Northumbria University gives guidance on testing and Christmas departures

Testing will reportedly start in just over two weeks

Newcastle University is to co-ordinate the Christmas testing and departure of students for both their own and Northumbria University students, according to an email sent by the Northumbria Vice Chancellor.

Professor Andrew Wathey sent the email to students to give them “confidence that we are working as hard as we can to ensure you can go home to your families for Christmas in the safest way possible”. It was also confirmed that both universities would be working with local NHS services to provide an “unprecedented programme” of asymptomatic testing.

Testing will reportedly start in just over two weeks, on 30th November, with the student travel window opening between the 3rd and 9th of December. This means that Newcastle and Northumbria students could be reunited with their families as soon as the day after the government’s second national lockdown finishes on December 2nd.

It was also confirmed that Northumbria University would maintain the current essential face-to-face teaching until 4th December, before moving online after this date.

The guidance remains less clear for those working on medical, midwifery and nursing placements, who as essential workers, are “expected to remain in their placements until the end of term”.

The news comes after the government released guidance to ensure students can make it home for Christmas. Central to the plan is offering students coronavirus tests in time to allow those with positive results to self isolate before returning home. Currently, if positive for coronavirus, you must self isolate for 10 days. To ensure you can get home for Christmas Eve, you should get tested by 13th December. However, the government has recommended students take action earlier, and instead aim to leave at some point between the 3rd and 9th of December.

Further government guidance suggests extra measures including staggered leaving arrangements and student’s adopting so-called “refined behaviour”. However student’s in Newcastle haven’t received any further information on this from universities yet, with Professor Andrew Wathey promising to finalise further details for the arrangements “in the next few days”.

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