Hundreds of students at the University of Bristol are having to self-isolate following a cluster of coronavirus cases in a city centre accommodation block.
Forty people living in The Courtrooms on Rupert Street have tested positive for Covid-19, meaning all 300 residents in the building will have to remain in their flats and only socialise with those in their “living circle” from Friday afternoon.
University leaders say the move is an additional precaution, over and above the requirement for all students to follow the UK Government and university regulations to limit the spread of coronavirus.
They say help and support are being provided for those affected.
Professor Sarah Purdy, pro vice-chancellor for student experience, said: “The health and safety of our students is a top priority at this very difficult and challenging time.
“We have been actively monitoring coronavirus case numbers across the university community throughout the pandemic and have implemented a range of planned, increasing measures to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. This has included the self-isolation of a number of living circles within our residences.
“Having reassessed case numbers with colleagues from the public health team today, we have decided that further measures are appropriate at this stage.
“We know this is a stressful situation and full support is being offered to those affected. This is available 24/7 via our student support and wellbeing teams.
“Regular support and contact with students will ensure everyone is kept up-to-date and can ask any questions. Our residential life teams are ensuring that everyone has access to food, supplies and clean laundry, which will be delivered straight to their door.
“All affected students will continue to access online teaching if they’re well enough.
“We will do everything we can to support the students at The Courtrooms. If everyone follows the rules, we hope that this situation will pass, and things can return to relative normality as quickly as possible.
“We have reminded all students that it is vitally important to observe self-isolation requirements in line with both the law and our acceptable behaviour policy. If necessary, the university will take action to ensure students are following this guidance.”
The university has reported a total of 254 students and three staff members have tested positive for Covid-19. All three staff have been working from home and have not been on campus.
Campuses remain open with safety measures in place. University staff and students can access the public testing site at the Victoria Rooms and there are two additional mobile testing sites, exclusively for university staff and students, located at Stoke Bishop and the city centre.
Main photo and video by Martin Booth