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Monday 30 November 2020

Students undertake Covid-19 asymptomatic testing on UCLan’s Preston Campus

More than 500 students attend the first day’s testing

The first of three asymptomatic testing sites (ATS) has opened at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Preston Campus, as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase the availability of mass Covid-19 testing.

More than 500 students, who have a term-time address and are planning to travel home for Christmas, attended UCLan’s Foster Building Social Space on 30 November to undertake the first of two self-swab lateral flow tests.

UCLan has worked with NHS Test & Trace to create the on-campus ATS facilities so that students who are showing no symptoms, who may be infectious but unaware, are able to get tested and asked to self-isolate if they are, or reassured quickly if they are not.

Among the first students through the door were Georgia Hunt, Andrew Goldsmith, and Ella Joseph-Stewart.

"I’m from London and I want to go home to see my mum and cat for Christmas. Doing these tests are giving me the peace of mind that I can travel home safely"

Ella Joseph-Stewart, first year acting student

Georgia, a first-year law student, said: “I want to go back home to Penrith to spend Christmas with my family and I want to make sure that I’m free of Covid and therefore can’t spread it to my family.”

First year policing student Andrew Goldsmith commented: “My family are back in Leicester and I want to protect them as much as possible, so I was happy to sign up and come for a test. I don’t want to take a chance with my family’s health.”

Acting student Ella, who’s in her first year, said: “I’m from London and I want to go home to see my mum and cat for Christmas. Doing these tests are giving me the peace of mind that I can travel home safely.”

The students will get tested twice during this week. If they receive two negative tests, they are advised to return home immediately. Should a student test positive they will have to undertake a PCR test and will have to self-isolate for 10 days. They will still have enough time to return home for Christmas.

Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission. Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, asking them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus.

"My family are back in Leicester and I want to protect them as much as possible. I don’t want to take a chance with my family’s health."

First year policing student Andrew Goldsmith

Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test. Processing of these tests has been undertaken by more than 100 of UCLan’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences; School of Nursing; Sport and Health Sciences; and School of Community Health and Midwifery students. They are rapidly turning around results within an hour.

Testing on the Preston Campus continues until the evening of Saturday, 5 December, while the same tests will take place on the University’s Burnley and Westlakes campuses on Tuesday, 1 December, and Friday, 4 December.

UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin added: “Thanks to the hard work of staff and students across the University our Covid infection rates on campus remain low. However, we have worked with Government to set up testing centres at our three campuses in Preston, Burnley and Westlakes to ensure that all students living in student accommodation have the opportunity to be tested and can travel home as safely as possible for Christmas.”

Student Covid-19 testing01 / 05