Vice-Chancellor news

Increased testing on campus

Read a message from the Vice-Chancellor, sent to staff today (12 October 2020).

Dear colleague

I am writing to follow up on information posted on our intranet last Friday, which alerted staff to increased coronavirus (COVID-19) testing at one of our University residences over the weekend and into the coming week. This followed an increase in positive tests and students self-isolating in Talybont South.

Over the weekend we have worked with Public Health Wales and the Test, Trace and Protect Team, who brought in a Nursing Team from the Cardiff and Vale Health Board to test over 500 students on Talybont South. Today, Public Health Wales (PHW) has opened a Mobile Testing Unit for all students in our Talybont Halls of Residence with symptoms. This is in addition to our own screening service for asymptomatic students and staff, which is also available on site.

I would like to commend the work of the nursing team and thank all other colleagues who have worked so hard over the weekend to make sure this ran smoothly. It has been a major undertaking and is a good example of our collaborative work with Public Health Wales and the Test, Trace and Protect Team. All messages sent to students from our Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Claire Morgan, are available on our UEB blog.

We publish figures on positive coronavirus (COVID-19) confirmed cases on our website every weekday and will supplement this with information on students self-isolating.

One of the implications of this increased testing is that more of our first years are likely to be self-isolating on a temporary basis whilst they await their test results. We are expecting a speedy turnaround time for results, and in the meantime we have made sure that all students are aware of the support available to them as well as the need to report self-isolation via SIMS. These reports are updated every day and can be accessed in the Business Intelligence site by Heads of School and School Managers (or their nominees). Information is shared on a need to know basis so that Schools can ensure that affected students are able to access remote learning resources via Learning Central.

It’s important that all students who are self-isolating complete the SIMS form and update it if their circumstances change, especially since the auto email response provides students with access to relevant advice, information and support.

All students who have tested positive have been given advice and support. You can read our information for self-isolating students which includes guidance on when they should self-isolate, academic and welfare support, food deliveries and money concerns. Similar information is also available to parents on our externally-facing website.

Please note that the activity on Talybont does not constitute a ‘lockdown’ as we have seen in some other Universities; rather this is a more limited, pre-emptive measure to help control the spread of the virus for the safety and welfare of our students and the wider community.

I will keep you all informed as the situation develops.

Best wishes

Colin Riordan
Vice-Chancellor