Mass testing for students
MASS coronavirus testing of thousands of Newcastle students will take place next week as they prepare to head home for Christmas.
University students are being asked to travel home for the holidays during a week-long window from December 3 to 9. To help minimise the risk of Covid19 being spread around the country and to detect hidden cases in young people showing no symptoms, both Newcastle and Northumbria universities will be opening mass asymptomatic testing sites in the coming days.
For Newcastle University students, the free tests will be conducted at the Frederick Douglass Centre on the Newcastle Helix site from December 1 to 9, from 10am to 6pm each day, with prebooked slots available.
For Northumbria students, testing slots are available at the Sport Central building in the city centre from 8am to 10pm on December 2 to 9.
If students test negative using the rapid lateral flow tests, which can give results in less than an hour, they will be advised to travel home immediately.
If they test positive, students must self-isolate for 10 days and will be contacted by Test and Trace to receive a separate PCR test to confirm the diagnosis. The testing is not mandatory, but students are being urged to take part to help ensure they do not knowingly put their families or others at risk.
Newcastle University said it hopes that the testing facilities can be used again to help students return to the city safely in January, after major outbreaks when students arrived at the start of this current term.
Colin Campbell, executive director of academic affairs at Newcastle University, said: “We have been working with the Government in recent weeks to establish a large-scale testing facility which will mean students can get tested before returning home safely for the winter break. Our students have been incredibly supportive of the steps being taken that will help them to protect their families and loved ones.”
Both universities will open some campus facilities over Christmas to ensure that any students who stay in the city have “places to meet, eat and relax”.
There were 54 new Covid cases among students in the city between November 19 and 26 – 21 at Newcastle and 33 at Northumbria.
That is the lowest weekly number reported since the universities began releasing the figures in October.