Surrey SabbCast

Mass Testing on Campus

November 20, 2020 University of Surrey Students' Union
Surrey SabbCast
Mass Testing on Campus
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The University have just announced mass asymptomatic testing for all students on campus, and in this edition, Students' Union CEO Alan Sutherland explains what that involves. The sabbs also give their run down on what has been happening and how they have been representing you.

Welcome to the surrey sabbcastt 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. Find out more@www.usu.co.uk or find us on Instagram and Facebook at Surrey union. Hello, and welcome to another edition of the sorry subclass. I'm your President, Lizzie bertelsen. And this week, I'm joined by our VP Theo, Izzy and Maya. Unfortunately, Aaron can't join us this week as he is taking part in a mental health discussion panel. It's fab to be back. I hope you all enjoyed hearing about what all zones have been up to over the past couple of weeks. If you've already read the university bulletin, which was emailed out this week, you would have seen that University are about to start mass asymptomatic testing all students before the winter break. To explain more about what is happening. Student Union CEO Alan Sutherland is joining us this week. So Alan, what exactly is happening? Well, hello, Lizzie. Thanks for having me. Well, it seems like it was just a few weeks ago that Deborah and Lucy were on here. And they said that are no plans for mass asymptomatic testing. And here we are, which is the kind of story of 2020 that your plans can change very, very soon. So if you have the government announcement to start this lockdown period, they said there was going to be guidance around the the end of the end of term one issued very shortly, and that that guidance came out and what what the plan is, is to test all students on campus before they leave at the end of term one. So those those students who are planning to go home to their their out of term residents, or if they're going to go abroad, the idea is to test everybody, importantly, who is asymptomatic. So what's going to happen is, there's going to be a link sent out to all students next week, where you book a slot, and there are going to be eight days in which you can receive a test, the tests are going to be happening over at sorry, Sports Park. So this is for students who do not have symptoms and do not have COVID. If you do have symptoms, and you do have COVID, that's a separate issue. So this is for everybody who does not have symptoms, that's what asymptomatic means. And you'll book an appointment, or you'll go to SSP at that time, it's a really quick test, the test takes six minutes, and you get the results within about half an hour. And then you know, you've got the assurance of whether or not the test comes back positive or negative. It's all about managing the mass migration of people around the country that will happen at this time. Because it's not just this university that's that's in session that you know, there are millions of students all around the UK. And generally at this time, there's that there's a huge movement all around the middle to the end of December. So it's to it's to prevent the mass movement creating another wave happening around New Year, January time. So you'll go to sorry, Sports Park, you'll have a very simple test, it's one swab, you'll get the test results back within about 20 to 30 minutes. If that test is positive, then you're going to be asked to do the NHS test so that there's different technologies behind these tests, that test is positive, you have to do what's called a PCR test. And you'll see that testing sites at the entrance of campus, that's the walking site, GSA, so you would then go on to the NHS website, you would book in for that. And you would test for that PCR test, which then gives you absolute confirmation as to whether or not you have COVID. If you do then you'll be required to self isolate for 10 days, and then you're free to carry on with your onward journey. So that's the plan. And what we're hoping to do is do the fast students first. So anybody in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences with fH, MS and feps, towards the end of the period, the reason for that is fH, Ms infections have a lot more. In personal activity, they have lab work, they have practicals. And generally speaking, the students have fast have less of them. So it is easier for fast as a faculty to move to teaching online quicker. So it's for those students who wish to go get tests and then leave campus if they wish, that can happen faster and faster than it can in FX and F HMS. But everybody will be asked to book next week. So check your emails for that. Oh, that was clear. And if I could ask you a question about that. So course where students who want to go home at Christmas, getting a negative test results can be very reassuring for them and their families that they won't be bringing COVID back. But for those who may test positive, I understand from what you explained there that students will be asked to isolate, then later, they can go home if they wish. Or they have to take another test and prove the negative before they're allowed to go home. Or how does that work out for any students who do test positive. So if you receive a positive test from the test, which will happen at sorry, sportspark, you then register for NHS test, and then you go and get one of those, and you get the results, I think the next day, and in that situation, you're required to self isolate for 10 days, as per the government regulation. And that's to stop that virus to be transmitted around the rest of the country. If you are in contact with someone who tests positive, but you test negative, you're still free to carry on your own journey, if you're planning to leave campus towards the end of semester. So with the the last date of testing, we'll just have to work out some dates here. If the testing is going to run to the seventh of December, let's say you have a test on the seventh that comes back positive, you should be able to get an NHS test, let's say worst case scenario on the eighth. And you get that on the ninth 10 days isolation brings you up to the 19th of December would be the date that you would be allowed to come out of self isolation. Thanks, Robin, I think something else that students have been querying since the news came out is there's a lot of need for students, international students, especially that will be flying home, their airlines and the countries that they are going back to require a negative test result for them to be able to enter the country. Obviously, you're talking about a difference in tests between the one the university is offering and one that the NHS is offering. So which one if either would international students need to take? And what advice are the university giving international students that do need that negative test result? That's a really, really important point. And different airlines have different requirements so that all three types of tests are happening company on campus. So first of all, if you fill out the university form and say that you've got symptoms, you can have a university test and that test site is up towards the Students Union, that's called the halo test. The test that will be happening from the 30th of November is called the lateral flow test. That's the one if you saw the press conference with a brigadier next to Boris and he had a swarm but a plastic tube. That's the lateral flow test. And then the NHS test, which is happening on GSA carpark. And as sites all across the country, that's the PCR test, the PCR test is a requirement from many airlines. Now, you can't get an NHS PCR test unless you have symptoms, but the variety of different scenarios in which you can get a PCR test. So some students may be required to get a private PCR tests, they're available from places like books, and you can you can go online for that. So it's really clear that students who have individual requirements from airlines that they're travelling with that require a PCR test will have to arrange that and they should do that as soon as possible. Thanks. And that's actually quite insightful, because I'm actually one of those students that in order for me to go home through Emirates Airline, I actually have to get a private PCR test. And to be honest, I wasn't really sure myself what the difference was between them. So Thanks for clarifying that. I've got two questions, actually. So the first one is I'm seeing as the testing is going to take place at sorry, sportspark. Is it going to interfere with normal activity, assuming that they're going to reopen after lockdown? And great question. To which I don't know, we have looked as to, you know, it made me wonder as to why sorry. sportspark is really specific requirements for the space that you need to do these testings, of course, now, there's something the third test site, we're beginning to run out of options. However, this has been managed with lots of different work streams. As you can imagine, there's there's about 50 university staff per day running this test site. So as I'm aware that you know, your cue to come into SSP and it will be one of the rooms inside I think it possibly be one of the arenas, do the test and then leave so I'm hopeful that it won't interfere too much with the operation of SSP. Thanks. I guess at the same time, there isn't any university sort of activity going on, even after the second, as far as I know, based on the government guidance that I've read recently. Well, we all wait to find out what kind of state that is. As in by December the second and that will give us a better idea of what is what is allowed to happen and what isn't. Yeah, that's true. So my second question, I think you've touched on it a little bit in your intro. So basically, if someone tests positive in your university flat or your university house, but you test negative, can you go home, as far as I'm aware, if someone you live with test positive, and you have to quarantine for 14 days, what happens in this case? So there's there's no specific guidance for students, and so that this time about the household students accommodation or halls of residence is not included within the definition of households. That's, that's why there can be a difference here. So up until now, we've just treated every accommodation unit as a household. But no, there's very specific guidance, which says, If students test negative, but are in close contact with somebody who tests positive, they can still continue to return to the end destination. But they have to isolate when they get there. Students who are self isolating, I know in the past, we've had the self isolation buddy scheme to support them. And but given that many of these buddies will have travelled home for the holidays, what sort of support will be offered to those who are isolating during those later weeks in December? That's a good question. Once again, there's a another separate team concentrating solely on support of students over the vacation period. You're absolutely right, we've had the the buddy scheme, we also have staff volunteers, and there will continue to be a provision over the holidays. The expectation is, of course, that there will be less students on campus less self isolating, and therefore the pressure on that system will diminish. I guess there's a way to kind of round it out. My question would be so for the obviously, the whole point of this testing is so that people can go home for the for the Christmas period for the break. So assuming people go home to whether it's you know, a different county or even a different country, when they come back in January, are they going to have to get another test as well to make sure that they haven't caught it in the meantime? Well, that is something in which everybody is waiting for the next set of government guidance on. And I think in all honesty, it's it's not something that's top of the government's agenda at this moment in time, what they are concentrating on, amongst all the other things, is managing the movement of students at the end of semester one, and they haven't yet considered the start of semester two. So as we're seeing that, the majority of the exams, which will happen in January, will be online, there's going to be a number of practicals, which will be in passing. So there's going to be less need for students to actually physically be on campus in January. But all students will be expected to return for the start of semester two, which is the start of February, I don't remember the exact date. So I think they'll probably be some flexibility in January, and then returned to the standard hybrid online in person teaching from the start of semester two. Amazing. Well, thank you very much for joining us today, Alan. And I think we can all say that has been hugely insightful, hopefully give students a little bit more information and regarding a symptomatic testing that the university is offering. So thank you very much again for joining us. So we are now going to move on to our Weekly Roundup so you can hear what your sabbatical officers have been up to over the past week. So we are going to kick off with Maya to hit autumn activity. So what activity has actually been up to recently have also been on podcast for quite some time. So I might go a week back if that's alright, so around a week ago, we created an activity timetable for students to have things to do during lockdown. And those things sort of vary from employability events, fitness challenges, we have a Movember walk, we've had clubs and societies putting on their sessions on that calendar as well. We had employability and careers putting on session. So just a variety of different things that students can get involved in with their housemates or the flatmates while they're in lockdown. And I'm really, really proud of it because the turnaround for that was literally about two days and everyone really worked hard from you know, community in different sort of sectors of the university. Everyone put everything together. We got that calendar out. I think on the second day of lockdown, I really hope that students have been making the most out of it. Another thing I've already mentioned is Movember. We're just over halfway through November, our university target was actually 7000 pounds. As of right now we have currently hit 10,000 pounds. And we still have, you know, just over a week ago, so really, really proud of that really proud of all the clubs and societies. They've been involved. We're also really proud of all the individual members of the university building like students that, you know, even though they're not part of a club or society, they also wanted to get involved and really push themselves and join some of the circles challenges that we've had. So really well done to everyone in the community for that, I think is you're probably touched on this a bit. But me and Izzy have launched our drug and alcohol awareness campaign this week. It's been really, really successful. We've had our sorry debates yesterday. And honestly, the conversations that were going on were so insightful. Other than that, this week, I've sat in a couple meetings to do with, you know, over the holidays, but I'm not going to touch on that too much, because I know, that's his little project. So I'll pass over to AC so she can talk about a little bit more. Yeah, we've had in a really good start to the week so far on our alcohol and drug awareness campaign. And as of recording, we've had a couple of events so far. And like Maya said, We both found last night's debate event very insightful. And, you know, we discussed everything from student drinking coaches to the legalisation of cannabis. And it was really interesting to hear what students thought. And I think we've certainly learned a lot from that. Meyer and I have always emphasise that this campaign isn't a tick box exercise. And the harm reduction message is something we want to promote throughout this year, and hopefully beyond as well. And one way we hope to do this is through creating a formal drugs policy for the union. So recently, I've been writing off policy that explains our legal responsibility to have zero tolerance within our licenced venues like Rubik's, but also explains that the Students Union as an organisation will champion education and harm reduction for its students. So if this policy does get approved, we will be mandated to, you know, actively share harm reduction material with students, which I think is really important for us to do every year. And not just to our Myron IRA SAB. We also held our very first sorry, sustainability forum on Tuesday, which was an opportunity for students to feedback to us and the sustainability team at the University, any issues big or small, regarding how we approach sustainability, we hope that will be the first forum of many. And as you've probably heard before, sustainability is the campaign that students chose to for us to focus on this year as part of making a change. So we hope this is going to be a great way for students to get involved in that campaign. And the final thing community we're working on at the moment is the hero of the holiday campaign. So as somebody who stays on campus during holiday periods, I know that it can be quite a lonely time, especially a medeco. But I'm sure it will be quite a lonely time for some students. And I just want to ensure that we're doing stuff here at the union. So we're hoping to have an event on Christmas Day COVID, allowing, and we're also just hoping to have, you know, lots of comms going out about things students can do if they are staying in Guilford during that holiday period. So things that I've been up to the last week or two. So we had to make your change campaign just finished, which sustainability one. So there's been a kind of a little bit of washed up from that kind of what are we going to take forward from that, kind of looking through the open comments and things like that. We've got a liberation week coming up next week. So again, we've been prepping for that the new liberation network structures been kind of rolling out. So we've been doing a bit of stuff with that got the student voice for on this evening. So I've been doing lots of prep for that. So I suppose by the time you're listening to this will probably be over. But hopefully I'll see you there, which is going to be in a couple of hours, I think, what else were we doing? Oh, yeah, had some, some more meetings with states and stuff. So we're looking at putting in a ramp near Starbucks, in terms of kind of getting up from that lower level run by the chemistry buildings and hive and stuff up to the level of Starbucks. So that's, we're looking at the plans for that trying to get that fitted in, because it's quite a quite a long ramp. So that's the hope anyway, learning analytics board. So that's the the university looking at a way of using kind of your data, how you interact with sorry, learn how you interact with the library, and so on and so forth. And using that to kind of, you know, Target, which students are doing really well and reward them and talk with students maybe struggling a bit more and kind of reaching out to them to support. So that's very much in the works at the moment. But it's an exciting project for the future. And the last thing is, me, Lizzie and Aaron, or did the Student Success committee on Wednesday, and that was really good as well. Amazing. Well, thank you all, as always, zones have been hugely busy over the past couple of weeks, a little bit of an overview of what I've been up to in the central zone. Again, I haven't been on the podcast for quite a while. And so this may span a couple of weeks, but picking out some of the key things. I know a lot of students asking about the safety net at the moment for lockdown 2.0 University are yet to release an official statement. However, unions from across the country are writing to the office for students. So this is spearheaded by another union that we have joined them in asking the office for students to release guidance to unions and universities on a potential safety net. So hopefully that should be able to provide some more information. Over the past couple of weeks, I've been lucky enough to work with the equality and diversity team at the University on looking at support especially for transgender students on campus. And after successful lobbying, we're really really glad that the university system will now allow you to change your given name on set. So this especially He was concerned that if a student transitioned while they were at university, they weren't able to change the name appeared on sets of sorry, then. And this is now possible. So we would just encourage anyone that needed to change that name to get in contact with the hive, and they'll be able to put you through to the correct people to get it changed. I was lucky enough to speak to BBC sorry, overlock, down 2.0, and how our students were kind of coping with it, and what they thought of the government's guidelines over the past couple of weeks, we had Remembrance Day last week, which was a really touching day. And we were lucky enough to lay a wreath up at the memorial in town on behalf of all of our students, something that's especially close to my heart. And we announced the signing of the military covenant that day as well. So the military families covenant just means that we can provide even more support to the military students and staff that we have here on campus. today. In particular, I've been working with Diana de geek, so our teams are richer all around how the union can support postgraduate researchers that little bit more starting with kind of the platforms that they use to make it a little bit easier. And to make sure that they feel just as part of the community as our undergraduates do. I kind of overriding all of that has just been locked down support. And that's something that each and every Vice President and Aaron, especially who's not here today, has really been working on to make sure that students that are at home, whether they're vulnerable, whether they're in an environment where someone was tested positive or whether they tested positive themselves, that they are getting as much support from the university and the Union as possible. And this is something we will continue to commit to do to make sure that you guys are being looked after as much as possible. So that rounds up our podcast for this week. A huge huge thank you for everyone that's listening. I hope you're staying safe. Please, please do get in contact with us if you have any queries. That's everything this week from use apps. 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

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