St Andrews shuts libraries, Sports Centre and Students’ Association due to COVID-19

Students have been asked to return home

The University of St Andrews has closed its libraries, Sports Centre, Students’ Association, and public spaces indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week the University also announced their decision to move all classes and examinations online for the remainder of the semester.

In response to the UK government’s decision to curtail access to public spaces, various University areas in St Andrews have also been closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Sally Mapstone urged all students who are able to travel to return home as soon as possible. Staff are also advised to work from home and carry out lectures and tutorials online. Any students who are unable to return home will be cared for by the University over the next few months.

Students are also advised to expect further restrictions to University life within the next couple of weeks.

The full email reads: “The United Kingdom is now entering a phase in which severe and long-lasting restrictions on public life will be enforced in an attempt to suppress the spread of coronavirus Covid-19.

“I cannot over-emphasise the seriousness of this situation or its effects on the life of our University.

“I wrote to you two days ago recommending that those of you who had remained in St Andrews with us over Spring Break make arrangements to go home. I am writing again today to ask that you go home without delay if you can.

“I know that there are some of you who cannot travel or go home, and I want to assure you that we will do everything we can to look after you in St Andrews in the weeks and months ahead.

“The fewer students who stay here, however, the better we are able to look after those who cannot leave. The measures announced last night by the UK Government have already had an immediate and profound effect.

“Our Libraries, Sports Centre, Students’ Association, and public spaces are closed until further notice. Many other buildings will be accessible only by swipe card to limit footfall and reduce the burden on our cleaning staff.

“Our student residences will remain open, but life in them may be subject to very significant constraints. Our Schools and Professional Service Units were last night instructed to implement remote-working plans which have been in preparation for several weeks, for staff who can work from home.

“I know that these are intensely worrying times for you and your families, as they are for our staff and their families.

“Our priority is your safety and wellbeing, whether you are at home or staying with us in St Andrews, and we will be continuing to work very hard on behalf of all students, and our staff. The life of our  University will continue, but it will necessarily be extraordinarily different to that which we have known, and is likely to face further, significant restrictions and challenges.

“We are doing our best to anticipate those and to keep you fully informed of their implications. We are updating our FAQs as promptly as we can, and I ask you to familiarise yourself with them.

“Please also ensure you check your University email accounts at least twice daily for further updates, especially in relation to instructions for the online teaching and assessment programme which will be in place for the remainder of this semester.

“You can also contact the Coronavirus Helpdesk in the Advice and Support Centre, North Street, [email protected]