Students at NUI Galway have been availing of free antigen tests with tens of thousands of kits being handed out since the initiative was launched on January 17.
The scheme is being conducted alongside Project UniCov as part of public health measures aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19.
Each student can collect a pack of five antigen tests at a time and advice encourages students to take two tests a week separated by three days.
NUI Galway students were thanked for “high levels of compliance” to public health measures since the return to campus in September and further encouraged to avail of a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and continuing the use of face masks and hand sanitisers.
Though most public health measures were eased by government from January 22 those who test positive for or have symptoms of Covid-19 still must self-isolate for seven days.
Chief Investigator of Project UniCov Professor Breda Smyth highlighted the importance of students availing of free antigen tests and continuing to follow the necessary guidelines.
“Everyone attending campus needs to adhere to the basic public health measures in the first instance – including not coming to campus if you have symptoms and are supposed to be self-isolating or restricting movements.”
Students can also join Project UniCov which provides participants with free antigen test kits for the duration of the semester in order to maintain a Covid safe campus environment.
The project aims to further researcher’s understanding of Covid-19 and how to prevent and manage outbreaks of the virus.
“Being able to offer free antigen test kts on campus at NUI Galway and giving students the opportunity to take part in Project UniCov demonstrates how we can take a layered approach to public safety and the welfare of students and staff,” Professor Smyth finished.
Director of Student Services at NUI Galway John Hannon said the use of antigen testing is popular among the student body and key to ensuring the campus and wider communities stay safe.
“There was a huge demand for free antigen testing from students in semester one and we know there will be huge demand again.
“The distribution of the free kits is one of many key steps we are taking as a university to help minimise the spread of Covid and keep our community as safe as possible.”
Since Project UniCov began over 27,000 tests have been taken by 3,300 students and staff across four participating universities with Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and University College Dublin also taking part.
Those interested in taking part in the study can still do so and more information is available via unicov.org.