More than 100 Cardiff University students are self-isolating after 19 tested positive for coronavirus.
A Cardiff University spokesman warned the number of positive cases is “likely to be higher”. The university said: “We currently have 132 students who are self-isolating, amongst a total student population of some 30,000.
“Each student has received advice and guidance on the actions they need to take. Follow up advice and support will be provided by our student support and wellbeing service.
“We continue to urge all our students to continue to follow the latest Welsh Government guidance to protect themselves and help stop the spread of the virus. We are grateful to our students for doing so.”
The news came as Cardiff University Vice Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, wrote to reassure parents and carers.
A Cardiff University spokesman said: “Like the majority of universities we’ve received a number of queries and concerns from parents.”
Cardiff University is operating its own in-house saliva Covid-test which it has asked all students and staff to have before arriving on campus. The regime will soon be processing 4,000 tests a week, the Vice Chancellor’s letter added.
An NHS local test site is also being set up on the campus “in the coming week” for testing staff, students and the local community.
In a joint letter with his pro vice chancellor for education and students, Claire Morgan, Professor Riordan told parents he recognised there are “added concerns” for the start of the academic year and laid out safety measures being put in place.
“We are writing to you today both to address some of the concerns raised with us since students began arriving in Cardiff, and explain the safety measures we have worked over the summer to put in place ahead of their return,” the letter said.
“Our University remains open and the restrictions do allow for several important parts of student life to continue, assuming the guidance from ourselves, the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales is adhered to.”
The letter goes on to say that the university’s libraries, catering outlets and sports facilities are open to allow for social distancing. Face to face teaching is also going ahead.
It says: “Before our students arrived, we put in a range of safety measures to support on-campus teaching while keeping our students, staff and the wider community safe.
“We welcomed the education minister’s reiteration on Wednesday that a blended approach to learning is important if we are to give students as normal a university experience as possible.
“In-person teaching in small groups is scheduled to take place, and social distancing, plus enhanced cleaning and hand sanitisation, allow for our teaching staff and students to remove face coverings if speaking.”
The letter adds that as teaching spaces are set up to maintain two metre social distancing, when the two-metre rule is observed, no one in a teaching space can subsequently be classed as a contact.
“We recognise that many of our students are taking an exceptionally responsible approach, taking great care to adhere to the measures, and we commend them for that.”
How Cardiff University’s in-house testing works
Students who are not showing any symptoms will be asked to book an appointment at one of three dedicated University testing stations, based at the Hadyn Ellis Building in Maindy, College House at Heath Park and Talybont Social Centre.
The University will also run a collection/drop off point for home testing and a mobile collection service for staff and students as the service rolls out.
The test involves giving a saliva sample which will then be analysed on site, with the aim to provide results within 48 hours. Those who test positive must self-isolate – along with all other household members – in accordance with the latest public health guidance and they must seek a confirmatory test via the NHS.
Students with symptoms on arrival in Cardiff are being told to self-isolate and book a test through the Welsh Government’s testing scheme.
A range of “support measures” are in place to help any students asked to self isolate.
“The Test Trace Protect service will maintain daily contact via text and telephone both to check in and check up with those self-isolating, and our academic schools will liaise to ensure academic study can be maintained remotely or required face to face activity caught up in other ways.
“Our student support and wellbeing service will check in with those who are self-isolating or test positive and we are providing a full range of support services remotely.
“In addition, peer to peer support will be available from our residence life team and academic peer mentors. If your daughter or son has any concerns then please do encourage them to access this support, as well as contacting their personal tutor, a member of their programme team or school office.”
Swansea University confirmed today it still has 32 students still self isolating after 55 cumulative student cases since term began. Six members of staff, none involved in teaching, have tested positive for Covid-19 since term started.
Aberystwyth University said since Monday October 5 there have been 22 cases of Covid-19 amongst students reported to the university but no staff cases.
Bangor University Covid 19 said Covid “is now present in our student community” and some are self-isolating in halls of residence, but would not give numbers.
University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University have reported eight and three cases respectively. University of Wales Trinity St David and Wrexham Glyndwr did not respond to requests for information about Covid-19 cases.