This week, the sabbs are joined by Deborah Lawson and Peter Brinkley who are co-ordinating the University COVID Response, to talk all about the new testing facilities coming to campus - and what happens next.
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Computer Generated Transcript
00:00:07 Speaker 1
News from the University of Surrey. Students Union all about your student life and what your elected officers have been doing for you this week, representing you across the University of Surrey.
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Find out more at www.ussu.co.uk or find us on Instagram and Facebook at Surry Union.
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The government has now introduced a three tier system for England Tier 1 medium risk Tier 2 high risk tier 3 very high risk Guildford Ansari is currently Tier 1 the medium risk. This means national law and guidance company applies.
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With no additional restrictions, this means that you must not socialize in a group of more than six from different households. When you do socialize in a group of up to six, you should still continue to socially distance and take precautions finds for socializing in a group larger than six, not from the same household.
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Start at 100 pounds and rise to 3200 pounds at gathering of more than 30 is liable to a £10,000 fine.
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Your household is your accommodation unit and therefore when meeting friends and family from home, the rule of six applies and you must not meet in a group larger than six.
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If you have symptoms or have tested positive for kovid, live in a household with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive or have been notified by NHS test and trace stuff that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, then you must self isolate for 14 days.
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Fine start at 1000 pounds for not complying.
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You should download the NHS test and trace app and scan the QR code for each location you enter to be alerted should you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive.
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Yes, good morning everybody. My name is Peter Brinkley. I'm the deputy director of the state facilities and Commercial Services and My Portfolio covers off security maintenance, cleaning services, post and and.
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And and Mail services I'm. I'm also one of the silver commanders for the university's response to Covid.
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Good morning everyone. I'm Deborah Lawson. I'm in my day job, director of faculty operations for Health and Medical Sciences.
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And I am a silver commander for COVID-19.
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Thank you very much for coming on the show today. Now we've got you on because we've got the new testing center opening very soon. Could you give us a little? A quick rundown of how that's going to work and what's happening?
00:03:32 Speaker 2
So what we've got on site currently we're building a local testing site.
00:03:38 Speaker 2
So this is exactly the same, but it's accessed by 4, so you can't go there in a car. That site is currently being built, so people coming onto the stack Hill campus will see that site going up as we speak on the GSA car park, so that's the first car park on the left hand side as you come onto the main Stack Hill campus from the A3.
00:03:59 Speaker 2
So this will be put up this week. It's operated by an external company for the NHS, so this site will be running still open next Wednesday, so the 28th of October and it will probably be up for three to six months. The purpose of that site is to provide.
00:04:20 Speaker 2
Both students and staff, but also the public to access a test via the NHS on foot. So they built it up to access their own fault. The way the way to go about that is in exactly the same way to apply on the NHS app for a test.
00:04:41 Speaker 2
And then students will be invite given a slot to attend, the test will be taken and then they'll get notification by text. But 36 hours later.
00:04:53 Speaker 3
The the testing facilities now on campus can all be accessed through our knew.
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Rapid response team and that includes the LTS, the local test site that Peter's just talked about so we can either push you through the LTS root or through our new Halo root and the Halo tests are a saliva based test that we will be providing on site.
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The rapid response and test we get the results within 24 hours.
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And you will, if you if you report that you've got symptoms.
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Through the Rapid Response Team.
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Then we will give you an appointment to undertake one of these tests at one of the two locations we've got one on Manor Park and we've got one on Stack Hill. You will be given a time. You'll go to the test facility, complete the test and they will be transported and you'll get the test within 24 hours.
00:05:56 Speaker 3
And they can all be organized through the Rapid Response Team. It's probably worth just mentioning that we're doing tests for people with symptoms at the moment, so we're not doing a mass, asymptomatic testing of staff or students, so anybody who's got symptoms, no matter how mild, should.
00:06:16 Speaker 3
Report through the Rapid Response team and we can arrange that test for them.
00:06:20 Speaker 4
Awesome, thank you very much. As you mentioned about you know questions from students. I do have a couple here. You have covered a few of them so I'm going to skip through a few. So I do apologize if you did meant answer these already. The question here is if you test positive other than than yourself is informed, does it automatically trigger?
00:06:37 Speaker 4
Trigger your URL to be checked in Excel documents, track and trace etc etc. So could you talk a little bit about the process of that please?
00:06:44 Speaker 3
So if you're given a Halo test as part of that process, you will give consent, and that's part of the process that consent is given that.
00:06:57 Speaker 3
You will receive the results back to your app on your phone and we will receive the result as well. And that's to enable us to then inform anybody who needs to self isolate because of being a close contact. If you go through the LTS because that's an NHF service.
00:07:16 Speaker 3
We we don't get those results back an and so we'd be reliant on you to tell us that you've had a positive result.
00:07:24 Speaker 4
If I get a positive test result somewhere else, how do I report it to the University?
00:07:30 Speaker 3
OK, so if you get a positive test from elsewhere then you go through the rapid.
00:07:36 Speaker 3
Response team and that was again launched yesterday. It's quite clear on the website now. We've tried to make that as accessible as possible so that it's not hidden. So you go through that Rapid Response team and then you report that you've got had a positive test results and then you can access some of the services.
00:07:56 Speaker 3
And support that we're able to provide. It will also enable us then to carry out some of the contact tracing what we're trying to do is undertake contact close contact tracing ourselves rather than waiting for the NHS&PHE to do that, because we can do that more quickly and therefore.
00:08:17 Speaker 3
Have people isolate more quickly.
00:08:20 Speaker 5
I'll see if students are testing with only their system like they've got symptoms. I usually when they have symptoms, they have to be self isolating. So how does it work in terms of if they're meant to be self isolating? How will how will the testing work? Are they allowed to breach the self isolating policy to come and get a test?
00:08:37 Speaker 3
So you are allowed to leave your accommodation to go and get a test, and it's one of those situations where you go straight there and straight back and you'd have your face covering on if you were outside you take sensible precautions. The Rapid Response Team will advise on that. Now we're particularly sick.
00:08:57 Speaker 3
Or elanin your accommodation on site then we could buy exception deliver a Halo test for instance to your accommodation. We have that built in but it's not the normal process.
00:09:11 Speaker 3
So that that is how we will be managing that situation. The same for the LTS, the local test site on the GSA car park, as Peter said earlier, that is a walking center and that is only for people with symptoms and so people from the local community or staff and students will have to walk.
00:09:33 Speaker 3
Onto site to have those tests carried out. So yes, the the short answer to your question is yes, you can leave your accommodation for that one limited activity.
00:09:45 Speaker 6
So a concern that's been shared with us is about students who are breaking their social distancing rules and not being disciplined.
00:09:54 Speaker 6
So I'm just wondering, um, where should students be reporting these concerns? And also what is the procedure for when it's reported that a student or group of students is breaking some kovid rules?
00:10:07 Speaker 2
First of all, what we have seen is affectively. Most students you know the vast majority of.
00:10:15 Speaker 2
Students are being compliant and have supported their being respectful of of the need to self isolate and I think for that reason we've seen relatively low number of cases. Currently. You know when you compare with some of the what we've seen in other universities in the sector. So I think that you know, I think that's a really important point to make.
00:10:37 Speaker 2
Um, what we did recognize was well protected during freshers week when people were arriving at University for the first time and people were a little bit uncertain about, you know, orientating around the area. We were seeing quite a number of groups walking around campus.
00:10:58 Speaker 2
You know in groups bigger than six that we were asking to support us and people again were compliant. We so so our own in-house security team. What we did very quickly was we increased the number of security.
00:11:18 Speaker 2
Who were actually present on campus fairly quickly, so we brought in an extra 15 security team to work alongside our teams and that was really to to reassure. OK, so reassuring presence so that people saw security and also to determine where people were.
00:11:39 Speaker 2
What we're not complying, so we've seen a small number of cases and we continue to see a small number of cases where students either disregard the the social distancing rules, and we've also had a couple of more serious incidents where we've taken disciplinary action within the student disciplinary regulations.
00:12:00 Speaker 2
Again, so students we needed to make sure that we were making a very very making it very clear that you know by not following the guidance, you're putting yourself and other people in danger. So we wanted to make sure that we use the disciplinary.
00:12:21 Speaker 2
That line proportionately, which is what we believe we've done. We are getting still quite a number of reports, so through report and support, which is an anonymous reporting line into security, we're still getting quite a number of frequent reports of parties or noise, and so on, and.
00:12:42 Speaker 2
Our security will continue to monitor that they'll continue to respond to that. We've got CCTV covering all of campus so we can in most cases we will identify who's in those groups and we will take disciplinary action and the disciplinary action will be again proportionate to what we find. So it.
00:13:02 Speaker 2
As you will probably know that that that ranges from simple advice and recording the fact that we've been through to a a verbal warning written warning and then in the more serious cases we've got, options such as requiring students to leave their residences and so on. But as I say.
00:13:22 Speaker 2
Currently the the situation is is good in terms of compliance, but we do need to make sure that we we are complacent. So what will now do is we'll respond to information that we've got regarding, you know, sometimes we get information about the planned party or a planned event or big celebrations. So you.
00:13:43 Speaker 2
Know that the weekend coming we've got Halloween and then we have, you know, fireworks night, where we're typically people will want to celebrate, so we'll be bringing extra extra security and just to cover off and to have a presence in a visible presence to reassure our students on campus. So quite a lot going on.
00:14:03 Speaker 2
But obviously, if students are worried or do see anything they're not comfortable with or makes them feel unsafe, the report and support anonymous number block plus also the security is on 24/7. So if you ring the security non emergency number which is extension 2000 and two 2002.
00:14:25 Speaker 2
Or in emergencies 3333.
00:14:27 Speaker 7
And Peter just following on that just that if you ask me for students that might not be aware how to access, you know information about how many cases we have around campus. Could you maybe let them know at the moment how many confirmed cases we have on campus or off campus?
00:14:44 Speaker 2
On campus in.
00:14:45 Speaker 2
In residence, we've got eight students who confirmed that they are positive, but clearly we've got a lot of people have now notified us that there they are have symptoms and are awaiting the outcome of a test. So there's a smaller number of those as well, but we have probably about 100 or so students who are isolating because they are Contacts.
00:15:09 Speaker 2
Of those individuals, Deborah, do you want to come in on that?
00:15:12 Speaker 3
Yeah, I was just gonna say as well but the website is updated each week on on Thursday, so later today those numbers will go out and that will show the total number of staff and students both on and off site.
00:15:29 Speaker 3
Who are currently that we are managing who have a positive test result?
00:15:35 Speaker 5
Another question I have is and why is some activities allow us to be more than 6, yet we can't have SoC SOC's.
00:15:45 Speaker 2
What the University of done right from the outset is that we have followed the government guidance with regards to.
00:15:51 Speaker 2
The enabling activities to take place, so we saw the the freshers events. Lots of universities just clamp down and said We are having nothing what we wanted to do was to make sure that we very clearly followed the government guidance in in events which were bringing people together. So you will have seen for that event it was it was.
00:16:11 Speaker 2
It was planned to within an inch of its life. You know, we had very clear protocols for the numbers of people we allowed at the event. Their behavior inside the event. So people were only allowed on tables of six that drinks were provided by by table service. So there was no ability.
00:16:34 Speaker 2
In fact, we weren't allowing people to stand up and move from, certainly from table to table and so on. And we, it was very heavily regulated that event in as much as we had two or three meetings with the police regulatory authorities. So the licensing teams and they wanted to see our risk assessments to make sure that people were safe and that we were able to.
00:16:55 Speaker 2
Count people in. Count people out. We had sufficient security on site to make sure that that was a safe event. Now. Similarly the marquee event or Marquis setup as you will see is running on the same principle, so it's enabling us to bring people together. But in a Safeway to observe.
00:17:15 Speaker 2
The regulations the regulations have changed while we've done all this, so we had to be agile without to be fluid in terms of our planning and preparedness, but effectively, you know we have to follow the guidance. At the moment the rule of six applies so well, but there are some exceptions to the rule of six so.
00:17:35 Speaker 2
Some activities, some organized sporting activities, are an exception to the rule of 6, and if you go on to the government website it will give you a list of those those exceptions. So yeah, we are constantly monitoring monitoring. We are getting some reports that students are.
00:17:55 Speaker 2
Um, are in groups larger than six, which our security teams will just respond to something about being that because people are frankly unclear about the regulations you know, and you know, you've seen even Boris's been found on occasions where you know he's unclear about his own regulations.
00:18:16 Speaker 2
So students and staff can be forgiven for being confused. Sometimes we're doing everything we can to reinforce what the gap with the the regulations are. So using the coms. Obviously the website to do that, but effectively we know that we're ultimately trying to enable and facilitate all activities within this new normal.
00:18:37 Speaker 2
While keeping ourselves and students safe.
00:18:40 Speaker 6
From quite a complex question to a fairly simple one, I know there is some uncertainty among students about whether it's OK to go home on the weekends, and so are students allowed to go home at the weekends.
00:18:52 Speaker 3
So they can. Yes they can go home at the weekends. What the government advice currently says is that you wouldn't.
00:19:00 Speaker 3
That you shouldn't travel home from a non high risk area.
00:19:07 Speaker 3
So, like Guilford into a high risk area.
00:19:11 Speaker 3
For instance, Liverpool, because obviously then if you traveled home and then came back again, then the the risk of transmission is is pretty high. So again the government have stipulated what we should and shouldn't do. Currently it's under guidance, but we can that that information.
00:19:31 Speaker 3
Is on the coronavirus website, but yes, students can go home. We wouldn't encourage them to go home if their.
00:19:39 Speaker 3
I'm unwell or.
00:19:42 Speaker 3
Self isolating the not allowed to go home under those circumstances. At the moment, under under the the government rules, but currently yes they can.
00:19:50 Speaker 4
And just a final question for me. I'm gonna try it. We've had a couple of questions kind of alluding to this. I'm going to try and wrap them into into one, but obviously with the the new testing facilities it's quite likely that our number of cases that are.
00:20:02 Speaker 4
Measured will go up because of the increased testing, so people are a bit concerned about the chances of there being a sort of University wide lockdown such as in Manchester and other universities, or that you know there any plans to do that. What's the?
00:20:14 Speaker 3
Yes and no. Sort of those sort of scenarios have been worked through by the silver team.
00:20:22 Speaker 3
Not the same type of campus as the likes of Manchester, Sam, Peter will be able to explain a little bit more about that and and the way our accommodation setup so we're not anticipating at this point anything like we've seen elsewhere with mass lockdown of spaces, but we may find.
00:20:44 Speaker 3
And we've got some areas at the moment where we've got smaller and parts of accommodation that are self isolating because you'll get have a positive test and the eight people that that person lives with is self isolating and that goes through again, the Rapid Response team and we can put in place, then the support services that we need to.
00:21:04 Speaker 3
To support that and that self isolating flat. But Peter did you want to come in on that?
00:21:11 Speaker 2
Yeah, so it's a really good question. I'm I'm obviously a lot of people will be concerned about that. What we've what we've seen in other universities. We've been able to learn lessons from from their, their response, and their approach, and actually, our planning is really, really clear. So last week we had.
00:21:28 Speaker 2
Uh, an exercise where we've I brought in and Deborah brought in all of the key players who be involved in a response to a lockdown. Then we tested them to make sure first of all, that how we we communicate with that cohort, the affected students it within the residence is affected.
00:21:48 Speaker 2
How do we? How do you get the message into them? How do we understand their their needs in terms of well being for the duration of of a lockdown? What that actually means? And you know where people may have issues around mental well being, ground, logic, logic, logistical support so?
00:22:10 Speaker 2
You know access to cleaning access to food. All of those kind of things we we were testing our response to that. And you know, I think our plans are pretty well advanced. Just just so that you know the scenario where we would be.
00:22:28 Speaker 2
Dealing with a large number of students who were locked down. It would be based on information would be based on the number of cases, the positive cases which are present in that location and and it would be done festival. What would happen is if we get start to get big case big numbers like that in clusters or.
00:22:49 Speaker 2
An outbreak Public Health England would meet with us and they would give advice about which areas they would want to want to contain and and this is all about containing an outbreak. Further spread of the virus. So we would take that information. We would agree with blocks.
00:23:10 Speaker 2
That are involved and I think Deborah is right. You know we don't have like in Manchester Town Center where you've got, you know, just 400 students in in a single block. You know we don't have that. We have a lot of smaller self contained units with you know 8 or 12 and obviously up to 30 or 40 at most in a single building.
00:23:30 Speaker 2
And we can put a ring around that building so the numbers wouldn't wouldn't go up. What we might have is a number of those size buildings with 30 or 40 people in involved, but again, that's all part of our planning. How do we provide that logistical support to those numbers? So yeah, I think that it would be triggered by an escalation of cases.
00:23:52 Speaker 2
It will be agreed. We recognize that the key thing for for getting this right is to to communicate very clearly. With that the people affected in that area make sure that they are very clear what what's happening, what support they can get, what happens if they've got particular issues? You know all of that stuff we actually recognize is a really important part of.
00:24:13 Speaker 2
Making people feel safe during that period, and you know, obviously we recognize it will be a challenging time for the University, but we, we we we are confident that we've got a good plan.
00:24:26 Speaker 6
So this week, the biggest thing that community has been working on is opening up marquee as our new entertainment venue.
00:24:32 Speaker 3
00:24:34 Speaker 6
So we'll be hosting everything from Citrus One World Week to Univision, so will be home to a really diverse range of events, which is super exciting. I've also been working alongside Maya to produce a survey about drug use.
00:24:46 Speaker 6
Among sorry students, so we're holding campaign later in the semester. But before that we want to get to understand student experiences and opinions so that we can bring, you know, the most relevant information and support the campaign.
00:24:59 Speaker 6
So it's completely anonymous and the results will not be used to punish or promote drug use whatsoever. So that is online now at usc.co.uk for students to fill out.
00:25:09 Speaker 6
And finally, I've also begun looking into more ways we can celebrate the different cultures and nationalities we have at sorry, and I'm aiming for us to have at least two quarter event two cultural events per month in the market, so at the moment we're working with the Indian Students Association to bring you to Valley in a couple of weeks time, and also the SoC to bring a Latin light in as well. I think this will be great not only for students who will get to experience a bit of home away from home.
00:25:33 Speaker 6
But also for students who haven't experienced any culture outside of their own to come along and see something new. So I'm really excited to see what comes out of that.
00:25:41 Speaker 7
I have, I feel like we've worked quite well together and these last couple weeks we've done a lot of collaborations in addition to the drug campaign and the survey, me and Izzy, as well as our. And of course, I guess the Union as a whole. We've been working on our Movember campaign, so that's something I've been in quite a few meetings about that. Looking at what information we release, what challenges we do and don't say too much.
00:26:02 Speaker 7
Because those challenges, sorry, most changes that may come up next week, but just need to get the details. I don't need to confirm whether it's possible or not, but please, yeah, it should keep your eyes out for sorry. Multiple number challenge, fingers crossed actually, you know goes ahead. But that is one of my plans. Working with Aaron as well. I'm producing some videos. Ann is is well yeah basically we've been working together I guess.
00:26:20 Speaker 5
00:26:22 Speaker 6
Yeah, dream team.
00:26:24 Speaker 7
Something that let's come up for you out, and obviously we've all been apart of this. The consent course.
00:26:28 Speaker 5
Yeah, so the consent course was released this week, which is amazing that was released on Wednesday. So for all the students listening you can go into sorry, learn and go and complete the module by using a pin that you had been sent via email and then using your sorry email address to log into the website.
00:26:45 Speaker 5
It's a great thing to do. 'cause well, we want to make sure that the University makes consent compulsory as like what sort of images that give consent isn't compulsory.
00:26:55 Speaker 5
And part of this is to tackle bullying, harassment and bystander behavior, so please go ahead and take part in this. We have a campaign known as hashtag make the pledge. So if you feel like uploading something to say that you've made the pleasure that you've done the content cause Jack it up on your Instagram and tag us in it and we will re share another thing from the sports zone this week is that we also had.
00:27:17 Speaker 5
OCD awareness day on Monday and that was a great success. We had some really good posts from that from our let's talk and OCD and OCPD comparison and differences.
00:27:29 Speaker 4
Awesome guys, that sounds really good in the spirit of collaboration. I've also been collaborating with the activity zone this week and a little bit of last week as well. We've been working together for the academic societies and course trap sort of model that we're going to be taking forward soon and then the other big thing I've been working on this week has been a priority campaign, so hopefully you guys would have seen that there will be some emails going out, some common soon.
00:27:49 Speaker 4
It's basically we've got. We've got a short list down from various entries into what we think that sort of five or six big topics are. That could be what you want us to focus on this year. So then we're going to have a vote. So which is the number one priority to you guys for us to focus on as a union for this?
00:28:04 Speaker 7
Year, definitely a lot of a lot of plans behind the scenes. Few early discussions.
00:28:10 Speaker 7
Busy and I've been having with both community and activity team about varsity, so we're really, really excited about it. I mentioned it a little bit of it in my my activities. Old podcasts take over, but yeah, keep again. Watch watch that space. Things are going to be happening at this point. The current circumstances we're going to really do our best to deliver the best varsity in.
00:28:30 Speaker 7
In correlation with with government guidance, whether that's you know massive rusty across both SSP and and Stack Hill campus, or whether that's a sport only posterior split between two campuses, we're really we're really looking forward to having that blue and gold spare on on that day.
00:28:46 Speaker 5
In the spirit of collaboration, this should be good like collaboration, cost or something, and we Theo and I have a talk speaker coming in next month on the 29th, which is to do which is a Black History Month event that we've decided to carry out throughout the year and take into November. And it's to do is called.
00:29:05 Speaker 5
Am I enough with the Ted X talk are called to lua and we're really excited to show you all that, so you'll see more details of that being released in the next couple of weeks, awesome.
00:29:15 Speaker 4
Well, I think that's it from us then. Thank you very much for listening and we'll see you all in the marquee.
00:29:25 Speaker 1
That's everything this week from your Subs. Join us on Instagram and Facebook where you can see what's happening until next week's edition. If you want to get in touch, find us on Microsoft teams Instagram or email us on. Sorry 365.