University of Derby update on travel planning and the asymptomatic testing scheme

This letter from Vice-Chancellor Kathryn Mitchell in December to our students and the wider community explains the steps we are taking to ensure that students who want to go home for Christmas are able to do so safely for themselves and their families. 

University of Derby update on travel planning and the asymptomatic testing scheme 

Following on from my recent letter where I updated you on our plans for managing the second lockdown period, I would like to share with you the steps we are taking to ensure that students who want to go home for Christmas are able to do so safely for themselves and their families. 

On 11 November, the government announced new measures designed to enable this, centred around a move to online learning for the final period of the autumn semester, the creation of a ‘student travel window’ (39 December), and a nationwide asymptomatic testing scheme for students. 

The flexible educational model we implemented at the start of this semester – specifically designed to enable us to provide the best possible student experience in all circumstances – means we are well placed to deliver a solely online learning model for a short period.  

In line with the government announcement, the final day of face-to-face teaching this semester will be Friday 4 December, ahead of two weeks of online teaching delivery.  

Furthermore, having expressed an interest in taking part in the government’s testing scheme, we have received the go-ahead to set up our own on-campus Asymptomatic Testing Centre for students at the University.  

I can share with you the following additional details: 

It is hoped that this testing facility will give students the peace of mind they need in order to travel home safely to spend Christmas with their families, even if they are not symptomatic. It should also offer additional assurance that we are doing everything we can to keep our students, staff and local community safe. 

Where students do test positive, they will be appropriately supported during a period of self-isolation, before being able to head home for Christmas. 

Finally, we know that that the vast majority of our students are exceptional ambassadors for the University, and we have urged them to continue to be sensible over this period of lockdown and beyond, stressing the importance of them following government and University guidance.  

We expect this good behaviour to continue in the run up to the Christmas break and will work closely with students who wish to leave during the ‘student travel window’ to ensure a safe and coordinated departure from their accommodation.  

I am grateful to our staff, students and stakeholders for their continued support and hope that by taking these steps now we will all be able to enjoy the festive period safely 

Yours sincerely, 

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL 

University of Derby Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive 

The Vice-Chancellor also wrote a welcome letter in September to students and the wider community to explain what the University's plans were for the start of term.