Notts Uni outlines plans to get students home safely for Christmas

Plans include rapid testing, staggered departures, and a return to online teaching

In line with the government’s new announcement — including rapid testing and a week-long “travel window” — the University has been in contact with students, outlining their plans for the Christmas break.

The government has vowed to work closely with universities to establish “mass testing capacity”. In an email sent out to students by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Andy Long, the university stated: “All students will be offered an asymptomatic test- either through the national scheme or through our own.”

The university has been running their own Asymptomatic Testing Service since October 5th, which may help the uni get to grips with the huge logistical challenge it faces.

The government added that they intend to prioritise testing for areas of high prevalence”. With Notts, according to recent data, remaining significantly above the national average for coronavirus cases, it may be well placed to receive government support.

If a test comes back negative, students will be able to return home during the “travel window” (3-9 December). In the event that a positive test is returned, they will be required to remain in Nottingham for a further ten-day isolation period. This means, as the Minister of State Michelle Donelan confirmed to the BBC, that students who test positive will still “have enough time to isolate and then return home for Christmas”.

The government also expects universities to stagger student departures, during the travel window, in order to alleviate pressure on public transport. UoN has echoed this message: “We will be in touch again with more details on planning your journey home to ensure we help you manage this in a safe and controlled way”.

The uni have also said that face-to-face teaching will be scrapped from December 9 until the beginning of the Spring Semester. As stated in the Deputy Vice-Chancellors statement, “Teaching up until Wednesday 9 December will remain as now: a blend of online and in-person activity. After this date it will move to online only.”

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