Image Credit: Raimond Spekking (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)
On Tuesday afternoon, the University of York’s Vice Chancellor, Charlie Jeffrey, announced that a Covid-19 testing facility is due to be built on campus later this week.
The testing facility will be a walk through centre in Wentworth Way car park. It will be open every day from 8am to 8pm but will operate on an appointment only basis from Thursday 1 October.
Nouse has been told that this testing facility is housed by the University, but is not run by the University. The testing facility will also be open to the wider community to use as well, and will not be exclusively for York students.
If a student at the University of York develops symptoms, they should book a test through the NHS Covid-19 app, the NHS coronavirus website or by telephoning 119. Students have also been asked to fill in the student Covid-19 self-isolation reporting form so the University can provide assistance where needed.
With universities across the country beginning to see outbreaks, this new testing facility is a step in the right direction for the University of York, particularly as recent weeks have seen a drastic shortage in testing facilities with people still being expected to travel up to 75 miles to book a test. In previous weeks, students in York have been asked to travel as far as Malton and Harrogate by public transport to receive a test.
Universities have recently received criticism from wider society for allowing students to return to campus for much needed face to face learning. Most universities have taken measures to ensure a Covid secure return for students and the University of York is not the first to have testing facilities. Several Scottish universities including the University of Glasgow which has seen a recent outbreak have built test facilities and universities across England such as the University of Reading hope to have a testing facility to help stop the spread of the virus amongst students. Universities are now at the forefront of helping their local communities by opening their test facilities to the public.
In the announcement the Vice Chancellor also mentioned the ongoing debate about students being allowed to return to their family homes at Christmas stating:
“If media coverage has made you anxious about the impact safety measures could have on the Christmas holidays, we would like to reassure you. Our teaching term finishes on Friday 4 December and we will do all we can to enable students to get home. We have been voicing our concerns to the government and are pleased to see a change in the messages coming out of parliament earlier today [Tuesday].”
Nouse also contacted Patrick O’donnell, the YUSU President, for his thoughts on the new development at our campus, he told us:
“I am delighted that students will have access to on campus testing given the existing provisions for testing in York require a car journey to Poppleton, located on the other side of the city. Students will be able to book a test thorough the NHS website and I am pleased that this provides reassurances not only to our students, but the local community.
“The swift implementation of the new facility from the Department of Health is a testament to the University’s collaborative approach to strengthening city-wide provisions and YUSU will continue to ensure that students’ concerns are held by both regional and national decision makers.”