Luff moves to Tier 4, and what’s the plan for campus return?

Matt Hancock has moved Loughborough to Tier 4 this afternoon


Having got over the food comas of the Christmas period, students’ attention is starting to shift back to uni life. But how will returning to Luff work? And what do we need to do to make sure our return is as safe as possible?

The first thing to note is that as government advice stands today (30/12/2020), this will all apply equally to all students travelling from the elsewhere in the UK, regardless of home tier. This, of course, could change, and we’ll let you know if it does.

Loughborough, for its part, has been moved to Tier 4 today with slowly raising cases currently at 204 per 100,000; the English national average is 248 according to the gov.uk site. The government website is now showing case data for Loughborough University specifically that we will be reporting to you on at least a weekly basis once term re-starts.

Tier 4 is effectively the same as the national lockdown in November, with no indoor household mixing, a limit of meeting one person from another household outside and only for exercise, all restaurants and cafes to close other than for takeaway, and strong advice against any unnecessary travel. It is reasonable to suspect that lectures and in-person teaching may be postponed, but we will let you know about this as and when we hear anything.

Right, so how are we meant to be getting back to campus? Well, there isn’t a ‘travel window’ for returning to campus as there was in December for going home. So, we can really come back to campus as and when we see fit. However, all on campus students are being asked to book a lateral flow test (the sort that a lot of us did before we went home for Christmas). This test is to be booked for the day of your return to campus. We are not allowed to mix with anyone else or use any uni facilities until we have done the test and received a negative result.

The form for booking a test can be found on the university’s Connect and Protect site or here.

This will mean picking a return date now and sticking to it, with Richard Taylor (Uni COO) saying: “It is vital that you stick to the slot you have chosen once you have booked as this will help us ensure we can get everyone tested.”

Those of us that may have remained in Luff over Christmas are also being asked to book a test before returning to lectures etc., and they can do so through the same method.

International students looking to return to Luff are advised to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s advice on international travel, so as to find out if there is a travel corridor. If there is not a travel corridor then you will need to isolate upon your return to the UK. After five days of isolation, and providing you have tested negative, you will be released from quarantine.

For all students it is important to note that the lateral flow tests have a high false-negative rate, in some cases, it can be as high as 50 per cent. That is why it is vitally important that we all continue to do the basics regardless of the test result: Hands, Face, Space, and continue to avoid entering other households.