With students finally back to in-person learning, as well as the ability to participate in societies and clubs, life at UCD this September bears a strong resemblance to normality. Of course, the more normal life is, the more close contacts we all have – be it in a lecture theatre, during our commutes, or when we’re four pints deep in the Clubhouse on a Wednesday afternoon. With this in mind, we at The College Tribune investigated what students should do if the worst happens and they do indeed test positive on campus. 

How can I get tested?

We can confirm that as far as getting tested goes, UCD has made some progress with the launch of UniCov. This pilot scheme aims to explore effective rapid testing, with the aim of detecting the presence of asymptomatic Covid-19 cases on campus. Once the scheme is fully developed, students will be better able to test for coronavirus whilst on campus. 

The current advice for students who develop symptoms whilst on campus is available on the UCD website. Students are advised to call the UCD 24hr Emergency Line on extension 7999 / 01 716 7999, after which they will be taken to an isolation room. 

What about close contacts? 

The current UCD-specific protocol for contact tracing is available on the Estate Services website in the following terms:

In the event of a positive case of COVID-19 in the University community, the role of contact tracing will be undertaken by the HSE. In such a scenario, it is the responsibility of each member of the University community to be in a position to provide the HSE with details of their contacts, if requested.

The webpage includes a contact tracing form which, it states, all students and staff members should be filling out each day they attend campus. As well as name and contact information, the form asks for the following: 

Please record details of your activities on campus for this day. In particular please detail those persons/cohorts/classes with whom you have spent more than 15 minutes at less than 2m physical distance and those persons/cohorts/classes with whom you have shared a space with for more than 2hrs during the day. 

What if you live on campus?

Students living on campus who develop symptoms are advised to contact their Front of House, inform their roommates, and restrict movements until they can get a test. Students who test positive whilst living on campus should utilise the UCD 24hr Emergency Line to report the result. Neither UCD communications nor Estate Services have confirmed whether students can isolate themselves in their accommodation, but there is no information available which suggests otherwise.

Rosie Roberts Kuntz – Assistant News Editor