A message to students from the Vice-Chancellor about a rise in cases of students with COVID-19

Dear students,

I write to share the concerning news that the number of students with COVID-19, identified through both our symptomatic and asymptomatic screening programmes, has increased significantly since I wrote last week. 

We understand that hospitality venues have been a conspicuous point of transmission, even when they are following appropriate health and safety protocols. While there is no such thing as a risk-free environment, it is vital that everybody follows all COVID-secure measures. 

Regrettably, this is all consistent with what we know about the increased transmissibility of the “delta” variant of the virus. In order to avoid as much as possible any further disruption to the end of the academic year, two things are therefore hugely important. 

The first is that you continue to participate in the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme, or sign-up if you have not already done so. By finding cases early, we will be able to prevent new outbreaks, and avoid the cancellation of some of the end-of-term events that so many of you have been looking forward to. 

The second is that you register, at the earliest opportunity, to be vaccinated. Returning students who receive their first dose now are likely to be eligible for their second dose before the beginning of Michaelmas term. This will help ensure that you are better protected for the start of the new academic year, and able to resume normal activities safely. 

The current rise in cases suggests that it will be difficult to stop the spread of the virus amongst unvaccinated students without additional measures. It is therefore essential, at this time, that we are more responsible than ever in our behaviours. 

With best wishes, 

Stephen  

Prof Stephen J Toope
Vice-Chancellor