Covid on campus: Everything we know about our return to Exeter

The uni will be one of the first in the country to offer rapid coronavirus spit tests

With Freshers’ Week starting next week and the start of the new academic year coming soon, Exeter students will be returning to a very different uni life to normal. Mandatory face masks, hand sanitising stations and one way systems are all part of the new safety policies for campus life.

Here’s everything we know about how our return to campus will look so far:

There will be rapid testing

Exeter is one of the first universities in the country to offer rapid coronavirus spit tests.

The University has teamed up with Halo – the first commercial provider of a Covid-19 test which is a PCR saliva based test. These tests will ensure, “rapid testing of students and staff at campuses in Exeter and Cornwall,” and will provide results on the same or next day.

A ‘Rapid Response Hub’ for students and staff has been set up in order to report symptoms if you are experiencing them, and to request a Covid test if you need one. Additionally, “Further investment has also gone into student health centres so that students will be able to get medical help if they need it.”

Screenshot from the university’s news page

Students will be given face masks and thermometers

Every student will receive a ‘welcome pack’, which includes three re-usable face masks and a digital thermometer.

Screenshot from the university’s coronavirus information webpage

Face Masks

The University has stated that face coverings are mandatory in campus shops, study spaces such as the Library, and during teaching sessions (i.e seminars and workshops). Face masks are also required in locations on campus where it is not possible to social distance, or, “where there is a high likelihood of coming into close proximity with others, including University buildings and some outside areas.”

Exceptions will be made for those who are exempt from wearing face coverings, and those who are can collect an exemption card from a number of locations: The main University reception on Streatham campus, Info @ St Lukes, or from the ‘Here to Help’ team, who will be on campus from September.

Teaching staff will also be required to wear a visor or mask if they step out of the 2m marked “teaching zone.”

Whilst these rules are set in stone for now, the University have stated that they will review their face mask policy each week and give updates if there are any changes.

Freshers’ Week

Freshers’ Week this year will be very different to previous years!

Many events that are happening will be taking place digitally, such as the Freshers’ Fair, which will take place online from September 16-20.

Some events may happen in person, with the Guild looking at using outside spaces to ensure that everyone is safe! More information about these events will be released nearer to the time.

Coming onto campus and study spaces

Students are advised to only come onto campus if they have a scheduled teaching session, “a pre-arranged activity such as sport or a society”, or if you have pre-booked a study space.

The amount of study spaces available will be much lower than normal due to social distancing measures, and you’ll have to clean the space with cleaning equipment provided before it is used, and also before you leave!

The opening times for study spaces will initially be reduced, and group study sessions won’t be allowed. Students won’t be able to eat in the library, however, books will still be able to be withdrawn. You can find full details of the new library rules here. 

Details on how to book study spaces will be released from September 14.

The full University Covid-19 guidelines and FAQs can be found here.

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