Newcastle and Northumbria universities announce return of mandatory facemasks
The Omicron variant is making its unwelcome presence felt
Both Northumbria and Newcastle universities have announced changes to their rules, making it mandatory for students wear a face mask again when on campus.
All university students and staff, unless exempt, are to wear face coverings while moving through buildings on campus from today.
In an email sent to all Newcastle students, Academic Registrar Lucy Backhurst said “We are asking all members of the University community to follow this guidance so that we can keep ourselves and others safe, especially those that are vulnerable in our community and our homes.”
Professor Tom Lawson, the deputy vice-chancellor of Northumbria University reassured students in his email that “the case rates within our community remain low and we know that vaccination rates within the student population are high.” He added that all students and staff are encouraged to do Lateral Flow Tests before coming on campus. The tests are free, and can be picked up on campus in buildings such as the library.
Newcastle University echoed the importance of LFTs and reassured students that the university was taking a range of action to protect students: “Student Ambassadors will be around campus to support this and to provide face-coverings for those who need them. Whilst we await further announcements about boosters, we are also arranging for the continued presence of the vaccine bus on campus.”
This comes following the government advice regarding new variants of Covid 19.
Facemasks have also been made mandatory in shops and on public transport, while all over-18s are now eligible for coronavirus booster jabs.
If students have Covid-19 symptoms, they must not come onto campus until receiving a negative PCR test result. If you test positive, you should notify your University as soon as possible to get access to wellbeing and/or academic support.