Following my recent communication to you on the new national lockdown restrictions, I wanted to update you as much as I can on our plans for Christmas. As I’m sure you are all aware, the situation is fast-moving but the UK Government has now outlined its plans for students to travel home to spend the festive period with their families once the national restrictions end on 2 December.
A ‘student travel window’ will be open from 3 December to 9 December, where students will be encouraged to travel home on staggered departure dates and times. We will be working with other higher education institutions in the region, Public Health England and local authorities to understand how we can manage this effectively as a university to ensure you continue to receive the best possible learning and teaching and student experience. The university will be working hard over the next few days to finalise these plans and will inform you at the earliest opportunity via the usual communications channels. A new set of FAQs will also be added to the Your DMU Safety site.
For this to happen, I want to reiterate the Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP’s recent call to all students to strictly follow the current national restrictions and to remain in your current term-time accommodation during this lockdown. You should not return home before 2 December because this four-week period of national restrictions is key to reducing the risk of transmission to family and friends. Before 2 December, students returning home is not classed as essential travel, under those national restrictions. We need all students to play their part in adhering to the current guidance so we can keep our commitment to get students back to see their loved ones as safely as possible for the holidays.
For students remaining on campus throughout Christmas, we will ensure there is appropriate support available which we will announce nearer the time.
Mass testing for students
One key element of a safe and staggered travel window for students will be regular mass testing. We’re incredibly proud to be one of the first sites in the UK to offer a new kind of Covid-19 test for asymptomatic people which provides results in approximately 30 minutes. This past Monday, we sent communications for how you can access these new ‘lateral flow tests’ at our new testing centre at The Watershed, in Upperton Road.
The health and wellbeing of our community has always been our top priority and by hosting this new testing site on campus, we are giving all of our students and staff an opportunity to get regularly tested for free (at least twice a week)and in doing so support the fight against the virus. I encourage you strongly to take advantage of this testing service to ensure you are staying safe and protecting others.
Finally, I want to thank you again for your ongoing efforts to adhere to our comprehensive safety advice to keep each other safe. Please keep this commitment going so we can continue to enjoy our campus safely and look forward to spending as normal a ‘festive season’ as possible with our loved ones.
Posted on Wednesday 11th November 2020