Image: The Boar / Abbey Parker

Warwick express interest in government mass-testing scheme for students

The University of Warwick has shown interest in the government’s student mass-testing scheme, to enable students to return home for Christmas.

On 11 November, the University said that they are “currently working on plans to enable students who can travel home for Christmas during the identified ‘student travel window”.

Mass testing for students is being proposed to take place between 30 November and 6 December. 

If students test negative, government requirements say the travel window will be in place from 3 to 9 December to get students in England home safely for Christmas while minimising the spread of Covid-19.

All teaching will be required to move online from 3 December in Wales and 9 December in England.

The University told The Boar that universities were asked to make “expressions of interest” if they would like to participate in the mass-testing scheme and that “we at Warwick have done so”.  

“We now await to see if we are chosen to participate. If we are chosen to participate and we get the testing kits in time that the Government intend to supply we will find a way of making the scheme work on our campus,” the University added. 

If we are chosen to participate and we get the testing kits in time that the Government intend to supply we will find a way of making the scheme work on our campus

– University of Warwick

The University has said that they are “working closely with public health officials and will share more detained planning on asymptomatic testing and student departure arrangements as soon as possible”.

Warwick students have been urged to continue getting tests through the University’s test and trace service if they have symptoms of Covid-19 so the University can “provide support”.

Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students, said: “The government have finally listened to our calls to ensure that students can travel home safely for Christmas.

“We particularly welcome this mass-testing approach as it equips students with the knowledge to make informed decisions about travel ahead of the winter break,” she said.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the Universities Minister Michelle Donelan assured that if a student developed Covid-19 symptoms on 9 December they will “have enough time to isolate and then return home for Christmas”.

“This is a choice. If they choose to leave after [9 December] they will run the risk of potentially not getting home to Christmas with that isolation window,” Ms Donelan said.

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