Four more student Covid-19 cases

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The University of St Andrews has reported a further 4 cases, all connected to a party in a student hall of residence, during Freshers’ week (7th-15th September). This brings the total of reported cases to 7. In response, the University is prolonging some of the restrictions introduced during last weekend’s lockdown. Principal Mapstone has written to all students and staff outlining the proposals for the coming week:

Dear Students

Thank you to all of you who voluntarily restricted your activity this weekend in response to our request for community-wide action to help mitigate the risks which allow Covid to spread. I recognise the sacrifices many of you have made.

It is my hope that St Andrews can continue to be a place where our management of the pandemic is driven by community consensus and voluntary action, rather than the hard imposition of rules.

I am sorry to say that last night, four new positive cases were confirmed amongst our students. This is in addition to the three sporadic cases which I had notified to you all previously. All have comparatively mild illness and are being appropriately supported.

These new cases of Covid were acquired in St Andrews, and are all linked to one party in a hall of residence in Freshers’ Week. Over 40 students are now in enforced isolation as a result. Quite apart from the fact that the party broke the law, and our own very clear guidelines on socialising and safe behaviour, the ripples from this single incident have consequences for all of us.

The next few days are especially important. In light of these latest cases, and the fact that they were acquired in St Andrews, I must ask all of you to continue to support our voluntary response to risk.

There is substantial evidence that the current increase in infections nationally is attributable to groups of people socialising indoors and a failure to observe physical distancing.

Please do not socialise with anyone outside your household group. Please do not arrange or attend parties unless they are only attended by your immediate household group. You should continue to attend the in person teaching already underway in some of our practical-based degree modules, to go to work if you have a job, and to take exercise as normal.

This week, we will be re-starting some of the activity which was cancelled over this weekend.

The click-and-collect service from the Library will be available from today, and bookable study space in the Main Library will re-open from tomorrow.

We will restart most sport, training activities and the gym from 9 am today. However, we will not restart contact sport or host visiting teams for the time being.

I am also pleased to let you know that the Provost is working with the Students’ Association on plans for venues and in-person activity that conform to Covid-safe guidelines and we will be in touch with you about this in the near future.

We remain committed to our plans to phase-in in-person teaching this semester, in line with clear current Scottish Government policy and guidance and under strictly-controlled, fully risk-assessed conditions. We will, however, keep this under constant review.

This week, we expect news of increased national restrictions at both a Scottish and UK level, and we will notify you of the implications of these as soon as possible.

Thank you again for your patience and cooperation.

Sally Mapstone

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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