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University announces mass testing plans before students return home

In an email to students earlier today, the University revealed its plans for voluntary rapid and mass testing of students between 30 November and 6 December

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Image Credit: Annabel Mulliner

The University has announced tonight, in an email sent to all students, that York will be participating in the Government’s large scale mass rapid results testing scheme at the end of term, in order to allow for students currently residing in York to return home for the upcoming December break and Christmas period.

Participation in the testing scheme will be voluntary but the University and Government both encourage participation from as many students as possible to ensure safety and minimal risk of Covid-19 transmission during the relocation period. The University has indicated that they are optimistic about ensuring that students will have the ability to make safe and informed decisions about when they can travel home if they do choose to participate.

While the logistics have not yet been entirely ascertained, specifically with regards to how many tests will be made available to each individual University or how the testing procedure will take plass en-mass given the high interest rate from students, the University have revealed some details about how, and when, the mass testing will occur.

The testing will occur from 30 November to 6 December at the Sports Centre on Campus West, near James College. This will be to ensure adequate space for social distancing during testing. All testing will be done via appointment, with a booking system opening early next week to reserve spaces meaning anyone wishing to get rapid result testing must plan ahead to receive it. Also, any student wishing to take part will be asked to take two tests, a few days apart, using a swab with results from the NHS returning rapidly, usually on the same day, in order to avoid false negatives in testing and assure the results are accurate.

With this information in mind the University has also issued a reminder on advised travel arrangements that students can make to get themselves home. The Government guidelines indicate that the advised travel window for students is between 3 December - 9 December. Further guidance for travel outside this window or international travel can be found here. To be certain about student safety, the advice indicates that you should travel within 24 hours of your second negative test result so plan your travel arrangements accordingly with test bookings.

Finally, if you should test positive during the mass rapid result testing, it is vital that students isolate for ten days before choosing to travel home. The University plans to support students that are put in this situation with welfare and essential supplies, as well as tentative plans to work with travel providers to achieve flexible bookings on transport. However, this has not yet been confirmed. If a member of your household tests positive, it is still possible to travel home, however an isolation period of 10 days is required when you reach your intended destination.

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