Working together to keep COVID-19 cases low

Two students, both girls, one behind a desk, one in front. Both wearing masks

Since the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year, our whole community has come together to keep the number of positive COVID-19 cases relatively low.

We had 324 student positive cases last term, roughly evenly split across those living in halls and private accommodation. Compared to many other universities, this is a very low infection rate and something we should all be proud of.

Our priority has always been to protect our community. We’ve done this by:

  • looking after those who need to self-isolate, including delivering food and other essentials, as well as offering pastoral support and social events online;
  • establishing our Case Management Team to quickly identify close contacts of those who have tested positive;
  • setting up a testing centre to help identify people who may be unknowingly carrying the virus even though they don’t have symptoms.

Effective contact tracing

26 volunteers from across the University make up our Case Management Team. They’ve provided advice about when to self-isolate and for how long, as well as making sure students have been able to access support. Together, so far, we’ve achieved a 100% success rate for contact tracing. None of the cases to date were attributed to face-to-face teaching, indicating that the safety measures we’ve had in place have been effective.

Delivering nutritious meals

Our Catering team has also played a vital role in keeping us well, ensuring a range of fresh food options prepared on site is available for self-isolating students. In fact, they’ve done so well that the BBC visited us, and congratulated us on our remarkable catering operation in a Radio 4 broadcast.

Regular asymptomatic testing

Toward the end of last term, in just two weeks, we established a rapid testing centre for those without symptoms. We have carried out around 7,000 Lateral Flow Tests and had fewer than 20 positive cases in the period before Christmas, and 17 since the start of this term.  We continue to update our COVID-19 case dashboard daily with the latest figures of student and staff positive cases.

Our efforts wouldn’t have had such an impact if it hadn’t been for how seriously our students have taken their responsibility. The media often portrays students in a negative light, but an ONS survey in December found students follow the guidance in much the same way as the general public, and students were also more likely not to have left their home or accommodation in the seven days prior to being surveyed. Thank you for playing your part.

To find out more about what we’re doing, visit our #UoRway pages or see Essentials for further information on how we can support you.

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