Student COVID-19 Testing: The best way of returning to normal?

Following the introduction of Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 roadmap that is designed to ease the UK out of national lockdown, students find themselves returning to in-person teaching almost three months into 2021.

While primary school and secondary school students are returning to their classes without issues; universities find themselves in a situation where only practical courses are allowed to return to in-person teaching.

Students at Plymouth Marjon University were informed that they need to receive a negative COVID-19 test every time they attend an in-person lecture on campus, for a maximum of two times a week.

This has raised some concerns among students, especially with regards to the opening times of the testing centre.

We recently spoke with some Journalism students at Plymouth Marjon University, who travel to their radio and TV studio – ‘The Workshop’ twice a week in order to complete their practical modules.

Cameron, aged 19, says that “the testing process is easy” in regards to the asymptomatic testing site located in the Journalism building on the Marjon campus. “It is a bit of a hassle to get up earlier and fit a test into lecture times, but it is manageable.”

The asymptomatic testing centre at Marjon re-opened on Sunday the 7th March in order to test the students that were returning to campus for in-person teaching. The test site opened at 11 o’clock on the Sunday morning, and closed at 5 o’clock in the evening.

For two weeks following this date, the asymptomatic test centre at Marjon is open for four hours on Monday to Friday, from 8 o’clock in the morning until noon. Journalism student, Dylan, backed up Cameron’s thoughts, describing as the testing process as “a breeze,” though he isn’t as happy with the opening times:

“I don’t think the opening times are convenient at all, Sundays would be great,” the Marjon student explained. “I like being able to feel semi-normal in the Workshop when [not] wearing a mask, [but] am fearful of a positive case, as it would probably take the course back online and change assessments.”

Read More: Inside the Marjon Workshop – a student TV and radio studio



Dylan’s concerns of a positive coronavirus test are justified, however, as the journalism student’s work requires the removal of masks when working in front of a camera or speaking into a microphone.

The Workshop does make a good effort at creating a COVID-safe environment, though, with worktops, keyboard and other equipment being wiped with disinfectant wipes before another group of students enters the premises, and social distancing constantly being maintained.

Marjon staff claim that the testing centre’s opening times will be revised by the 21st March 2021, meaning students may find themselves with more time to get tested before their in-person lectures. The students were also sent a survey that they could fill out on the testing site if they wanted to see some improvements be made – a great response from Marjon in these difficult times.

Joe McCormick
[Feature Image: Unsplash.]

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