Accessibility statement

One year on: Supporting self-isolating students and contact tracing

Posted on 12 April 2021

As the number of self-isolating students increased, we developed and refined a support pack for them. It included activity packs, food packs and e-vouchers.

College teams rang students to check on their wellbeing during self-isolation.

And the retail team started a free delivery service for students with no minimum spend and next day delivery. They also offered a laundry service, collected parcels and signposted self-isolating students to other support.

Volunteers came together to pack and distribute support packs and hampers - including staff from teams across Commercial Services.

“I just wanted to say how appreciative I was of the support that I received during my recent self-isolation period. The food parcels, activity pack and voucher were absolutely amazing and totally unexpected. Within 30 minutes of completing the self-isolation form, I received my first daily phone call checking how I was. In addition to all of this, the website offered very useful advice and guidance which was easy to navigate and offered all the information I required. Knowing that we had enough food and not having to trouble our neighbours/friends for help, meant time could be spent just focusing on my health and getting over the virus. I cannot thank the University enough for all the support and help provided during this difficult period. It really has been very much appreciated.” Feedback from student

The Student Hub was instrumental in ensuring that all students who reported they were self-isolating received details of the support they could get. They emailed over 6,000 students before the process was automated at the end of October 2020. The team still responds to individual queries regarding self-isolation and contacts students who are waiting for test results to identify positive cases.

“The Hub has been essential to the contact tracing process, including chasing up test results with students on a daily basis, quickly escalating positive cases to our team and helping us send self-isolation notifications to students identified as contacts. In contact tracing, time is crucial and the Hub has maintained high standards of responsiveness, consistently communicating cases to our team and responding to self-isolation queries within the same working day.” Feedback from the Contact Tracing Team

Our Contact Tracing team has worked closely with local Public Health to trace approximately 1,200 student cases.

Each positive case receives a phone call from a University tracer, emails for their housemates, and letters for any University-based contacts we identify during the tracing process. We’ve worked across teams to track transmission quickly and deploy targeted testing for accommodation blocks.

Students also continue to be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and, if resident in York, may be contacted by the City of York Council Public Health tracing team, ensuring positive cases within our student community have contact with at least one of the test and trace teams.

Students have been overwhelmingly engaged with the process. We have an 88 per cent success rate of students speaking with our contact tracers during Spring term.

We are celebrating all that colleagues from across the University have done to keep our students safe and supported over the last 12 months with a series of stories on these pages.