Skip to main content

COVID-19 update for staff - 6 January 2022

Dear Colleagues,

This is an update following my message earlier this week, since when we have seen changes to the guidance on testing and travel, which are summarised below.

Please remember that is it vitally important that you take a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test before you travel back to the University, and continue to test regularly when you are coming onto campus.
Please also ensure that you travel safely. Guidance on how to do so is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers 

Changes to testing requirements

The government has announced changes to the testing requirements from Tuesday 11 January. Under the new guidance, anyone who has a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result should report their result on gov.uk and must self-isolate immediately, but will no longer need to take a follow-up PCR test.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, the requirements remain the same – you should self-isolate and take a PCR test.

Changes to Self-Isolation requirements

The government recently updated the rules on self- isolation. Anyone who has a positive LFD or PCR result can take an LFD test 6 days after the day their symptoms started (or the day their test was taken if they did not have symptoms), and another LFD test on the following day (the second LFD test should be taken at least 24 hours later). If both these test results are negative, and they do not have a high temperature, they may end their self-isolation after the second negative test result. The LFD test results must be reported after taking each test.

You should not take an LFD test before the sixth day of any isolation period, and you should only end your self-isolation after you have had 2 consecutive negative LFD tests, at least 24 hours apart. You should then resume your regular testing.

Changes to rules on testing and international travel

The Government has also updated the rules on testing for international travel.

  • From 4am on Friday 7 January until 4am on Sunday 9 January, international arrivals to England who qualify as fully vaccinated, and those under 18, will no longer have to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test before travelling. On arrival in England you will have to take a PCR test, but will no longer have to self-isolate whilst waiting for your result.
  • If you qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to England, and you will arrive in England after 4am, Sunday 9 January, you can choose to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test after you arrive in England. If you take a lateral flow test and test positive, you will need to self-isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test. You must book the test before you travel to England. You can book lateral flow tests from 4am Friday 7 January.

The rules for those who do not qualify as fully vaccinated have not changed. Unvaccinated passengers will need to continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day two and day eight, and must self-isolate for 10 days.

Details on the pre-departure and arrivals test requirements can be found on the Government website - www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19#if-you-are-not-fully-vaccinated

Lateral Flow (LFD) testing on Exeter campuses

Our Assisted LFD Testing Site (ATS) at Car Park B, Streatham Campus, will be reopening on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 January, from 8am-3pm, and will then be available to students Monday-Friday throughout January.

Our ATS at Baring Court, St Luke’s Campus will reopen on Monday 10 January, 8-11am and be available to students on Mondays and Thursday throughout January.

We continue to monitor the situation in Cornwall with our public health partners and will seek to establish further Assisted Testing Sites as and when they are needed.

Pfizer vaccination clinics

We are continuing to hold COVID-19 Pfizer vaccination clinics at the Innovation Centre, Streatham Campus and at The Exchange, Penryn Campus. The clinics (listed below) will be providing first and second doses as well as booster jabs for anyone that is eligible. If attending for your second dose, your first dose must have been Pfizer, and must have taken place at least eight weeks ago.

Exeter clinics

There is no need to book and doses will be given on a first come, first served basis – demand has been significant so queuing is likely.

  • Monday 17 and Tuesday 18January, 10.30-5.30pm
  • Monday 7 February, 10.30-5.30pm
  • Monday 28 February, 10.30-5.30pm

Penryn clinics

Please book a vaccination slot online for this clinic. You will need to Click on ‘Activities’ and choose the date of the pop up vaccination clinic you’d like to attend, then book a time slot for ‘Covid-19 vaccination’.

  • Tuesday 11 January, 10-3pm
  • Tuesday 25 January, 10-3pm

January examinations

Our examinations period begins on Monday 10 January, and we wish our students who have been preparing for assessments the very best of luck.

In-person examinations

Whilst the majority of our exams will take place online, some students are required to attend in-person examinations, and we have heard concerns from some of them this week. I want to reassure you that our preparations for any on-campus exams have been carried out in consultation with Public Health Devon, and in accordance with latest government guidance.

We have designed exams to be online wherever possible, with only a minority of exams taking place on campus. This is the case only where professional, statutory and regulatory bodies require in-person exams, where electronic submission is not possible, for example practical and languages exams, or where a closed-book exam is necessary.

Our exam halls have been risk-assessed and have distanced desks, good ventilation and enhanced cleaning measures in place. All students are required to wear face coverings unless exempt, with options available for those who are exempt to use a visor. As for all students, we are requesting that attendees take an LFD test before arrival.

All exam marks are reviewed at our Exam Boards with external oversight according to our Teaching Quality Assurance TQA policy. Our quality assurance processes will be used to ensure that marks are fair and consistent with previous cohorts and students on related modules, regardless of the conditions under which the assessment was completed. You can find more information about this and all other aspects of our examinations here.

Deferred examinations

I know that some final year students have concerns that, should they have to self-isolate due to a positive COVID-19 test and therefore miss an in-person exam, that they will be unable to graduate with their peers or to take up job opportunities later in the summer.

Finalists will still be able to attend graduation this summer if they defer a minimal amount of credits. At undergraduate level they will need to have achieved 300 credits, with 60 credits in their final year to attend graduation with an Ordinary Degree. They will receive a temporary graduation certificate and transcript in July along with their peers.  Once they successfully complete their remaining credits their full certificate and transcript will be released in September confirming an Honours Degree.

The Students’ Guild have published a helpful FAQ on January Exams.

Thank you

Finally I’d like to thank everyone for all you hard work in preparing for the beginning of our Spring Term, including our support for students who are taking examinations and returning to our campuses. The care and commitment which you bring to supporting our community is never short of inspiring.