Students don’t seem to use rapid self-tests before they go to campus, a small UKrant survey indicates. They do use them before going to friends or family, however.
Out of the one hundred students UKrant polled on campus locations in the city centre and at Zernike, only nine said they had tested themselves before going. Of the ninety-one other students, forty-nine said they had ordered the self-tests available from the UG and sixty-four said they had used a self-test before.
Gatherings and parties
Although not representative of all students, the sample does provide some information on how students are using the rapid self-tests.
Not every student took the time to elaborate on their answer, but thirty-one students said they used the test before going to big gatherings, parties, or meetups with friends. Twelve had tested themselves before visiting (elderly) family members and twenty-one took a self-test because they had Covid symptoms.
Since May 5, free rapid self-tests have been available for UG students and staff. In her letter to all university boards last Friday, education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven stated that self-testing will continue to play a significant role in the reopening of universities.
‘It is important that students test themselves using self-tests after they come back from holidays and at the beginning of the new academic year’, she writes. However, from the answers to UKrant’s survey, it seems like students are more likely to use the tests in a social setting than before going to class.
Nandini Ahuja, pre-master student of arts, culture and media, does test before going to campus. ‘It worries me when I see more than fifty people in study locations. Someone may be asymptomatic and not know it’, she says. ‘While we are following other precautions and social distancing, taking a self-test can help ease the tension among students.’
Many students, the survey indicates, think they don’t need to test if they don’t feel ill. Out of the ninety-one people who didn’t test themselves, twenty-six said they hadn’t done so because they had no symptoms. Eight other students said they hadn’t either because they didn’t know they could get tests from the UG, or because they didn’t know it was recommended to use the tests.