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Coronavirus cases at city centre student residence

Press release issued: 9 October 2020

The University of Bristol is providing help and support to students at The Courtrooms, a residence in Bristol City Centre following a cluster of positive COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases.

Forty students have tested positive which means, in accordance with Public Health England advice, all 300 residents will now have to self-isolate, remain in their flats and only socialise with those in their living circle from this afternoon [Friday 9 October]. 

The move is an additional precaution, over and above the requirement for all students to follow the UK Government and University regulations to limit the spread of coronavirus, which have been communicated regularly to students and staff. 

Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, said: “The health and safety of our students is a top priority at this very difficult and challenging time. 

“We have been actively monitoring coronavirus case numbers across the University community throughout the pandemic and have implemented a range of planned, increasing measures to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. This has included the self-isolation of a number of living circles within our residences. 

“Having reassessed case numbers with colleagues from the Public Health Team today, we have decided that further measures are appropriate at this stage.  

“We know this is a stressful situation and full support is being offered to those affected. This is available 24/7 via our Student Support and Wellbeing teams.  

“Regular support and contact with students will ensure everyone is kept up-to-date and can ask any questions. Our Residential Life teams are ensuring that everyone has access to food, supplies and clean laundry which will be delivered straight to their door.

“All affected students will continue to access online teaching if they’re well enough. 

“We will do everything we can to support the students at The Courtrooms. If everyone follows the rules, we hope that this situation will pass, and things can return to relative normality as quickly as possible.

“We have reminded all students that it is vitally important to observe self-isolation requirements in line with both the law and our acceptable behaviour policy. If necessary, the University will take action to ensure students are following this guidance.” 

Christina Gray, Bristol’s Director of Public Health, said: “The university has responded extremely quickly and effectively to provide support to students self-isolating at the residence and manage the situation.

“The self-isolation of students in the residence follows Public Health England (PHE) advice and we’d like to thank students for being so responsible and understanding at this time. We understand this is a challenging ask so early into the academic year – but by working together, we can stop the spread and protect each other, and our city.

“Please be reassured that everything is being done to ensure students’ wellbeing and prevent further transmission of the virus. The additional testing capacity on campus will play a vital role in doing so. Bristol City Council will continue to work closely with the University and PHE to support confirmed cases.”

The University of Bristol is currently supporting 254 students and three staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus). All three staff have been working from home and have not been on campus.

The university has a community of almost 28,000 students and 7,000 staff and is working closely with Bristol City Council and Public Health England to support confirmed cases and close contacts to self-isolate swiftly to contain any outbreaks. 

Our campuses remain open where enhanced safety measures are in place. Buildings are certified COVID-19 Secure to Government guidelines with sanitising stations at all entrances. 

A local testing site, open to all members of the community, is located close to the university, at the Victoria Rooms.  Two additional mobile testing sites, exclusively for University staff and students, are now located at Stoke Bishop and the City Centre.

Parents, guardians and carers with concerns should speak directly with their students or contact our University hotline on 0117 3742838.

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