Monday, 23 November 2020
This email contains important information on the mass testing programme and travel advice the University is putting in place for the Winter vacation. Please do read this to the end as there is guidance you need to know.
Getting home for Winter vacation: testing and travel guidance
We have now had confirmation the University will be part of the Government’s mass asymptomatic testing programme (i.e. for people showing no symptoms of Covid-19). The testing programme is designed to support students to travel home safely for the Winter vacation period and universities right across the country are taking part in this national effort.
We strongly encourage you to undertake this testing, which will begin on 30 November and continue until 11 December. Students will need to take two tests over a four day period – for example, those who take a test on 30 November will be required to take another test on 3 December. Once you have undertaken both tests and received negative results, if you are going home for the Winter vacation you are then asked to travel as soon as possible. It is really important that you take the two tests to be as certain as possible that you do not have the virus and so can safely re-join your families. You can book your tests via this online form and we encourage you to do this as soon as possible.
When you book your appointment, we will ask for some information to schedule your test appointment and to help us manage arrangements at the testing site. The University won’t see any personal information relating to your test registration or results though. Further information can be found on the Student Hub and in the Government’s Coronavirus testing privacy information.
The testing will be done on the University’s campus and, unlike other tests, the test result will be made available to you within 30-45 minutes. This is called a lateral flow test. These are rapid turnaround tests that can process Covid-19 samples on site without the need for laboratory equipment, with most generating results in under half an hour.
Please note that, if you have tested positive for Covid-19 within the ten days before your booked lateral flow test, you should not undertake the lateral flow test because you will still have antibodies in your blood that could give you a false positive reading. If you have tested positive within the past ten days and have completed your ten days’ isolation, you do not need to be tested again and are safe to travel home between 3-9 December.
All students who are travelling home are being asked to do so within the ‘student travel window’ between 3-9 December if not symptomatic AND you get negative results from both tests. You should leave campus as soon as practicable after receiving your second negative test result. We expect to provide more information on the teaching arrangements for the final week of term (commencing 7 December) in next week's regular update to students.
If you test positive, then you will need to take another test that will be processed in a lab – a PCR test available from the Mobile Testing Unit or a Home Test Kit (that we can supply) – to confirm the result. If the PCR test confirms that you have Covid, you will need to self-isolate for ten days wherever you are staying during term time. When that ten days of isolation is over you can travel home. You can find more information about self-isolation on the Student Hub.
If at all possible, we would encourage you to please drive to your vacation destination (whether that is home or elsewhere) or arrange to be picked up at the campus. If this is not possible, please be mindful of peak travel times when using public transport, in particular if you will be traveling through busy areas. Regardless of your travel arrangements, you should continue to follow all of the current health and safety requirements, including wearing a mask, washing your hands and maintaining social distancing rules so that you do not increase your risk of contracting Covid on your journey home.
Guidance and information about overseas travel and Visas for international students can be accessed on the Student Hub.
All students can visit the Student Hub for further information on the asymptomatic testing programme and the student travel window.
Support services for students
Finally, we want to remind you that if you need help the University is here for you, and our friendly expert advisors in the Student Life Centre, Student Support Unit, Counselling Service, Careers and Employability Centre and International Student Support can help you on any issue – big or small.
With best wishes