COVID-19 safety packs for thousands of Newcastle University staff and students

New Delhi: 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.”

Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, said: “We want everyone coming onto campus to feel safe.Our 35,000 colleagues and students make up a significant part of the wider Newcastle community so it is our responsibility to take the necessary precautions to help minimise the risk of infection from COVID -19.Our Estates Team are doing an incredible job in making our Newcastle University campus a safe environment during these difficult times.”

The personal hand sanitisers included in the packs can be refilled, free of charge, from the many wall mounted hand sanitiser dispenser units across campus. This is one of numerous measures the University is implementing to get the campus up and running again, ready for the new academic year.

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.