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Covid-19 testing

Mass testing programme for staff and students

On Monday we begin to deliver the Government’s mass asymptomatic testing programme (i.e. for people showing no symptoms of Covid-19) on the University’s campus. 

The testing programme is primarily designed to support students to travel home safely for the winter vacation period and universities right across the country are taking part in this national effort.

Now that we have a good idea of the demand from our students for these tests, we can extend the testing not only to staff in essential campus roles, but also to our wider staff community.

The testing, using lateral flow testing devices (LFDs), will be done at the Sport Centre (near Falmer House) – and unlike other tests, result will be made available within 30–45 minutes. 

To be confident of a negative result, staff and students undertaking this testing will need to take two tests over a three-day period. To book a test you can complete this online booking form. You would need to take your first test by Tuesday 8 December in order to have your second test done within the time period that the facility is open.

You can read more information and FAQs and the advice we are giving to students on the Student Hub.

To run the testing programme requires about 100 people every day to work on campus, from Monday 30 November to Friday 11 December inclusive (and including the weekend of Saturday 5–Sunday 6 December).

We have met the staffing requirement and we would like to thank all of those people who have volunteered. Read our FAQs to see what’s involved if you are helping out.

If you have signed up to help out and have not yet heard back, please don’t worry, the testing team will be in touch soon to confirm your dates.

If you have any queries about helping out, please do not hesitate to contact the relevant colleagues by mailing covidtesting@sussex.ac.uk.

Covid-19 dashboard and current cases

There are currently no Covid-19 cases on campus and there are 11 students who are self-isolating off campus.

The Cabinet Office did a review of the way that universities have responded to Covid-19 and singled out Sussex's tracing system as best practice, something the Minister of State for Universities – Michelle Donelan – mentioned in a call with the Vice-Chancellor earlier this week.

Staff can keep up to date with current infection rates by viewing our Covid-19 reporting and information dashboard – which is being updated daily after 3pm on weekdays and data will be provided on a Monday for the previous weekend.

Information on teaching and assessments’ deadline extension

Academic staff will be delivering teaching in the final week of term (7–11 December) entirely online. Students are being asked to continue to attend teaching in person where it is taking place until this point.  

The deadline for assessments which currently have a deadline within week 11 (7–11 December) will now be extended by seven days. 

Students are aware that assessments submitted after this date will be subject to the standard late penalties.

We are encouraging students to submit their assessments to meet the original deadline, or as early as they can so that they are able to have a good break and rest over the Winter vacation period. 

You can read the information we are providing to students.

Mobile Testing Unit – returns to campus this weekend (28–29 November) 
The Mobile Testing Unit returns to campus this weekend (Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 November) and the following weekend (5–6 December). On both weekends it will be in the Arts car park (7A). 

Unlike the mass testing at the Sport Centre, this testing facility is for symptomatic testing only. Those people concerned about having Covid-19 symptoms and requiring a test should book an appointment through the national booking system. The University also has home testing kits too, which are available to students living on campus once they have filled out the University’s reporting form.  

Additional leave as a thank you to staff

This week, the VC emailed all staff to let them know about the decision to extend the University’s closed period over the winter vacation to a full fortnight. This means that the University will be closed at the end of the working day on Friday 18 December and will reopen on Monday 4 January. 

This is in recognition of staff’s unwavering commitment and dedication to students and the campus community.  

We are very grateful to the many staff in essential roles who have to work over the period as they keep our campus services running, or are providing other services remotely. You will be able to take the additional time too in the following weeks.

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By: Charlie Littlejones
Last updated: Friday, 27 November 2020

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