What UEA is doing to curb coronavirus in Norwich

Prof Neil Ward, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia. Picture: University of East

Prof Neil Ward, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia. Picture: University of East Anglia - Credit: Supplied

From security patrols day and night to “rigorous” disciplinary rules, a university leader has outlined the measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Norwich.

University of East Anglia. Picture: EDP Library

University of East Anglia. Picture: EDP Library - Credit: Archant

Professor Neil Ward, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia (UEA), said the university was “not complacent” after three students were each fined £10,000 for throwing a party on Bowthorpe Road in Norwich on Sunday evening.

He said: “We have been communicating with the students regularly around Covid-19 security, including at the start of every teaching session, through emails and social media.

“When it comes to campus, we have our own security who carry out patrols 24 hours and they have been doing an excellent job.

“For face-to-face teaching, we have gone for two-metre social distancing plus additional mitigating measures, which is a significant notch above what other universities are doing.”

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But Mr Ward said the UEA could always do more and current arrangements were under constant review, while staff and students are regularly asked for feedback.

For students who breach university rules and Covid-19 regulations, Mr Ward said sanctions can include fines, suspension and expulsion.

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He said: “They will follow our rigorous disciplinary procedure. It is highly prescribed and we have a disciplinary officer, panels and different levels of sanction.”

Last week, the number of coronavirus cases at the UEA increased to 73 from 30 the previous day (October 8). As of Thursday, 78 students and one member of staff, who has not been working on campus, had positive tests.

Mr Ward said: “While you can look at coronavirus rate for Norwich, which is going up and is among young people, a proportion will be because of UEA’s precautionary asymptomatic testing system.”

The university is offering voluntary tests which give results in 24 hours as to whether people have the virus even if they have no symptoms.

Of the reported coronavirus cases among UEA students, more than 75pc have been identified by the testing system.

Mr Ward said: “Please be assured that the UEA is really working hard to be as covid secure as possible and to encourage our students to be as safety conscious as possible.”

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