Royal Holloway will be offering its students and staff asymptomatic Covid-19 testing in partnership with both the NHS and the Department for Health and Social Care.
The university is opening the facility on its Egham campus from Monday, 30 November, to help students to return home as safely as possible during the Government’s designated ‘student travel window’, which runs from Thursday 3 December to Wednesday 9 December. The university is working with University of London to provide a shared facility in central London for students and staff studying and working at Royal Holloway’s Central London campus.
Students and staff can be voluntarily tested using two lateral flow tests taken three days apart. If their results are negative for Covid-19, students who wish to leave their term time address for the Christmas holiday period should travel within 24 hours of receiving the results. Tests will be scheduled to maximise the opportunity for students to leave campus during the student travel window.
Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will require a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test which is commonly used in the NHS for testing people showing symptoms. The university can supply students with home test kits that will enable them to get results in 24-72 hours.
The Government’s student travel window and testing programme is designed to spread student travel across an extended period and reduce the risk of transmission by giving students a measure of confidence that they are not carrying the Covid-19 virus at that time. To support this ambition, the university will also move all face-to-face, on campus, teaching to online from Wednesday 9 December to the end of term, Friday 11 December. Face-to-face, on campus, teaching will resume in the new year and students who are able to should return to campus. While face-to-face teaching will have moved online for the last few days of term, campus will remain open and, as is the case every year, stay open throughout the Christmas period supporting students who spend the holidays locally. Services will include access to the Library, wellbeing and welfare support services. Some of the services will be provided online.
Dr David Ashton, Deputy Principal at Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “The health, safety and well-being of students, staff and our wider community is a priority at Royal Holloway. We are keen to do everything we can to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and it is important that we all play our part in trying to stop the spread of the virus. Asymptomatic testing will give students a measure of confidence to travel safely over the holidays, provided they do so within 24 hours of having a second negative test. While many students will be returning to family homes, other students will remain on campus, either completing a period of self-isolation, after which they will be able to travel too, or because campus is their home. We will continue to provide support, and we look forward to welcoming our students back to campus in the new year.”
Royal Holloway hopes to continue to offer asymptomatic testing in the new year to support on campus learning.
The semi-permanent Local Testing Site (LTS) remains on campus for students, staff and members of the local community with symptoms of Covid-19. The LTS is likely to be operational until spring 2021 and appointments must be booked via the government’s central testing system.