Cambridge University weekly Coronavirus Testing Programme to continue

Students are also encouraged to get tested before, and upon their arrival at Cambridge University

It has been announced to Cambridge University students today (08/09) via email that the weekly Asymptomatic Testing Programme for Coronavirus will return on September 24th. The email also encourages students to take lateral flow and PCR tests within four days of arriving in Cambridge.

The Asymptomatic Testing Programme, which tests students weekly for Coronavirus infection, will re-commence on the 24th of September for “at least the first four weeks of term (subject to review).”

Students who participated in the programme last year will automatically be enrolled for this coming year, whilst students that have not taken part before may sign up in advance using the University’s online consent form. More information concerning the return of the programme will be released by colleges soon.

The email also outlines that all students returning to Cambridge “should take a government lateral flow test (LFT) three to four days before they travel,” one one the day of travel as well as a University PCR test “at least within 4 days” of arriving in Cambridge.” This PCR test can be procured either from the “Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme, or an individual ‘Return to Cambridge’ test.”

The email’s authors, who are all associates of the Asymptomatic Testing Programme, also highlight that test results from the University of Cambridge testing programmes are not suitable for the testing and quarantine requirements for international travel.

The email adds that the aim of the continuation of the Asymptomatic Testing Programme is to identify infected students “who would not otherwise know that they are carrying the (Corona) virus.” The authors outline that this is “especially important” due to the “more infectious ‘delta variant’.” The add that it “can still be transmitted in populations with high levels of vaccination” and affect “people who remain vulnerable to COVID-19 despite being vaccinated themselves.”

As per changes to the government regulations on the 16th of August, contacts of individuals who test positive for Covid-19 will no longer have to self-isolate, provided they have been fully vaccinated in the UK. The email outlines that students are “exceptionally unlikely to be asked self-isolate unless you are genuinely infected.”

Students will also be offered ‘Return to Cambridge’ tests‘Pre-departure’ tests, and tests for enhanced contact tracing tests, whether or not they participate in the Asymptomatic Testing Programme. The email also advises that students with symptoms get tested at the University or Addenbrooke’s Hospital pods.

A small number of students such as those living in private accommodation who are unable to form a ‘testing pool’ because they do not share a household or support bubble with another student, are ineligible for the Asymptomatic testing programme. The email advises that students in these circumstances “sign-up for twice-weekly testing using lateral flow tests (LFTs).”

Colleges will contact students and in-coming freshers with more information around testing closer to the time.

Feature image credits: Bilyana Tomova