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Concern for Preston’s COVID rate as UCLan students return to campus

Posted on - 4th September, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Health, Preston Council, Preston News, UCLan, University

Some of the face coverings being made to allow a safe return to the University’s campuses

As universities are set to welcome back students, UCLan and Preston City Council are preparing the city for students to return in a COVID safe way.

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The university announced last month that they are preparing for a safe return but the University and College Union (UCU) have said that moving more than a million students around the country was a ‘recipe for disaster’.

As Preston is set to remain in a local lockdown for the time being, concern rises about how the return of university students will effect the case numbers which have been consistently dropping since tighter restrictions were placed on the city.

Read More: UCLan project secures funding to help upskill gym and leisure employees

Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said: “While the excitement builds for a return to our campuses this month, we have to ensure that health and safety remains our priority.

“We are ensuring every sensible and reasonable step is taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We will be operating the same high standards that many workplaces have adopted to minimise the spread of infections.

UCLan's campus in Preston Pic: Tony Worrall
UCLan’s campus in Preston Pic: Tony Worrall

“The clear social distancing and sanitisation protocols will mean that University life will be slightly different from that we’ve known previously but we are doing all we can to provide an authentic University experience.

“We are looking forward to welcoming new and returning students to UCLan ensuring they have face-to-face learning opportunities as far as possible on a weekly basis and can access our library, all in a safe and secure environment.”

Last month, the university announced that many extra measures would be introduced to ensure a safe return for students, while keeping communities safe.

The Media Factory at the University of Central Lancashire campus Pic: Tony Worrall
The Media Factory at the University of Central Lancashire campus Pic: Tony Worrall

This includes students being provided with face masks, hand sanitiser stations and a keep left policy along with the campus being open for seven-days-a-week to allow a more flexible timetable.

International students must self isolate for 14 days and walking and cycling will be encouraged as commuting options.

A spokesperson for the University added: “Before students and staff come onto campus we will be asking them to complete a training module about the virus, how it spreads and what they can do to prevent it.

Find out the latest coronavirus stats near you




“We have also launched a new app called SafeZone which will allow anyone in our campus community to send a location-based alert from their smartphone or tablet to our 24×7 on-campus security team whenever they need an immediate emergency response, first-aid or any other general assistance.

Read More:Applications are now open for school places for primary and secondary pupils in September 2021

“It means that people can report any issues including those around social distancing.”

Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council and UCLan have been working together to ensure COVID guidelines are being followed whilst also preparing for the students to return in a safe manner.

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader at Preston City Council at Preston City Council, said: “The student population is a big part of Preston and, with partner agencies, have officers liaising with the University about the required safety measures.

“We are discussing issues around the forthcoming return of students with Lancashire’s Director of Public Health and other partners to monitor the situation going forward in terms of how to keep our communities safe.’’

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

 Do you think the incoming students will spike a rise in the local COVID figures? Let us know in the comments

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