We can confirm that we have been notified of four individuals within our community who have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), while attending a King's College London Student Union (KCLSU) organised event in a KCLSU venue. We will not be naming the affected individuals out of respect for their privacy, but we do want to update everyone on the context of these cases and the steps we are now taking. KCLSU has confirmed that this event was risk-assessed and followed government guidance for hospitality venues, including safe distancing, tables organised in groups of six, cleaning, signage and guidance to attendees.
Our COVID-19 response teams are working with Public Health England, NHS Test and Trace and local health protection teams to identify and get in touch with anyone who has been in close contact with those affected. On the advice of Public Health England, we have asked those students who have tested positive and all those who attended the event, to self-isolate. While some students are self-isolating within our accommodation, we do not have any ‘locked down’ halls of residence as seen at some other universities in recent days. This is only necessary when a cluster of positive cases emerge around a single hall of residence, and at this moment, this is not the case.
Our timetabled teaching and on campus activities are not disrupted and our buildings and the university are open, in line with Public Health England’s guidance. Our advice to the rest of our community is that unless they have been contacted by KCLSU, the university, King’s residences or NHS Test and Trace, no action is necessary at this time.
The health, mental health and wellbeing of our students is our priority. We know how difficult it is for students who are starting or returning to university and need to self-isolate because of positive cases. We are in touch with students in self-isolation to check in on their welfare and offer practical and emotional support, including how to access our mental health and wellbeing services. For those students self-isolating within our residences, our residences team are providing support on site, ensuring they have access to food and that any grocery or food deliveries that students have organised are brought to their door. Our welfare teams are checking in regularly with students and there are online sessions organised to help alleviate feelings of isolation. Students are able to remain engaged with their studies remotely if they feel able to do so, and their faculties and personal tutors are on hand to support with any concerns they may have.
Throughout the pandemic, we have been working with Public Health England, NHS Test and Trace and local health protection teams to robustly plan for a number of different scenarios and ensure that systems and procedures are in place to manage suspected and confirmed cases. When we receive notification of a suspected or confirmed case, we follow detailed processes and procedures, including identifying close and proximity contacts, communications to relevant staff and students, and cleaning of affected areas where appropriate. The special arrangements we have now implemented have been tested and planned for protecting our community and those around us.
We know in parts of the UK where universities started term earlier, numbers of student cases rose in induction week and then reduced back down. We are carefully managing the situation with Public Health England and remain able and prepared to respond rapidly to implement additional and appropriate measures where necessary.
We continue to ask our community to be vigilant on COVID-19 symptoms and to follow government advice and university guidance on health and safety measures. This includes the need to book a COVID-19 test immediately on the onset of symptoms (high temperature, a new continuous cough and/or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste) and to stay at home if anyone in their household or close contacts has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive.
We will continue to keep our staff, students and the wider community informed. Please refer to our website for the latest update.