Over 100 Cardiff Uni students are self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19

“It’s a small place to be stuck in for two weeks.”

Over a hundred Cardiff University students are currently self-isolating after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Cardiff University told Wales Online that the number of positive cases was probably higher, “We currently have 132 students who are self-isolating, amongst a total student population of some 30,000.”

They also mentioned that the students who tested positive have “received advice and guidance on the actions they need to take. Follow up advice and support will be provided by our student support and wellbeing service.”

A student living in Talybont South told The Cardiff Tab that their flat was about to go into self-isolation after a flatmate tested positive. “We’ve pretty much kept it mainly to our flat…one of the people who came here didn’t show any symptoms but got a test to check they were okay to go back to work and it came back positive so I reckon meeting lots of people from all over the UK has spread it. ”

“Overall I’m feeling okay about it because I have a lovely flat, it’s just annoying because it’s a small place to be stuck in for two weeks.”

The student also reported having very mild symptoms of the virus, while a couple of the other flatmates “have been feeling quite ill and have lost their smell and taste, but then others have very mild symptoms.”

“The Thai Sweet Chilli crisps are basically part of my 5 a day at this point.”

Cardiff University had previously announced that testing for covid-19 would be available for all students this term. Having a test is optional when you arrive to campus, unless you’re showing symptoms or a housemate has tested positive, but the university has encouraged many to come and get one to ensure the safety of staff and students.

The Vice-Chancellor, Colin Riordan, received a number of concerns from parents. In a joint letter with Claire Morgan, the Pro-Vice Chancellor, they recognised the concerns and addressed the measures the university has, and is taking.

“Before our students arrived, we put in a range of safety measures to support on-campus teaching while keeping our students, staff and the wider community safe.”

The letter stated that the libraries, catering outlets, and sports facilities would remain open but would adhere to social distancing measures. Face-to-face and online learning will take place and mentioned that, “A blended approach to learning is important if we are to give students as normal a university experience as possible.”

“In-person teaching in small groups is scheduled to take place, and social distancing, plus enhanced cleaning and hand sanitisation, allow for our teaching staff and students to remove face coverings if speaking.”

Students living at home have expressed their concerns for travelling to Cardiff for in-person teaching, “while it is nice to have some face to face contact to break up a week and get you out the house, I only have 45 minutes a week of in person teaching.”

“This just seems more of an inconvenience, especially because of all the provisions that have to be in place for the in person teaching to make it covid safe.”

Another student mentioned that some lecturers had asked whether they preferred having tutorials in person or online: “We were asked whether we wanted to come to the university for the tutorials. Obviously, some of us can’t make it and those who can’t will be attending using Microsoft Teams while – so we’ll be using teams so that students who can’t make it will also be participating.”

The university had mentioned that a range of support measures were in place to help any students isolating. “The Test Trace Protect service will maintain daily contact via text and telephone both to check in and check up with those self-isolating, and our academic schools will liaise to ensure academic study can be maintained remotely or required face to face activity caught up in other ways.”

“Student support and wellbeing service will check in with those who are self-isolating or test positive and we are providing a full range of support services remotely.”

A student who has been isolating mentioned that “The tracing was an absolute nightmare. Didn’t contact me for two days after my results came back, and then only contacted my friends two days after that.”

“I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be a fresher and not have friends from the year before who can help you out. People would surprise us with a Lidl brownie or some sweets to keep us going and that was really nice.” One of their housemates had now been isolating twice – once after travelling back from India and then a few days after the isolation period ended, after her housemate tested positive.

For first years in Cardiff, support from the residence life team and academic mentors is also available to them. The university said, “If your daughter or son has any concerns then please do encourage them to access this support, as well as contacting their personal tutor, a member of their programme team or school office.”

Another student living in Senghennydd Court said they had a group chat nicknamed ‘Senghetto’ where they plan their parties, “Everyone’s partying all the time, I’m really not surprised students are spreading the virus since the parties get really big. Security comes and shuts them down quite often but everyone just goes back out once it’s clear.”

“One of the smaller gatherings.”

Several other universities in Wales have confirmed that students are self-isolating after testing positive. Swansea University said they still had 32 students self isolating after 55 cases began since the term started. 6 members of staff have also tested positive, none of which were teaching.

Aberystwyth University said there had been 22 cases reported amongst students. In Bangor University, Coronavirus was, “now present in our student community” and that some were self-isolating in their halls. In Cardiff, the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University reported having eight and three cases respectively.

It is an incredibly uncertain time and everyone needs each other’s support more than ever. The University has dedicated a page on the Intranet for your Health and Wellbeing, including support and advice regarding Coronavirus and Self-Isolation. 

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