University of Leeds reveals more than 500 coronavirus cases among students and staff
The university has put its first batch of figures online in a bid to improve transparency about the extent of transmission among its community.
The figures show that 558 cases have been reported between the start of term on September 28 to October 4.
Of those, 555 are students and three are members of staff.
The university, which is home to 38,000-plus students and 9,200-plus staff, is to publish the figures weekly.
It comes after Leeds MPs sent a letter to the university calling on the institution to be more transparent when it comes to the risk posed by coronavirus to its staff and students, while also calling for an end to face-to-face teaching wherever possible.
There has been a huge surge in cases in the student areas of Leeds over the past few weeks.
Professor Simone Buitendijk, university Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are acutely aware that behind each number is an individual with their own needs and concerns, and ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of everyone is our absolute priority.
“This is a difficult time for our students and their families and friends, our staff, and the community that we work and live in.
"We are all aware that our city is seeing rising transmission rates and is subject to extra restrictions.
“By working together, we can all play a part in keeping each other safe.
“We encourage students to let us know if they are self-isolating or have received a positive test as soon as possible and to access the extensive support measures the University and Leeds University Union have put in place.
"We are contacting them by email and telephone to provide reassurance, information about sources of support and practical assistance.”
The case breakdown is as follows:
Monday September 28 (28/9) - 49 students, 0 staff
29/9 - 68 students, 0 staff
30/9 - 113 students, 0 staff
1/10 - 129 students, 1 staff
2/10 - 100 students, 0 staff
3/10 - 64 students, 1 staff
4/10 - 32 students, 1 staff
(Cases are represented on the day individuals received positive test results, not the day results were reported to the university)
The university said in a statement: "The University remains in close contact with colleagues at Public Health England, Leeds City Council, NHS and numerous other stakeholders, as we have throughout this challenging time.
"Case numbers are reported daily to PHE to ensure action is coordinated efficiently.
"We are regularly reviewing our approach to managing individual cases to ensure any remedial action takes place promptly – including extra cleaning.
"We continue to provide students with face-to-face teaching in instances where it is safe, practicable and is advantageous or necessary to do so.
"However, where those criteria cannot be met, the University has recommended that teaching is moved online, with academics in our schools making the final decision.
"We are reviewing this approach regularly and will implement any changes in line with government and public health guidance and requirements.
"The University is hosting a community coronavirus testing centre at the Gryphon Sports Centre, open 8am-8pm daily to students, staff and members of the public as part of the NHS Test and Trace Service.
"Anyone who suspects they have symptoms can book a free test online."
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