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COVID-19 update for students - 14 January 2022

Dear Students,

I hope your examinations period went well and for those who still have assessments to complete, I wish you the best of luck. We are looking forward to welcoming many of you back to campus for what we hope will be an enjoyable and enriching term of teaching and learning.

As always, to keep our community safe, please continue to abide by the guidance on face-coverings, and regularly take LFD tests before coming to campus. These measures alongside others that remain in place on our campuses are there to ensure our spring term can continue as planned, and will help us all to play our part in keeping our University moving.

I have outlined some of these measures below, and also provided an update following the Government announcement yesterday regarding changes to the rules on self-isolation.

Key points

  • Self-isolation times reduced for negative test results
    • Anyone not experiencing symptoms but who receives a positive LFD test no longer needs to take a confirmatory PCR test
    • Face coverings must be worn inside all University buildings
    • Our Assisted LFD Testing Sites are now open on the Streatham and St Lukes’ campuses
    • A reminder on the recent key changes to testing and international travel
    • More vaccination clinics during January and February
    • Your feedback will help with vaccination planning – please complete a short survey

Self-isolation times reduced for those testing negative

From Monday 17 January, if you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will only need to self-isolate for five full days, as long as you have a negative lateral flow device (LFD) test on day five and a negative test at the start of day six of your isolation. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you can end your self-isolation. The LFD test results must be reported after taking each test. This also applies to anyone who is already in isolation.

The default self-isolation period continues to be 10 days, and you may only leave self-isolation early if you have two negative LFD results and do not have a temperature, in line with Government guidance.

It is crucial that anyone isolating with COVID-19 waits until they have received two negative LFD tests on two consecutive days to reduce the chance of social mixing while still infectious. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 5 of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day. For example, if you are positive on day 5, then a negative test is required on day 6 and day 7 to release from isolation, or if you are positive on day 6, then a negative test is required on days 7 and 8, and so on until the end of day 10. You do not need to take any more consecutive LFD tests after the 10th day of your self-isolation period and you may stop self-isolating after this day unless you have a high temperature, where you should continue to isolate and contact your GP. Please continue to test regularly, twice a week, every week, and before coming to campus.

Those who leave self-isolation on or after day 6 must continue to wear face coverings and are strongly advised to limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, study from home if they can do so and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19.

For anyone needing to self-isolate, we have a range of support and digital hampers available for you. Details can be found on our website.

Please note there is additional guidance for those working in health and social care settings.

Self-Isolation requirements for household members or close contacts of positive cases

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay at home, self-isolate immediately and order a PCR test. If you do not have symptoms but live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, you are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days unless you meet any of the following conditions:

  • you are fully vaccinated. Details of what this means can be found on the Government website
  • you are below 18 years 6 months
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

If you meet any of these conditions (and are therefore not legally required to self-isolate), you are strongly advised to take daily LFD tests for seven days. This guidance also applies to anyone who is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, for example, if you are in a sports team with someone who has tested positive.

More information can be found in the Government guidance for contacts who are not legally required to self-isolate.

If you or your household develop symptoms of COVID-19 

If anyone in your household develops symptoms of COVID-19, please contact our Rapid Response Hub and they will advise you on what to do.

A reminder on testing requirements

Under the latest Government 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 they display no symptoms.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms you must self-isolate immediately and take a PCR test. You can take a PCR test on campus – find out how to do this here.

Lateral Flow (LFD) testing on Exeter campuses

Our Assisted LFD Testing Site (ATS) at Car Park B, Streatham Campus, have reopened and are available from 8am-3pm, Monday-Friday throughout January. We are also operating a roaming LFD test centre next week in the following locations:

  • Monday – Forum
  • Tuesday – Xfi study space
  • Wednesday – Sports Park
  • Thursday - Forum
  • Friday – Sports Park

Our ATS at Baring Court, St Luke’s Campus is also open 8-11am on Mondays and Thursdays throughout January.

You can also pick up an LFD home test kit from our collection points across all campuses. Locations can be found on our website.

You must wear your face covering - let’s protect each other

Face coverings must be worn inside all buildings on campus unless you are exempt. To improve the effectiveness of your face covering you should:

  • Make sure the face covering fits snugly – you may need to adjust the face straps or ear loops. They should not cross over as this increases the gap on the cheeks. Consider wearing a different face covering if the fit is poor.
  • Remove and dispose of the face covering if it becomes damaged, damp, or uncomfortable.
  • Ensure that you have enough face coverings for the duration of your day.
  • Not touch your face covering unless it is to put on or remove it.
  • Always wash hands or use hand gel after removing the face covering.

Students can wear a re-usable or disposable face covering and if you forget to bring a face covering with you, there are multiple places across the campus where you can collect a free disposable.

We have created a video of some well-known University faces explaining why it’s important for them to wear their face coverings. Visit our website to watch the video and for more guidance.

Recent key changes to testing and international travel

The rules for international travel continue to change. From today, Friday 14 January, travellers from the UK to France will not have to self-isolate on arrival. A negative COVID-19 test will still be required 24 hours before travelling.

Please keep checking the Government’s website for the latest international travel updates.

The Government has also recently updated the rules on testing for international travel and I summarised these in my last email update to you – you can read this here. I have outlined the key points below:

  • If you qualify as fully vaccinated, you can now choose to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test after you arrive in England.
  • The rules for those who do not qualify as fully vaccinated have not changed and you must continue to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests on day 2 and day 8, and self-isolate for 10 days.

Details on the pre-departure and arrivals test requirements can be found on the Government website.

Vaccination clinics

A reminder that we are continuing to hold vaccination clinics in Exeter and Penryn. 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 taken place at least eight weeks ago. If you are attending for a booster, this must be 91 days after you received your second dose.

Streatham Campus, Innovation Centre – no booking required:

  • Monday 17 and Tuesday 18January, 11-5pm
  • Monday 7 February, 11-5pm
  • Monday 28 February, 11-5pm

Penryn Campus, Ground Floor Exchange – book a vaccination slot

  • Tuesday 25 January, 10-3pm

Please support vaccination planning

To support the vaccination programme, the Office for Students has asked universities to survey students on their vaccination status. This information will also support our work with the Devon and Cornwall Clinical Commissioning Groups in planning vaccination clinics. We’re requesting all of our students to complete a short online questionnaire regarding your current vaccination status. Completing the questionnaire is not mandatory and your responses will be completely anonymous.

Your wellbeing

Finally, I know this can be a difficult time of year for many reasons, so please remember that our wellbeing support is available for you if and when you need it.

Best
Mike

Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary