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10th November 2020

Mass testing for students proposed ahead of Christmas break

Between the 30th November and the 6th December, the government could be rolling out mass testing amongst university students in time for the Christmas break
Mass testing for students proposed ahead of Christmas break
A Covid-19 home testing kit. Photo: The Mancunion

Between the 30th November and the 6th December, the government could be rolling out mass tasing amongst students prior to the winter holidays where it is anticipated that the majority of students will be heading home.

The University has already been in debates surrounding the safest way to ensure students could go home for Christmas,  however it would seem schemes of 2 weeks isolations or student-specific circuit breaker lockdowns have been rejected.

The goal of testing all students is to prevent the spread of the virus to vulnerable family members or spark another surge of cases in their home towns.

However, if you do test positive this could mean having to re-do the test or, if infectious, staying in isolation.

Minister of State for Universities at the Department of Education, Michelle Donelan, said the testing would allow students to make “informed decisions regarding their return home for Christmas, minimising the risk of spreading the virus to vulnerable people at their destination.”

A second year student stated, “I think this is a great initiative if it can be carried out properly.

“Throughout the whole pandemic we have seen news surrounding the health service being overwhelmed with tests, or some being inaccurate. Therefore, for this to be successful, students need to be reassured that the testing will be accurate, so they don’t miss spending Christmas with their families.”

The tests sent to students will be self-administered nose and throat swab tests, with results received within an hour. This style of rapid testing has already been seen at De Montfort and Durham universities.

There are many other considerations around the mass movement of students in December, from the use of public transport to staggered leaving times for students.

Jess Walmsley

Jess Walmsley

Editor-in-Chief 21/22

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