University centre leading way with track and trace as students return to Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury’s University Centre is leading the way in the world of track and tracing, staff revealed as students returned for the new term.

Head of Shrewsbury’s University Centre, Professor Paul Johnson
Head of Shrewsbury’s University Centre, Professor Paul Johnson

The campus is part of the University of Chester, which has put in place a new internal app for all those at its campuses in Cheshire and Shropshire.

It means tracking and tracing those who have been in contact with anyone at the university who tests positive for Covid-19 can be done quickly.

Head of Shrewsbury’s University Centre, Professor Paul Johnson, said: “We are working closely with local public health bodies and they are very happy with the measures we have in place. Other universities are now looking at our internal track and trace system with the view to bringing in their own.

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“It has been a summer like no other with non-stop preparations for the return.”

It was a quiet but welcome start back for students at the Shrewsbury Centre as they started a new term in the socially-distanced world.

Lockdown abroad – Aidia Brennan

Aidia Brennan, in her third year studying musical theatre, has spend lockdown across the Atlantic.

The 20-year-old couldn’t return to her family in Canada after the country was one of the first to shut its borders.

“Luckily I was able to get the last flight out to the States and was able to be with my dad in Seattle,” she said.

“It was awful at the airport, I stood and watched as ‘cancelled’ kept coming up on flight after flight, wondering if I would get home.”

The online support offered to students during lockdown and continuing today had been, she said, invaluable to her thousands of miles away. That was echoed by mature student, Emma Peace, starting her second year studying psychology.

Invaluable support – Emma Peace

Emma, from Oswestry, said: “Student support has been invaluable, whether the quizzes or open mic nights or the pastoral care offered.

“I was a bit nervous coming back but all the measures have been put in place. We had an induction day and were able to go out for a socially distanced picnic to meet up again.”

The students will have a mix of online and face-to-face lectures and can also book spaces in various areas of the centre to be able to work on their own and use the facilities and broadband.

Student support co-ordinator, David Clarke, said: “We wanted to welcome students in as normal a way as possible although things are anything but normal and the Students’ Union has been great in putting on a mix of online and actual events for our 140 new students.”

Mr Johnson said: “We want to reassure the community in Shrewsbury that we are doing everything to ensure our 500 students return in a safe way and have been working with Team Shrewsbury.

“The town of Shrewsbury is so supportive of this university.”

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