COVID-19 update

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Message from the University Secretary – new semester arrangements

Dear Student

As you may be aware, the Scottish Government has issued guidance to universities ahead of the return of students for the spring semester, early in 2021. Postgraduate taught students may return at the commencement of the new semester, on Monday 1 February. This email outlines the arrangements we will have in place for our postgraduate students for the new semester around in-person teaching, returns to accommodation, and no-symptoms testing.

Teaching and learning

The new semester will begin, as scheduled, on Monday 1 February and postgraduate taught students will be able to access all of their learning online, while those who can access campus will also benefit from face-to-face small group teaching sessions, where possible. Any small group teaching sessions will be carefully managed and guided by the most up-to-date government and public health advice and guidance.

We understand that some students – both undergraduate and postgraduate – will need or want to return to their term-time address in January for a variety of reasons – including for personal wellbeing, to complete a period of quarantine ahead of semester beginning, and for employment, as well as to access essential services including student support services, our library, study space, and sports facilities.

To support this return of students, while keeping students and staff safe, it is necessary to implement a carefully-managed, staggered return for students over several weeks. Arrivals will be operated through a booking system, ideally with students returning by household. Importantly, the reforming of student households will be supported by the availability of COVID-19 no-symptoms testing for all returning students.

Accommodation Services will be in touch directly with students by email, with details on how to book an accommodation arrival slot for University-managed accommodation, so please check your student email account.

As you will appreciate, we are also asking for the cooperation of all students in following the Scottish Government’s public health advice to reduce social interactions in the two weeks prior to returning to University and in the 10 days after arrival.

No symptoms COVID-19 testing: 8 January – 8 February 2021

As part of the transition from students’ holiday households to their term-time household, in a similar arrangement to the end of the first semester, all returning students – whether living in University or private term-time accommodation – will be offered COVID-19 no symptoms testing. Please note, the free tests are specifically for students who aren’t displaying any symptoms (asymptomatic) but who could nonetheless be carrying Coronavirus. It is important that you do not attend the test centre if you have symptoms or have had a positive test in the last 90 days.

The test centre, located in the Pathfoot Building will be open 9am – 5pm between Friday 8 January and Monday 1 February 2021, and also on Friday 5 February and Monday 8 February too.

Once students have confirmed arrangements for their return – remember if returning to University-managed accommodation you must book an accommodation arrival slot – an Eventbrite booking

should also be made, to take two tests at the no symptoms test centre in Pathfoot. Tests should be booked to coincide with arrival at students’ term-time accommodation. It is advisable that students sharing a flat try to coordinate booking their no-symptoms tests so that everyone living in the household can have peace of mind that they are free from coronavirus and do not pose any risk to others.

To make an appointment for a no symptoms COVID-19 test, use the following links to book between:

Should any student receive a positive test result, please be assured they will be fully supported through the 10 day self-isolation period and receive a care support package.

International students

International students who have already booked return travel to Stirling should continue with their plans. Please remember that under Scottish Government guidance, students arriving from many overseas countries will be required to quarantine for a period of time – currently, this is 10 days. Those required to quarantine will receive a care support package of practical and emotional support from our accommodation and student support services teams. Those students returning from a country for which there is no 10-day quarantine requirement on arrival back in Scotland should instead book two no symptoms COVID-19 tests.

All returning students should continue to follow the guidance and restrictions for the area in which they live and should follow the FACTS guidance at all times. In all that we are doing, our priority is to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our students, staff and the community around us safe and I’m very grateful for your continued cooperation and understanding.

Enjoy the Christmas holidays – look after yourself, your loved-ones and those around you.

 

Eileen Schofield

University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer

COVID Response Lead

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