More than 1,300 students and staff at Leeds University have now had Covid since the start of term

There have been 82 new Covid-19 cases recorded at the University of Leeds, bringing the total number of positive tests in the community to 1,367.
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The university releases weekly figures online in what it says is a 'bid to improve transparency' about transmission rates at the university.

The latest figures show that 63 cases of Covid-19 were reported between Monday November 2 and Sunday November 8.

Of those, 50 are students and 13 are members of staff.

A student wears a face covering at the University of Leeds (file photo)A student wears a face covering at the University of Leeds (file photo)
A student wears a face covering at the University of Leeds (file photo)
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The university was informed of a further 19 cases between October 26 and November 1 after the reporting window closed, bringing last week's total to 64 new cases.

It brings the total number of coronavirus cases confirmed since the start of term to 1,367, with 91 active cases of the virus.

The university, which is home to 38,000-plus students and 9,200-plus staff, now publishes the figures weekly.

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There were 640 new cases of the virus recorded in the first week of term, but the number of new infections is falling week-on-week.

'Travel window' will allow Leeds students to return home for Christmas

Universities in England have been told to end in-person teaching and switch to online classes by early December so students can return home safely for Christmas.

Students will be allowed to travel between December 3 and December 9 to ensure families can be reunited for the festive break, guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) will say.

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Universities are expected to set staggered departure dates during this “student travel window”, and work with other institutions in the region to manage pressure on transport infrastructure.

It is hoped the risk of transmission will be reduced as students will be travelling after the four-week period of national restrictions in England.

Universities will be told to move learning online by December 9 in guidance to be published today so students can study from their family homes.

The Government – which will work closely with universities to establish mass testing capacity – has said Covid-19 tests will be offered to as many students as possible before they travel home.

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Universities in areas of high prevalence will be prioritised for mass testing, the DfE has said.

Students will have enough time to complete the self-isolation period and return home for Christmas if they test positive for Covid-19 before the travel window.

But if a student decides to remain on campus later into the month, they will need to remain in self-isolation in their student accommodation for 10 days if they test positive for coronavirus.

Universities will be asked to provide additional help and support – including affordable food – to students who remain on campus over Christmas.

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Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “We know this Christmas will feel different, and following this incredibly difficult year we are delivering on our commitment to get students back to their loved ones as safely as possible for the holidays.

“We have worked really hard to find a way to do this for students, while limiting the risk of transmission.

“Now it is vital they follow these measures to protect their families and communities, and for universities to make sure students have all the wellbeing support they need, especially those who stay on campus over the break.”

Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer, said: “The mass movement of students across the country at the end of term presents a really significant challenge within the Covid-19 response.

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“The measures announced today will help minimise that risk and help students get home to their families as safely as possible for Christmas. It is crucial that students follow the guidance in order to protect their families and the communities they return to.”

A Universities UK (UUK) spokeswoman said: “University students and staff will appreciate confirmation of the government’s end-of-term plans for English universities, given the prolonged uncertainty they have faced this year.

“With universities being asked to end in-person learning by December 9, some students will now miss out on timetabled placements, practical classes and other in-person teaching near the end of term.

“Universities will need to work with students and Government to manage the challenges this creates.

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“The Government must now urgently turn its attention to working with the sector on plans to ensure students can safely resume their studies in person in January, supported by enhanced testing capability.”

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