By now you have probably seen the email from the Principal that was sent out this afternoon, highlighting that the lockdown announced this week means that plans for the start of Semester 2 are under review. We wanted to get in touch this evening to reassure you that we are working with the University to reduce the impact of any changes on students as much as possible and to advise you against travelling to St Andrews at present unless you have a good reason as laid out in the Scottish Government guidance.
We have been in discussion with University Senior Management today and have made clear how important it is for plans to be announced as soon as possible as many students, particularly international students, have travel booked in the coming days and may wish to change their plans.
We have stressed that if students living in University halls are asked to further delay their return to St Andrews, they should not be expected to pay rent for the period they are asked not to use their room. We’re also asking the University to support us in putting pressure on the Scottish Government to act to support students living in private flats and privately run halls.
We have also reminded the University of the confusion and mistrust that was caused by last minute changes to the start of Semester 1 as the Scottish Government changed restrictions at short notice. We hope that the University will aim to ensure that whatever plans are announced, they are as sustainable as possible in light of the rapidly changing nature of the pandemic.
We will continue discussing plans with the University in the coming days and raising other issues and considerations that may come up. We know this is a stressful time and we want to get you answers as soon as we can but we also need to make sure that the University gets this right so please hold tight for a few more days.
In the meantime, the advice from the Scottish Government is clear: you should not return to St Andrews until the start of your in-person teaching unless you have a health & wellbeing reason or lack the appropriate environment or technology to study at home. International students who have already booked travel are exempt from this, as are postgraduate students.
Anyone that is returning to St Andrews should ensure that they do so safely and in accordance with the guidance from the Scottish Government. This includes booking 2 asymptomatic tests through MySaint and strictly adhering to the new lockdown rules. International students will also need to complete a period of quarantine unless their country is on the exemptions list.
Please remember that the sabbatical team is still here for you so please reach out to us with any issues or concerns. There is also a range of wellbeing advice and support available from Student Services to do check that out.
Dan, Amy, Emma, Tom, Gav and Sophie