Wednesday 18 November

Undergraduate and PGR student email

Subject: Covid-19 update - Voluntary testing and travelling at the end of term

Dear students,

This message is for students in York planning to travel elsewhere for the Christmas break

We have good news about being part of the Government’s mass rapid results testing scheme at the end of term.

We are planning to go ahead and are now waiting to understand how many tests we will have access to, as well as working through the logistics of how we can make this as easy as possible for you.

Our recent survey suggests more than 95% of students responding are interested in a rapid results test, which is really good news, because we hope it will help you make informed decisions about when and how you travel.

It is voluntary, so it’s your choice. As we move into the Spring Term, large-scale testing could be an important way of managing the risk of virus transmission, so it’s important we are part of this scheme and that we encourage you to participate.

How will it work?

There is a lot of detail to work out, but what we can say at the moment about the end of term rapid results testing is:

  • Testing will take place from 30 November to 6 December 2020

  • The testing site will be at the Sports Centre on Campus West so we’ll be set up with plenty of space to ensure everyone can socially distance

  • Tests are by appointment only and the booking system will open early next week

  • For those wishing to take part, you will be asked to take two separate tests, a few days apart. Each test will require you to use a swab - just like you might with an NHS home testing kit or at the existing walk through testing site for symptomatic testing

  • The NHS will contact you quickly with the results, usually the same day.

To recap, for students wanting to travel or trying to plan when to leave at the end of term:

  • We encourage you to plan your travel during the advised Government travel window, which is 3 December - 9 December.

  • For students who wish to leave after this date, travel is still possible outside of this ‘window’, in line with the current guidance for safe travel. If you’re planning international travel, take a look at our advice and what this means for you, especially about testing requirements.

  • For students in campus accommodation, we are trying to make the end of term departure as simple and safe as possible. We are working with accommodation and the Colleges so you will be able to book a departure slot.

  • The NHS and Government advice is to travel within 24 hours of your second negative test result, so you’ll need to think about these timings when booking your tests.

We know this is a logistical challenge, so we’re creating a guide that will help you sequence your plans, whether you have already arranged to be picked up, booked transport, or are still planning to do so. More to follow soon.

  • If you test positive, you should not travel but self-isolate for ten days to protect others. We will support you to do this, with welfare and other essential supplies. We’re also working with travel providers so that bookings can be flexible to accommodate any last minute changes if you need to rearrange your travel.

  • However, if one of your household tests positive but you test negative you are still able to leave York for the holiday so long as you then isolate at your destination.

We will share more detailed information as soon as we can. This update may even create more questions than answers, but I want to give you the latest information and let you know the progress we are making.

And, of course, a reminder that we’re here to support any students over the break, for those who stay in York or with us on campus, whether that’s for the whole period, self-isolation or just extending your stay.

I will be in touch again with more updates, thank you for your patience. Keep safe.

Wayne Campbell

Academic Registrar