Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, sent the following message to University staff and students today (16 September 2020):
„Dear students and colleagues,
In recent months, we have tackled the COVID-19 epidemic here in Iceland through a disciplined response based on extensive research and data collection. I am therefore delighted to announce that deCODE genetics, our partners here in the Vatnsmýri area, have offered to screen staff and students at the University of Iceland for COVID-19, free of charge. I urge you to take this opportunity. With the results of these tests, we will be able to map the situation at the University of Iceland. The system is open to bookings as of today.
The invitation code is HI_COVID
Please note that people in quarantine are not permitted to book a test at the research centre – if you are in quarantine, please await instructions from your local health clinic! Only people who have been on the University of Iceland campus in the last ten days should book a test.
Unfortunately two more University of Iceland staff members were diagnosed with COVID-19 yesterday, one working in the Main Building and another working in Oddi. Although the situation is certainly more serious than we would have liked, everyone is doing their utmost to prevent further spread of the virus. The Department of Civil Protection's contact tracing team has reviewed the case carefully and more people are now in quarantine. Staff are asked to report quarantine or infection to their manager. Schools and central administration units are also asked to report this information to the Emergency Response Board, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naturally, many people are anxious about the situation and I would like to reiterate my earlier statement urging you to make use of the free psychological services available, both for students and staff.
I would also like to stress again how important it is for every one of us to take personal responsibility for preventing infection and to follow the official public health guidelines. Anyone who notices even the mildest symptoms must stay at home. We should all download the Directorate of Health's contact tracing app, act responsibly and think as positively as we can in the circumstances, remembering that they are temporary.
We have shown fortitude and tenacity throughout this crisis and we will get through this.
I wish you all the best, dear students and colleagues.
Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector“