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COVID-19 update for students - 21 January 2022

Dear Students,

This is an update following the latest announcement from the Prime Minister on Wednesday that the ‘Plan B’ measuresintroduced to combat the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will stop. These measures include the end of mandatory mask wearing, as well as changes to the use of the NHS COVID pass which will come into effect next week.

We have received updated guidance from the Department for Education and we now have a clearer understanding of how these changes impact the University, and I have outlined this detail below.

Key changes

  • From 27 January, face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement. However, we continue to strongly advise the wearing of face coverings in all shared indoor areas, including teaching spaces.
  • Measures in our teaching rooms remain and people should adhere to the 2m teaching zone, ensure windows are kept open and continue to wear a face covering.
  • Self-isolation is still required for anyone testing positive for COVID-19.
  • NHS COVID passes showing vaccine status or a recent negative test will no longer be required to gain entry to venues and events.
  • Vaccination clinics taking place at St Luke’s, Penryn and Streatham next week and through January and February.
  • Remember to keep testing regularly as this remains a crucial way to keep our community safe.

Continue to wear your face covering

The Department for Education has outlined that face coverings are no longer mandated in teaching settings, and from Thursday 27 January, the use of face coverings in communal areas will no longer be a legal requirement. However, to help reduce the likelihood of transmission, we continue to strongly advise the wearing of face coverings in all shared indoor spaces, including teaching rooms. Please follow this advice - case numbers remain high in our local communities and we must all take responsibility for keeping ourselves and those around us safe from COVID-19.

Free disposable face coverings will continue to be available at face covering stations across our campuses, and colleagues and students can choose to wear reusable or disposable face coverings.

We will keep this under continuous review and will be led by our Public Health partners in Devon and Cornwall. Should they require additional measures to be taken to further slow the spread of COVID-19 amongst our community, or in particular settings, we will take all necessary steps.

For students accessing NHS spaces or studying in specialist healthcare settings that may have specific requirements, please continue to follow local policy on the wearing of face coverings.

The more we can work together to reduce COVID-19 infections, the less our lives at the University will be disrupted by illness and self-isolation periods affecting our ability to teach in-person and maintain the services and support that you need. Wearing a face covering in indoor spaces is a key way in which you can protect yourself and those around you, and to show compassion for everyone in our community.

Measures on campus and in our teaching spaces

The measures in place across our campuses and in our teaching spaces will continue and should be adhered to at all times. These measures are outlined below:

  • Hand sanitiser stations remain in place across our campuses
  • 2m teaching zone remains in teaching spaces
  • Cleaning stations provided in teaching spaces
  • Access to free on-campus COVID 19 tests for those with and without symptoms
  • Ventilation requirements and signage remain in place
  • Enhanced touch point cleaning will continue
  • Vaccination clinics will continue to take place across campuses
  • Free disposable face coverings are available to all staff and students

Self-isolation and testing – a reminder of the rules

Last week, the Government announced changes to the rules on self-isolation. 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 LFD test on day five and day six of your isolation. You can read this guidance in full in my previous email. Please ensure you follow these rules and if you leave isolation early, continue to follow these measures to reduce the possibility of transmission:

  • Wear a face covering
  • limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces
  • study from home if you can do so
  • minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19

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

In addition, under the latest Government guidance, anyone who has a positive LFD test result will no longer need to take a follow-up PCR test as long as they are displaying no symptoms. You must still report your test result on gov.uk and self-isolate immediately.

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.

NHS COVID pass – update to rules

From Thursday 27 January, venues and events will no longer be required by law to use the NHS COVID Pass. Event organisers can still choose to use this if they wish so please check before attending.

If you do need to show an NHS COVID pass, you can either download the NHS app or use the online NHS COVID pass service, but you must be registered with your GP and have a valid NHS number in order to do this. Full details on requirements for the NHS COVID pass, including information for anyone with vaccinations taken overseas, can be found online.

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.

It’s really important to get your booster vaccination because two doses won’t give you maximum protection from the Omicron variant. More information on vaccinations can be found on our website.

St Luke’s, main car park – no booking required:

  • Tuesday 25 January, 11-5pm

Penryn Campus, Ground Floor Exchange – book a vaccination slot

  • Tuesday 25 January, 10-3pm

Streatham Campus – no booking required:

  • Monday 24 January, 10-4pm, Forum Piazza
  • Friday 28 January, 10-4pm, Forum Piazza
  • Monday 7 February, 11-5pm, Innovation Centre
  • Monday 28 February, 11-5pm, Innovation Centre

Please support vaccination planning

Today is the last day to complete a short online questionnaire regarding your vaccination status. This information will be provided to the Office for Students and will support the vaccination programme and the planning of vaccination clinics by the Devon and Cornwall Clinical Commissioning Groups. Completing the questionnaire is not mandatory and your responses will be completely anonymous.

Keep testing regularly

It remains really important to keep testing regularly to help stop transmission of the virus. Our Assisted LFD Testing Sites remain open throughout January on our Exeter campuses. If you would like an assisted test, please visit our test centres below:

  • Streatham Campus, Car Park B, Monday-Friday 8-3pm
  • St Luke’s Campus, Baring Court, Mondays and Thursdays, 8-11am

We also have collections points across our campuses in Exeter and Penryn, where you can pick up an LFD home test kit to keep testing yourself in your own home. Please ensure you check the instructions carefully and report your results.

Your wellbeing

As restrictions begin to ease once again, I know this may cause concern for some and it is important that we remember that everyone’s circumstances are different. Please look after yourselves and look out for each other. Our wellbeing support is available for you if and when you need it.

All the best

Mike

 

Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary