St Andrews moved to Tier 3 and testing will be offered to students going home
Tier 3 restrictions will be in force from tomorrow
In an email to students and staff this morning, Principal Mapstone announced Fife will enter Tier 3 of Covid restrictions.
It noted Scottish Government plans to offer Covid testing to students studying in Scotland from 30 November “as a means to support safe travel home at the end of term”.
The email also said teaching will continue as planned for the remaining two weeks of the semester.
Tier 3 changes will have the biggest impact on the community rather than scheduled teaching at the University.
On top of Tier 2 restrictions about socialising indoors and outdoors, there will be increased restrictions on opening hours and the sale of food and alcohol in restaurants and pubs in St Andrews.
Principal Mapstone said: “Although the University and St Andrews more broadly continue to report a comparatively low level of Covid infection, levels elsewhere in Fife have been rising.
“Our prudent and cautious approach to managing Covid risk means that the University is in large part already operating at Tier 3.
“We do not anticipate any major changes to our operations, although some of our Can Do programme may be slightly affected.”
Exams will be available online so students can take them remotely. For those staying in St Andrews over the Christmas holidays, the. University has “opened up as much study space as possible across the institution including Levels 3 and 4 in the Library”.
The email also said: “You should continue to avoid any travel in or out of St Andrews and Fife for all but essential purposes.
“Education however is an essential purpose, and I am mindful here of our students living in Dundee and elsewhere outside St Andrews.”
The results of a Student Association survey revealed: “76 per cent of our students are planning to leave St Andrews over the break, 11.5 per cent are planning to stay, and 12.5 per cent remain unsure at this time.”
Principal Mapstone said: “For those who do stay in St Andrews over the Christmas period, we are also developing a programme of Can Do activities to run over the break.
“For students planning to go home, we will also be providing free transport from St Andrews to local airports and rail links.”
The University is waiting for further details from the Scottish Government on the practicalities of Covid testing for all students returning home, but the Principal’s email outlined a general process:
“Asymptomatic testing will be offered to all students who are intending to travel home at Christmas. It will be voluntary, but is strongly encouraged so you can be reassured that you are not carrying Covid home with you.
“The tests rely on what is known as “lateral-flow” technology, and give a result within 30 minutes.
“Students may be asked to take two of these tests in a five-day period.
“If you test negative, the Scottish Government will ask you to take “extra care” and voluntarily restrict your social activity and mixing with others before you travel home.
“If the tests give a positive result, you will be asked to take a further Covid test under the NHS Test and Protect Scheme to confirm the initial result.
“If you test positive, you will be asked to self-isolate, as will members of your household and any other close contacts.”