Newcastle University to give 35K COVID-19 safety packs to staff, students

Staff and students at Newcastle University are to receive safety packs to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the University and local communities. Around 35,000 people will be issued with a digital thermometer, a reusable and washable face covering and a refillable hand sanitiser bottle, together with instructions on how to use them.

Colleagues and students will be asked to closely monitor for symptoms of COVID – 19, including checking their temperature if they think it’s high. If symptoms are apparent, colleagues and students will click a button on an app (or web page) to report they have symptoms.  The data will then be analysed to try and identify trends that may point to an outbreak in the University community.

The University’s Health, Safety and Business Continuity Manager, Gary Morton, came up with the idea for the safety packs.“The safety packs are an easy way to help keep the University community safe even when they’re not on campus and the early warning system could prove to be incredibly useful in helping us identify areas of concern,” he said.

“Government advice is constantly changing but measures such as face coverings, hand sanitiser and the use of digital thermometers are sensible precautions which will also help reduce the spread of other seasonal infections as we move into winter.

“Face coverings are mandatory on public transport. We know many of our colleagues and students travel to campus on the Metro and buses and we are working closely with our city partners to help keep everyone safe in Newcastle.”

Other measures include:

•       targeted cleaning across all University facilities

•       social distancing

•       the installation of screens and barriers  to protect colleagues and students.

•       one way systems

•       campus helpers to ensure people move around safely.

For the first semester at least, teaching will be largely online with some on-campus face- to- face contact for all students. Student support including Wellbeing, Finance and the Careers Service, have also moved online, although students are still able to access one-to-one counselling appointments if they need them.

University libraries will be using click and collect, click and post services and contactless drop off. Enhanced safety measures will be in place in food outlets and the Co-op store in the Students’ Union will deliver groceries.

New arrivals to University accommodation will be able to pre-book their arrival time and high use areas in the accommodation such as kitchens will be given targeted cleaning.