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The hard work and diligence of our Covid Response Team has certainly paid dividends. Only 35 positive cases have been reported in university-owned accommodation since September, and local areas with high student populations have seen levels of infection in line with the local community.

It’s a far cry from the picture painted by the national media of students driving high rates of infection in their local communities, and something we feel rightly proud of.

So how did we manage this? Well, as with most successes, it was a mix of good planning, good communication and good people – including our students who played a big part in the success.

We took the view early on that we needed to have some high expectations of our students and to treat them like the adults they were. Each signed up to a behavioural agreement and bubbles were created in student accommodation to enable them to socialise without the need for social distancing restrictions. Socially-distanced ‘Freshers’ events were held and under Chester Rules, competitive sport could continue.

From the outset all positive cases were reported to our Covid Response Team and an extensive track and trace was enacted. This relied on open and honest communication with our students to be effective and we’re grateful that they really rose to the challenge.

We also supported all isolating students - positive cases and those in the bubbles - to help them with the essentials like food and laundry, but also to help them stave off the boredom and feel connected to the outside world.

We feel that it’s because we worked together with our students, listening to them and creating an environment where they saw value in sticking to the rules, that we managed to achieve such good results.

Thanks to every single one of them – and let’s hope that the worst of Covid 19 is now behind us.

 

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undergraduate postgraduate COVID-19