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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for students – 9 June 2021

Dear Students,

Key points

  • This week we have seen a small increase in positive cases, some of which are linked to social gatherings. COVID-19 still presents a risk to our communities and we must all carefully observe the Government guidelines and hygiene measures and get tested regularly
  • Remember that there are restrictions in place related to social gatherings, and if you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you must always self-isolate and get a test
  • Remember to collect and use your free home test kit
  • If you are self-isolating in University accommodation please be assured that we will support you regardless of the end date of your contract
  • We urge everyone to take up the offer of getting a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can. We have an online Q&A with vaccine experts on 10 June
  • We’d like to know whether you would prefer to continue booking study and library spaces
  • Please remember that you can get Wellbeing Support at any time. Full details are on our website
  • This will be the last weekly COVID-19 bulletin for the term. Thank you all for reading and for following the guidance so carefully. We will share any important updates with you when required throughout the Summer.

Full message

This week we have seen a slight increase in positive cases in Exeter and Cornwall and we know that some of these new cases are linked to social gatherings. It remains vitally important to keep to the safety guidelines of washing hands, wearing face coverings, allowing 2m space, and gathering outdoors.

Taking twice-weekly tests at home, even if you don’t have any symptoms, will help us to contain any outbreaks and to protect each other and our communities. You could take a quick home test before heading out to meet others to reassure yourself that your risk is low. I encourage everyone in the final stages of term to be vigilant, so please pick up your tests – our information on where and when you can collect them or take a test on campus has been updated.

As this is the final week of term I would like to say another huge thank you to all our staff and students who have worked together throughout this most difficult academic year. It has been challenging in so many ways but the way in which the members of our University community have supported each other has been inspirational and I am proud to be associated with you.

I would like to send my very best wishes to those of you who are awaiting exam results, and for those who are with us through the Summer, including many of our Postgraduate Taught and Research students, we look forward to supporting you as normal.

This will be the last weekly COVID-19 update for the Summer, but I will write to you regularly with updates whenever required, and your regular University Updates email will continue to carry COVID-19 updates. Thank you for reading the bulletin each week and for following the guidance so carefully.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our Communications Team, and the many colleagues who have led our COVID-19 response, all of whom have worked tirelessly throughout this year to ensure these bulletins included all the information that our community needed to stay safe and support each other through this extraordinary time.

COVID-19 case numbers

The overall rate of positive results on our campuses and across the region remains low. However there has been a small increase in the positive cases on our campuses over the last 7 days. The University compiles data provided by Public Health England and HALO to produce statistics on the number of confirmed positive cases for students and staff. The latest data can be found on our COVID-19 statistics web page. For the seven days to 6 June the daily average of positive cases amongst students and staff was 2.1.

Keep each other safe

The small increase in cases this week gives us a clear reminder that we must keep working together as a community to reduce COVID-19 transmission, by following the Government guidelines and observing the basic hygiene measures:

  • Wash your HANDS.
  • Cover your FACE.
  • Give other people SPACE.
  • Meet in the FRESH AIR.

Meeting in larger groups than previously is now permitted but there are important restrictions that we must all observe at all times.

  • Indoors you may meet in a group of up to 6, or of two households
  • Outdoors you may meet in a group of up to 30 people
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 – a new persistent cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste or smell - you must get a test and self-isolate at home. This includes those people who have already had one or both doses of vaccine. You should not leave your house, including to attend vaccination appointments.

Social distancing measures and restrictions on the numbers of people who can occupy spaces on our campuses remain in place. Please respect and follow the guidance and play your part in protecting our community.

For those of you staying on or around our campuses this summer, please do think about how you can be a good neighbour to our wider community. Think carefully about how noise impacts on your neighbours and please continue to be considerate to their needs.

Pick up and use your COVID-19 home test kit

Test yourself regularly at home by collecting a test kit from the collection points on our Streatham, Penryn and St Luke’s campuses. We should all be proactive about using our home test kits at least twice a week and before meeting friends. Taking steps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 as we approach the end of term will keep us safe and ensure we are able to leave as planned.
If you are travelling away from the University for the Summer you should test yourself at least twice, three days apart, before you leave, even if you have no symptoms of COVID-19.

For students in Cornwall, you’ll need to book a time to pick up your kit from the Penryn Sports Centre or Falmouth Campus Reception. For students in Exeter, there are a number of collection points where you can drop in and collect your kit – please check the website for collection points and opening times.

If you haven’t taken a test before, please book three tests at your nearest test centre before collecting your home test kit. This will ensure you understand how to take your test and get the most accurate result.

You must report your home test results to the Government’s online LFD result registration. Details on how to do this, and what to do if you test positive, can be found on our testing website. If you test positive at home then we will arrange a confirmatory PCR test through our HALO testing service.

Remember, if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, the test you need is different. Please contact our Rapid Response Hub to book your HALO/PCR test. For more info on testing and FAQs, visit our testing website.

Are you self-isolating?

If you and your household are self-isolating in University accommodation and your contract end date is 12 or 19 June, please be reassured that we will continue to support you during this time, until it is safe for you to leave.

Please make sure that you have reported that you are self-isolating, by contacting the Rapid Response Hub.

COVID-19 vaccinations – virtual student Q&A event with NHS vaccine experts

We urge everyone to take up the offer of getting a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are contacted by the NHS.

The vaccine is over 80% effective at reducing the likelihood of hospitalisation - it will help protect you and help keep our whole University community safe. It doesn’t matter where you’re registered with a GP, at University or at home, you’ll be contacted as soon as vaccination places for your age range open up.

We’re holding a virtual student Q&A event, with NHS vaccine experts, on Thursday 10 June, 6-7pm, so you can find out more about the vaccination programme and ask any questions you may have. You should have had an invitation, with a link to join the event, via email.

Do you want to continue booking library and study spaces?

The Library and Study Spaces teams are undertaking a very quick survey on booking study spaces. This is something we introduced this year because of COVID-19 and we’d like to see if you would like to continue being able to book spaces as we go forward. The survey can be found here https://exeter-uk.libwizard.com/id/44d32b2d52b2048a47822a9da76b7ed5. Thank you for your time.

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who attended our Q&A event with the Vice-Chancellor, senior staff and the Students’ Guild on Wednesday 2, as well as those who attended our Q&A talk with the Vice-Chancellor, senior staff and the Students’ Union on Monday 7 June. If you couldn’t make it, the recording from the first session can now be accessed here. We will make the second recording and written answers to your questions from both talks available on this webpage soon under ‘Talks from the Senior Team’.

Your wellbeing

This week is Men’s Health Week (14-21st June), which aims to provide support to help men live healthier, longer and more fulfilling lives. Each year focuses on a different theme - this year is about men’s mental health in the era of COVID-19. As part of this week, Men’s Health Forum are championing ‘The CAN DO Challenge’ which links each day (Monday-Friday) with the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

At ‘Mind Over Natter’ next Wednesday (16 June) Rev Hannah Alderson is going to be demonstrating how we can use coloured pens or pencils to get our emotions down onto paper.

Sign up now to learn how to use this easy mindfulness technique. The talk will be held live on Microsoft Teams at 12.45-1.30. All students and staff are welcome to attend.

Please remember that you can get Wellbeing Support at any time. Full details are on our website.

Best wishes

Mike

Mike Shore-Nye
Registrar and Secretary