As we reach the end of a unique first term at Royal Holloway, I want to provide an update on how our students and staff have played their part in managing the impact of Covid-19.
Friday, 11 December is the last day of term at Royal Holloway and we have been offering our students and staff asymptomatic Covid-19 testing in partnership with both the NHS and the Department for Health and Social Care. This testing also supported the Government’s ‘student travel window’ which encouraged students across the UK to travel between 3 and 9 December.
As of Monday, 7 December, 1,853 students had taken the lateral flow tests, and many have left campus. In addition, by the same date, 158 staff took the opportunity to be tested.
As of Tuesday, 8 December, based on the information provided to us, there have been no positive tests that have required a follow up PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test which is commonly used in the NHS for testing people showing symptoms. This is good news for our students, colleagues, and the wider community, and this appears to be mirrored in the other local Higher Education Institutions.
Over the course of this term some 202 students and 13 staff have tested positive for Covid-19 and we have supported students through 1,162 periods of self-isolation. We have made considerable effort to support our students through this exceptional first term and students and staff have continued to play their part to help keep infection rates on campus to manageable levels. Again, as of Tuesday, 8 December, no students and no members of staff were self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).
As is the case every year, Royal Holloway’s campus will remain open throughout the Christmas period supporting students who spend the holidays locally.
Last week, the Government published recommendations on the return of students for term two. Our term begins on Monday, 11 January 2021. In accordance with Government guidance, face-to-face teaching will resume immediately from 11 January for some students, while for others, teaching and learning support will be online-only for a period. We understand that some students will choose to return to campus to study even if their classes are online-only for the first few weeks. Services on campus will continue to operate to support students on their return and they will reflect the Government restrictions in place at that time. We will provide more information to students closer to the start of term.
Asymptomatic lateral flow testing will again be available to students and staff from Thursday 7 January and we will continue to promote the importance of students playing their part to manage the transmission of Covid-19 by following social distancing and hygiene rules and guidance. We will also support students who are required to self-isolate. The Covid-19 Local Testing Site remains available on campus for students, staff and members of the local community with symptoms of Covid-19 and is likely to be operational until Spring 2021. Appointments need to be booked via the government’s central testing system.
I would like to thank you for your continued support of the university, and wish you all a safe and enjoyable Christmas, and my best wishes for your health in the coming year.