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Students: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 125217, tabled on 4 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to provide covid-19 tests for students returning to university in January 2020.

Answered on

14 December 2020

Following the end of term break, our top priority for January 2021 will be the welfare of students, staff, and the communities around higher education (HE) providers. As stated in the January 2021 student return guidance published on 2 December 2020, all higher education providers should offer asymptomatic mass testing to all students on their return. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses/students-returning-to-higher-education-from-spring-term.

The department has sent communications to all HE providers on 2 December detailing the roll-out plans for January tests on return. Providers must return their data capture forms, including lateral flow device (LFD) test kit orders, to the department by 8 December. Providers selecting LFD testing will receive their kits by 18 December, thus ensuring testing of returning students can commence on 4 January.

The department and the Department of Health and Social Care have been hosting a series of webinars in December 2020 to discuss roll-out plans for January 2021. These sessions are also being used to hear and address providers’ concerns about signing up to the testing programme.