OXFORD UNIVERSITY & CORONAVIRUS:
Health and Protection During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Oxford University has outlined the detailed plans it is working on to minimise risks for staff and students. This includes
- A testing service, open to all academic and non-academic staff and students
- Protective measures to keep people safe at work, study or in university or college accommodation
- Health and welfare measures.
Of wider interest at this time is Oxford University's introduction of a Covid-19 testing service. ...
The University, in collaboration with the NHS, is implementing an in-house COVID-19 testing service to supplement NHS provision, so that all academic and non-academic staff and students of the University and the colleges can have easy access to a COVID-19 test if they think they have symptoms. This will provide assurance to them, and their families, that any new case of COVID-19 at the University will be identified, and action taken to prevent transmission, at the earliest possible moment. This service will also help protect our local community, and ensure that the University does not put an extra burden on our local NHS facilities as we welcome students and staff back to the University from the autumn. It will be operational by September, when students start returning to Oxford for the new academic year.
The key elements of the testing service are as follows:
- The University will be establishing a central testing site in the city and one in Headington, with an online booking system.
- The service will be open to all staff and students who are concerned that they may have symptoms of COVID-19.
- The current test is a nose and throat swab to detect the presence of the virus. If testing technology improves, our testing service will adapt as necessary.
- There will be a rapid turnaround of tests, with results available within 24 hours.
- In the event of a positive result, Public Health England (PHE) will maintain responsibility for tracing. As part of our service, however, we will interview those being tested to ensure that an up-to-date list of possible contacts is immediately available in the event of a positive test, and will take rapid proactive action, in collaboration with PHE and the local authority, to minimise the risk of transmission.
- Privacy is extremely important and the testing service will be set up to ensure the security of personal medical data. We will explore asking those using the service to voluntarily consent to having their details disclosed for the purposes of supporting PHE’s contact tracing efforts.
It is also interesting to note that This service will also help protect our local community, and ensure that the University does not put an extra burden on our local NHS facilities as we welcome students and staff back to the University from the autumn. Also in the section on Support for Heath and Wellbeing the comment relating to supporting staff: We are aware that there could be a range of health vulnerabilities and concerns about travelling and returning to work, or ongoing caring or home-schooling responsibilities.