UNIVERSITY chiefs have raised concerns around the city’s coronavirus testing capacity and accessibility for the 40,000 students getting ready to return to York later this month.

Speaking at a council meeting, Charlie Jeffery, the Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of York, said that both universities could “easily absorb all 500 tests that the council had available each day".

He also raised issues with the accessibility of getting tests to students, adding that “the university needs the results from tests within 24 hours".

The council said that plans are now being explored to create a testing centre at the university to help deal with the expected demand.

Mr Jeffery added: “We need the test results quickly, in particular, because the social networks of students can be quite complex.

“If we don’t act quickly, we may find it difficult to respond.

“We also have a big concern about accessibility. There are some real worries on the pillar two test - which is swab testing for the wider population.

“We, of course, have the drive-in centre at Poppleton but this is no use for students as most don’t have cars to access the site.

“The current alternative option is home testing, but we have issues whether a student needing a home-testing kit will get it quickly enough.

“A 24-hour turnaround - which is the speed we would need - seems impossible and we also can’t be confident on the accuracy of home-testing kits.

“We know that home-testing often returns false readings because of the way they are taken.

“And we have stressed concerns over the capacity and the supply of enough tests for students.”

Fiona Phillips, assistant director of public health for City of York Council, said the council supported the idea of having a testing facility on a university campus as well as collaborative working with the hospital to ensure tests are delivered successfully.

The council said that it will be writing to the Department of Health to increase the number of swabs available for the city.

On Friday, The Press reported how the University of York had outlined its Covid-19 measures, which included exams and assessments to continue to be delivered online.