The programme will remain in place for the first four weeks of Michaelmas termLucas Maddalena

Levels of participation in the University’s asymptomatic Covid testing programme have decreased significantly this term.

According to official figures published on the University website, 80% of around 16,000 students currently in Cambridge have agreed to participate in the screening programme – but only 37% of these have contributed a swab.

In Easter Term 2021, 89% of students agreed to participate, with 55% of these contributing a swab. The testing programme identified a spike in Covid cases at the end of Easter term, with 109 cases identified in the week of 21-27 July.

The asymptomatic testing programme will be in place for the first four weeks of Michaelmas. The decision whether or not it will be continued after that is being reviewed at the moment but low participation rates might result in the programme being discontinued.

In an email sent on 14/10, the Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope has informed students that the levels of participation are “lower than expected”. He urged students to continue to participate in the asymptomatic testing programme.

“Low levels of student participation will have an impact on the likelihood of its extension at a critical point. If you have not already done so, I strongly encourage you to register for the pooled screening programme and to take part regularly”, the vice-chancellor’s email stated.


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The email also warns about a clear increase in cases in the University. In the last week, five cases were identified by the University’s asymptomatic and symptomatic testing programmes. Meanwhile, in the previous week, 347 cases were identified across the city of Cambridge, representing a 36.1% increase on the previous week.