8045 students reported to the University they were self-isolating at least once last academic year, York Vision has learned.
Nearly 40% of the student body were forced into self-isolation last year, on and off-campus, due to COVID-19 lockdown laws. Analysis by Vision shows that, in Autumn Term alone last year, students and staff spent over 15 years in total in self-isolation.
At the peak, 331 students and staff were self-isolating last October. If one member of a household tested positive for COVID-19, all members of the household had to isolate.
The definition of a household included University halls where students share a kitchen or communal space, resulting in large student household bubbles on campus.
Fresh air zones were introduced by YUSU last November to provide dedicated spaces near University accommodation blocks for self-isolating students to have an outdoor space.
Updated guidelines mean that, for this academic year, fully vaccinated students will not be legally required to self-isolate if a member of their household tests positive for COVID-19.
90% of those who have completed the University’s annual enrolment have reported being partially or fully vaccinated.
This is a significantly higher figure than the around 75% of those in the national 18-24 year old age group who have taken up the offer of a vaccine so far.
It is even a higher takeup than that of the general population, despite widespread accessibility of vaccines for all adults only beginning in June.
Of those vaccinated students, over 60% reported being fully vaccinated at the time of enrolment. In addition to pop-up vaccination centres operating at Freshers Fair, follow-up clinics are being planned to ensure students get their second dose as soon as the current eight week dose interval allows.
Analysis by Vision found that over 1900 students, nearly 10% of the total student body, have reported a positive test result to the University in the past year, meaning that over 6000 students who had to self isolate last year did not test positive.
YUSU President Patrick O’Donnell said: “Universities across the country saw increases in the infection rate at various points last year, along with many other regions with no universities at all.
“The key thing to be proud of is that the overwhelming majority of York students did the right thing by self-isolating, reporting it to the University, and subsequently benefitting from a wide package of support on offer, which I am pleased to have secured after significant lobbying.
“The really high level of vaccination take-up at York is promising and means our community will be better protected in the months ahead.”
A spokesperson for the University of York said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have made it a priority to support those who have needed to self-isolate, by providing regular welfare calls, food packages, and e-vouchers.
“If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must let the University know via our student self-reporting form, and we will then support the student throughout their isolation period.
“The student take-up rate of the vaccine (data from our students indicates 90% are fully or partially vaccinated), is fantastic, however, not everyone is exempt from having to isolate, so we continue to encourage students to closely follow the University’s guidelines to prevent any further spread of infections in the upcoming academic year.”