Belgian university to launch Covid-19 tracing and support unit
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Belgian university to launch Covid-19 tracing and support unit

Credit: Belga

Belgian university UCLouvain will launch its own tracing and support unit for students testing positive for coronavirus as of 8 February, it announced on Tuesday.

The university is counting on “tracing, reporting and testing” to allow students to come back to campus as soon as the government gives its green light for activities to resume.

A call centre will contact students and staff who have tested positive, with two goals: to provide support and guidance to students, but also to trace their contacts within the university.

If necessary, the “tracers” will ask people who have had a high-risk contact to be tested and placed in quarantine.

The support cell will be made up of students and staff members, said the head of the health team within the student support service, Anne-Sophie Masureel.

“Two doctors are behind to be able to answer more specific questions. There are also psychologists and social workers to whom we can refer students if we feel there’s some distress.”

The strategy was developed in collaboration with the University of Ghent, which has been providing similar support since October.

UCLouvain is also encouraging its students and staff members to communicate that they’ve tested positive for coronavirus via an online form. This voluntary “reporting” will enable the university to “know the epidemiological situation on its sites and act accordingly.”

The data collected will gradually be destroyed, UCLouvain said, adding that these operations respect all the requirements in terms of respect for privacy.

The Louvain-la-Neuve site has also had a testing site since October, capable of testing around a hundred students a day for the moment. The university could increase this capacity if necessary. A second site could also open within a few days’ time on the university’s Woluwe campus.

The Brussels Times