Almost all University of St Andrews students arriving in St Andrews for the start of the new academic year have been vaccinated against Covid according to the University.
Returns from a comprehensive survey of new and returning students found that 97% of students have had one dose, and 73% are fully protected with two doses, or have received a single dose vaccine such as the Janssen vaccine.
In Scotland as a whole, only 74% of 18 to 29 year olds have had one dose, and 50% two doses, according to the latest figures from Public Health Scotland.
The University has worked throughout the summer to encourage its students to get vaccinated, to protect themselves, and to cut the risks of the virus spreading when Freshers’ Week starts on 6 September.
Working with NHS Fife, it is laying on a comprehensive series of drop-in vaccination clinics in St Andrews for students who are due to have their second dose, or the small number yet to receive any vaccine. The University will welcome students from more than 140 countries next week, and the drive to support their vaccination has been a complex international and logistical challenge.
St Andrews has also refreshed its Covid Code – the seven-point charter which helped keep infection levels in the University and town amongst the lowest in the country over the past 18 months.
The new Covid Code 2021 – produced jointly by the University, the St Andrews Students’ Association and the Athletic Union (Saints Sport) – sets out the simple steps and behaviours which the University, the Students’ Association and the Athletic Union ask of students and staff, now that most legal restrictions have been lifted.
Wear a face covering indoors, unless an exemption applies
- Be considerate and respectful of others who may wish to continue physical distancing
- Get regularly tested
- Wash or sanitise hands regularly
- Download the NHS Protect app
- Get fully vaccinated as soon as possible
- Contact the University Covid Helpdesk if you develop symptoms.
With the assistance of the Scottish Government, the University has also taken delivery of almost 50,000 rapid test kits to which students and staff will have ready access.
“I cannot praise our student and staff communities highly enough for the way the University responded to the pandemic so far, and kept levels of transmission so low,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sally Mapstone. In many cases, that has meant considerable personal sacrifices, and significant disruption to the student experience.
“As we begin our new academic year, although most legal restrictions have been lifted and people are entitled to exercise important freedoms again, our students and staff have told us that they wish this semester to be one of transition in which our return to normality is considered and gradual.
“Levels of Covid transmission in the general population in Scotland and the rest of the UK are exceptionally high at present, which is why it has been so important to encourage and support our students to get vaccinated. The fact that 97% have had one dose and intend to be fully vaccinated, a percentage which is substantially ahead of that in the general population, says a great deal about the maturity and attitude of the St Andrews student community.
“Learning to live with the virus in our midst will take time, which is why a semester of transition is the right thing to do, a semester in which we are able to re-discover all the things which make St Andrews special, but recognise that, at a very fundamental level, each of us has a continuing responsibility for the health, safety, and wellbeing of all in our community.”
St Andrews will keep its Covid Code under regular review, and will adapt it if necessary in response to any changes in national guidance.
Additional information on the updated Covid Code and guidance for students is available here: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/coronavirus/covid-code/