Nearly 400 students and staff at QUB are self-isolating

QUB is the only college on the island of Ireland sticking with face-to-face teaching

It has been revealed that almost 400 staff and students of Queen’s University Belfast are self-isolating or have tested positive for coronavirus in the first two weeks of term.

With this number, 166 individuals had alerted the university that they had tested positive.

This is not the first time QUB has come under fire since the return of 25,000 students to campus, following recent incidents of house parties in the Holylands and Elms in breach of public health guidance.

With this, the University has also faced criticism in the midst of a dispute with the University and College Union (UCU), after reportedly being the only college on the island of Ireland which is still facilitating face-to-face teaching.

However, the new normal as many of us have experienced is nothing short of stringent across campus, with face masks mandatory across campus and in lectures, reducing contact hours to facilitate deep cleans of teaching areas and one way systems enabled across campus as well as a testing centre at the PEC.

Cases of Covid 19 are rising across universities despite teaching being delivered mostly online.

A QUB spokesperson said the university was in daily contact with the Public Health Agency (PHA) to ensure further prevention protocols across campus remained accurate.

“Following a positive case, any students or staff members who are considered to be at risk, including other members of the household, are asked to self-isolate”.

They added: “It should be remembered that the numbers being reported are cumulative and not reflective of the number of new cases on a particular day.

Universities across the UK and Ireland have been cesspits for concern in recent headlines, following the mass detection of cases in key University cities.

These universities include Northumbria University where 770 students have tested positive and Manchester Metropolitan University where many halls are in full lockdown following a surge of cases.

Whilst the cases are rising across universities even with online teaching, the question is, is there an effective way to facilitate higher education and manage the coronavirus?