The following is a message from Professor Patrick Maxwell, Head of the School of Clinical Medicine, for all Cambridge University students.
I am writing to inform you of our plans to offer all undergraduate and postgraduate students living in college accommodation a weekly test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, even if they show no symptoms.
This is one of a number of measures that the University and its Colleges have introduced to ensure that everyone can enjoy and make the most of their time at Cambridge during the ongoing pandemic.
We are offering testing to asymptomatic students because it is possible for people to spread the virus and infect others even if they are unaware that they themselves are infected.
The test will be self-administered using a swab to take a sample from your nose and throat. Samples will be pooled by household, enabling us to reduce the number of samples analysed and make the programme manageable using limited testing capacity. For most Colleges, a household will be classified as a unit where students share communal facilities, such as bathroom or kitchen.
If your pooled household test is positive, you will be informed within 24 hours and offered an individual test to confirm the positive result. Students with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and their household and contacts will be supported in following national guidance on isolation.
Participation in the programme will be voluntary, but we encourage everyone to take part. We anticipate that the majority of students will do so, helping keep themselves, their friends and colleagues, and the wider community safe.
Due to limited capacity, it is not possible to offer testing to all students. The risk of transmission and outbreaks is expected to be higher in college accommodation, where the density of students and potential for interactions are greater; hence, the programme is targeted at these students.
Further information can be found on the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni website.
With best wishes,
Professor Patrick Maxwell
Regius Professor of Physic & Head of the School of Clinical Medicine