A new asymptomatic testing site (ATS) offering lateral flow tests is opening at Edge Hill University for all students returning home for Christmas as part of the Government’s plans to increase UK-wide mass testing.
Edge Hill has been working with NHS Test and Trace to set up an on-campus ATS so that students without symptoms, who may be infectious but unaware, are able to get tested and asked to self-isolate if they are, or reassured quickly if they are not.
From 30th November testing will be available for all Edge Hill students with a term time address and are planning to travel home for Christmas.
Testing will be held at The Venue in the Students’ Union building, between 9am and 5pm every day between 30th November and 8th December (apart from Sunday 6th December when it will be closed) and 9am to 6pm on 9th December.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Steve Igoe said: “Following the Government’s announcement about the ‘student travel window’, we have been working with the relevant agencies so that we can provide the service and support needed to ensure students can safely head home to their loved ones.
“We know that students living in term time accommodation and are planning on returning home for Christmas may be feeling confused or anxious right now. By taking these screening tests, students will feel reassured that they are safe to travel, that they are not taking Covid home for Christmas and won’t be infecting family or community members, particularly if they are vulnerable.
“Finally, we want to thank our students, staff and partners for all their efforts this term, for behaving in a Covid-safe way and committing to our Community Pledge. As a result of us working together, there have been no reports of students living on campus testing positive for Covid-19 in the last seven days.”
The University has recently updated FAQs with details about how to book a test, the last face-to-face teaching sessions, when teaching will move online and when students should plan to travel home.
Students will be encouraged to get tested twice during the first week of December using Lateral Flow Devices. If they receive two negative tests, they are advised to return home immediately. Support and advice will be given to students should they test positive for Covid-19.
Before travelling home, students are advised to: book travel in advance, avoid busy times and routes and check their journey in advance to avoid disruptions. If driving only travel with members of your household or support bubble and follow safer travel advice (link) safety guidelines. On public transport it is important that travellers wear a face covering unless exempt, wash or sanitise hands regularly, use contactless payment and keep 2m distance where possible.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said:
“We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter COVID-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.
“Innovations such as lateral flow technology holds the key to the next phase of our ambition to see mass, rapid testing available to people across the country.
“I’m delighted that universities are working with us to use lateral flow technology, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, in helping students return home for Christmas and to return to a normal way of life as soon as possible.”
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:
“We are committed to get students back to their loved ones for the Christmas holidays as safely as possible, after this challenging year.
“Our plans already minimise the risk of students moving at the end of term, through staggered departure dates in the ‘student travel window’. But testing will offer further assurances that students can keep their families safe this winter, and I urge all students who can to take the tests on offer.”
Anyone with symptoms should follow the guidance online on how to book a PCR test www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test – or call 119. Lines are open 7am to 11pm.