As a fourth-year dental student, I have been able to visit the university campus throughout the pandemic in order to complete my clinical work. Campus has certainly changed this year, but rest assured, the covid-19 secure implementations are nothing to worry about.
This month, I thought that I would write about my experiences on campus throughout the pandemic and hopefully put some anxious minds at ease.
There is new signage, dedicated entrances and exits, and pedestrian traffic management throughout the campus. This can all seem very daunting at first but once you get the hang of things, it will become the new normal. I would recommend leaving additional time to navigate through the new systems as it is more important than ever to arrive at your university classes on time.
Remember that there will always been staff and stewards on hand to help, you just need to ask!
QR Check in stations
It is essential that all students download the NHS Covid-19 App and look for the QR code check in points situated around campus. These are very easy to spot and are often accompanied by a steward to help prompt individuals to ‘check-in’.
This system prevents further spread of Covid-19 virus by enabling the App to alert users if they have recently visited somewhere where they may have come into contact with somebody who later tests positive for Covid-19.
Socially distanced eating areas
Unfortunately, large group lunches are a thing of the past. In line with government guidelines, you are only permitted to meet or socialise outdoors in groups of 6 or less, unless you all live in one household.
There are some additional indoor facilities open for students to use during their time on campus, including the Student Union Hub, University Place, and subject specific common rooms. It is important to check whether you are permitted to enter these spaces, as some are reserved for subject specific students, and adhere to the maximum room capacities and 2m social distancing rules.
Spaced study areas and classrooms
There is no fighting over desk space now as all the study spaces on campus have been set up with seating at a 2m distance, which means your classes will have notably less students in attendance.
Having smaller classes with additional space to work is definitely more conducive to learning. I really hope this is a change for the future!
Indoor compulsory masks
Something that we have all become accustomed to is the use of facemasks in indoor spaces. The University will be providing students and staff with two free washable face coverings to use whilst onsite.
If you are like me and enjoy having an extra fashion accessory to experiment with, check out my blog on 17 of the best reusable face masks based on look, function, and comfort.
Hand hygiene infographics and sanitising stations
Hand sanitising stations have been provided across the campus, along with infographics to help remind everyone about the importance of hand hygiene. So even if you forget your own hand sanitiser, there is no excuse to not practice good hand hygiene.
Study space bookings
Hunting for a desk and roaming around University in search of somewhere quiet to work, is now a thing of the past. All study spaces will require students to make an online reservation in advance which can be done via the library site.
I am a massive fan of this new system as I have previously wasted a copious amount of time trying to find a free computer station on campus, which we all know is virtually impossible. I really hope that this is a permanent change which will remain in place post-pandemic.
On-site Rapid Flow Testing
Please note, our campus COVID-19 testing centres will be closing from 23 July, but you can still get regular rapid lateral flow tests at multiple locations across Manchester. Visit the City Council website to find out more.
The University is encouraging all students to get tested via NHS Test and Trace before returning to campus. Students will then be advised to complete two asymptomatic covid-19 tests each week using the lateral flow testing centre situated in University Place. You can book these tests online using the Covid-19 test booking form.
The staff working at the testing centres are so welcoming and helpful; there is no need to be worried about going to get tested. The process is completely painless and will require you to take a swab of both tonsils and one nostril. Results are typically generated within the hour and you will even receive a free hand sanitiser for your efforts- worth the visit if you ask me!