October 28, 2020 5.27 pm This story is over 14 months old

Lincoln students advised to turn off NHS contact tracing on campus

University says its system is quicker and more accurate

Students and staff at the University of Lincoln have been advised to toggle off the contact tracing feature of the NHS Test and Trace app, specifically when on campus.

The University of Lincoln said on Tuesday, October 27 that 176 students and staff have tested positive for coronavirus, although this is less than 1% of its population.

This includes students living in a flat together, who used quirky post-it note signs in their windows to let people know they are self-isolating.

Lincoln is currently in the government’s (medium) tier 1 and the University of Lincoln is operating its own test and trace system in liaison with Lincolnshire Public Health to supplement the national NHS system.

The university sent an email to students about its Test and Trace service on Wednesday morning. It said staff and students are encouraged to download the NHS Test and Trace app, but are advised to “toggle off the contact tracing function when on campus”,

It said this is because they will be notified of any exposure through the university process and it can “notify our community more quickly and accurately”.

A University of Lincoln spokesperson said: “Our test and trace system was developed with Public Health Lincolnshire and it enables us to be much more responsive and accurate in identifying ‘close contacts’ through timetables and venue check-ins.”

Third year geography student Alex vented his anger to The Lincolnite about the recent email, saying: “It has made me feel quite angry, and makes me feel like they don’t quite understand the whole severity of the situation with coronavirus.

“I was asked on Monday to self-isolate through the app, and if I had turned the app off, then I could potentially be spreading coronavirus right now. I was in shock and disbelief when reading the email.”

Alex also claims that it is unclear on how to report a COVID case/infection through the university system, with “little guidance” provided on issues including around the “movement of deadlines” and “missing face-to-face lectures and seminars”.

The university has already published a detailed overview of the Test and Trace processes here, which students can log in to.

Within the FAQs it states to inform the personal tutor and school office (for students) or line manager (for staff) if they or anyone in their household develops coronavirus systems.

There is also a form to fill in to notify the University Test and Trace team.

Each academic college also has its own point of contact. They will contact any student that has been in a teaching bubble or other situation and come into close contact with someone showing symptoms or who has received a positive test result.

Those affected will receive a text message and email with details of what they are required to do, alongside links to support and other information.

Practical and emotional support for students who have to self-isolate is available here, including the delivery of a free care pack with food supplies.

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