All University of Suffolk staff and students to get rapid Covid-19 tests in January

Ipswich students could play a major role in deciding the constituency's general election result Pict

The University of Suffolk will offer rapid Covid-19 tests to all staff and students when they return in January 2021 - Credit: Gregg Brown

All staff and students returning to the University of Suffolk in the New Year will get rapid-result tests for Covid-19, it has been announced.

Appointments for lateral flow testing - those which can return results within around half an hour -  will begin from January 4, with students and staff being tested regardless of whether they have symptoms.

Public Health Suffolk director Stuart Keeble told Friday's local outbreak engagement board meeting that all students would be tested twice within four-to-eight weeks of the start of term.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk, said people needed to be sensible when meeting

Public Health Suffolk director Stuart Keeble confirmed rapid Covid-19 testing was planned for the University of Suffolk - Credit: Archant

"Testing is a really important part of our strategy around managing Covid. We need to test, we need to isolate, we need to support people to do those things, but it is an important part," he said.

"What our strategy in Suffolk will be about is really focusing on high risk settings and high risk places.

"As part of coming back into the new university year we will be working with the University of Suffolk to help them test each of their students twice using the lateral flow devices over the first four-to-eight weeks of term.

"University is a higher risk setting because of the students living in close proximity in the accommodation."

The plan follows guidance from the Department for Education over the return of students to halls of residence for the spring term, which includes facilitating testing for all and staggered start times.

The IWIC (Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre) celebrates its first anniversary. Pictured is Tim Gr

University of Suffolk chief operating officer Tim Greenacre

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Tim Greenacre, chief operating officer at the University of Suffolk, said: "Working with the Suffolk County Council public health team, the university is putting in place a full-service provision of lateral flow device testing to all of our students and staff.

"This will be run as an appointment service from January 4, 2021.

"This will not only allow the safe transition of students returning to the area following the Christmas break, but will also provide testing for those based locally.

"The safety  and wellbeing of our university community is our number one priority, so we are pleased to be able to offer this testing facility.

"We have also reintroduced a blended approach to learning and teaching whereby online teaching will continue to take place before face-to-face teaching is reintroduced once the testing programme has begun."

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