Rapid testing introduced to cope with University Covid outbreak

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Following the outbreak of  Covid infection in six of its halls of residence, the University of St Andrews has announced the introduction of rapid PCR testing for students. This is the full text of Principal Sally Mapstones’s letter to students:

Dear Students

cc. Members of Staff

As promised in my message to you yesterday, I am updating you on our response to the recent rapid increase in Covid cases amongst our student community in St Andrews. As of this afternoon, we have 14 confirmed cases, and we expect that number to continue to increase.

I am giving you advance notice that from tomorrow, Thursday 18 March, mobile Covid testing units will be on site in St Andrews to provide rapid PCR tests. All students currently in town will be asked to take a test this week.

This is not a University facility. The mobile units are being provided and run by Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service, and the testing will be carried out under the National Test and Protect scheme.

The University Proctor, Professor Clare Peddie, and your Student President, Dan Marshall, will contact you again with details of the location of the mobile testing units, and how you can access them. Please continue to check your University email account regularly.

On Thursday, testing will be reserved for residents of halls where Covid cases have been confirmed. At present, these are Agnes Blackadder Hall, University Hall, McIntosh Hall, Gannochy House, Whitehorn Hall, and Powell Hall.

Staff working in these residences will also be offered tests, and we will contact you separately about that.

On Friday, the mobile units will be open to offer tests to all other students currently in St Andrews, including residents of private flats.

In the meantime, please make sure you follow the Covid Code. You must not socialise with anyone outside your own household, and you must not leave town unless you have a reasonable excuse under the law to do so, and have arranged to be tested in St Andrews before you leave.

I realise that this will be concerning news for some of you. We have however responded exceptionally quickly to the rise in cases, and there is a very good chance that we can limit transmission and prevent additional cases with your cooperation.

Please make sure you take a test when it is offered.

Sally Mapstone

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Photo: Example of a rapid PCR testing system  – Mesa Biotech  

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