All students | USW Update | Wednesday 21 October

Keeping people safe, keeping learning going  

Covid-19 cases update | Professor Martin Steggall, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Student Experience 

We have seen a significant rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 being reported by our students and our staff in the past week. We have had confirmation of positive test results from 54 of our students and 4 members of staff in the last seven days (as of 1.30pm on Wednesday 21 October). Our analysis of the data shows that the main transmission is being seen in community and social settings, and does not appear to be linked to learning and teaching on our campuses. 

We have though, seen a steady increase in the number of students reporting positive test results in our halls of residence at Treforest. We are continuing to work closely with the NHS Wales Test, Trace and Protect teams, and we are providing support to students that are self-isolating. 

The number of cases being reported will now be published daily on our website (Monday to Friday) summarising the previous 24 hours. This will start from tomorrow (Thursday 22 October). We will continue to update you via email once a week with the total numbers reported over the previous seven days. 

This week’s increase in reported positive test results predominantly in our student population shows why more than ever, it is important to follow all of the restrictions that are in place. Local restrictions across most of South Wales mean you are currently not able to meet with anyone else indoors that you don’t live with, and no more than 30 outdoors, if you remain two metres apart. From Friday evening this will change. You will not be able to meet with anyone indoors or outdoors who isn’t part of your household from 6pm on Friday 23 October until Monday 9 November. This means you can only socialise with your immediate household / flat mates and no one else during this time.

Welsh Government has highlighted the main changes that will be in place across all of Wales:

  • people must stay indoors, except for very limited purposes - you can find a full list of these reasons on the Welsh Government website
  • people must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with 
  • certain businesses and venues, including bars, restaurants, gyms and most shops must close - at USW our catering facilities will move to offer a take-away only service and our Sports Centre will temporarily close 
  • face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that remain open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis

You are asked to remain in your term-time accommodation to help limit any further spread of the virus. Universities can continue to offer blended learning and therefore you should attend any face-to-face sessions in your timetable that you had planned to during these two weeks. If you live away from our campuses, then travel on public transport is permitted for you to access your education. 

You can find further information about what the restrictions mean for students at USW on our website, as well as a comprehensive set of FAQs on the Welsh Government website

SU Check-In Survey 
The Students’ Union is asking students to complete a short survey to see how things are going, whether students have received the support and information that they need and to gauge interest for a Student Steering Group that would work as part of a team with the SU to build better provisions and events for students. The survey is anonymous and can be accessed via this link until 9 November.  

 

Please note, off-campus students who are studying with a partner college should check guidance and communication from their college, about local attendance, assessment and teaching arrangements.