Curbing Covid-19 on campus

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Now that more people are working on campus, it is more important than ever to take regular Covid-19 tests, even if you don’t have symptoms, to help keep each other safe.

TestEd offers free Covid-19 tests to students and staff. It uses a saliva sample, not nasal swabs, and is more accurate than lateral flow tests. With 32 sample collection locations across the University, there will be a site convenient for you.

Since the project launched earlier this Spring, around 6,000 people have signed up and more than 70,000 samples have been tested. Some 56 positive cases have been identified, helping to curb chains of Covid-19 transmission on campus.

Joanna Fairweather is HR Partner for Learning and Organisation Development. She has been taking part in the project since her phased return to campus this autumn. She shares why she decided to get involved: “I chose to do this as a colleague mentioned it to me, saying how easy it is to use as she has been on campus throughout the pandemic.

“There is a testing site one minute from our office at Paterson’s Land so I signed up online and then popped along in week two of being back in,” she continues. “The registration process takes a few minutes and they provide lots of good information on what will be expected of you.”

So how has Joanna found it? She explains: “The service is pretty easy to use and there are instructions on the walls surrounding the station making it easy to know what to do. You are given a unique ID number to scan in so I learnt after the first session to take a photo of this on my phone so I didn’t have to scramble around looking for it at the site.”

For Joanna the benefits are threefold: “The first is it gives me a great amount of reassurance that the lateral flow test result I take is confirmed again. Coming back on campus I know is making some of us anxious so this gives me a little peace of mind that I’m not spreading Covid-19 to others.

“The second benefit is it’s quite a sociable thing to do within the office. People often go together at the start of their lunchbreak and volunteer to take staff who have not been before along for their first session,” she continues.

“The third is I appreciate how much great research goes on within the University but don’t get to experience this first hand. It feels good to know I’m contributing, in even a small way, to research in to managing Covid-19,” she finishes.

It’s quick and easy to sign up for TestEd through their website. Once registered, you can provide a sample twice weekly. If you cannot commit to that frequency, you can still take part at whatever level you can manage. Every sample you provide is an important contribution to this pioneering research project.

Kathryn Carruthers, Project Manager of TestEd, urges staff to consider taking part: “The TestEd project has received an unbelievable amount of support from across the University’s Schools and Departments. Key individuals have been instrumental in helping this project develop in such a short space of time. It has been a fantastic experience to work with colleagues on this amazing pan-University project and thanks to everyone who has made this happen. Anyone who is not already part of TestEd is still very welcome to join the programme.”

You can find out more about the TestEd project, including how to get involved, on the TestEd website.