8 Dec 2021: Winter break - message for all students
As the end of semester approaches, I know many of you will be making plans to travel and spend time with loved ones. I am writing to share some key information to help you to prepare for the winter break.
Support on campus
Please be assured that our campus remains open and any student staying in university or private accommodation during the holiday period can continue to access services and support. Festive opening times will be published in the Student Bulletin, on the portal and social media.
LFD test before mixing or travelling
Following the emergence of the new Omicron variant in Scotland, the First Minister has reinforced the need to follow guidance. COVID-19 has not gone away, and we must all continue to play our part to minimise its spread.
The First Minister is urging everyone to take frequent lateral flow device (LFD) tests, especially before mixing with people from other households – and on every occasion you intend doing so. This means before going to a pub, to a restaurant, visiting someone’s house, or even going shopping.
Please try to include LFD testing as part of your routine, including before travelling at the end of semester and prior to returning to your term time address after the holidays. For domestic travel, plan to take a free LFD test three days before and, also, on the day prior to travelling. You should follow current guidance if the test is positive: isolate, book a PCR test and continue to isolate until you get your result. See the NHS Inform website and the University webpage on where you can pick up an LFD test on campus and on how to self-isolate.
International travel and red list countries
As recent days have illustrated, the situation remains fluid and travel guidance can be subject to change. In particular, more travel restrictions are being put in place across a number of countries, including the UK, as a result of the new Omicron variant.
Anyone intending to travel should plan ahead, check airline requirements, review regulations at their destination and in any countries they may pass through. Please follow Scottish Government travel guidance, as travel restrictions may be subject to change.
Important: Please note, the University’s managed isolation accommodation for students from red list countries will not be available for current students who have already travelled to Stirling for the autumn semester. This means that any student who chooses to return home to a country on the Scottish Government’s Red List will have to enter government-managed hotel quarantine on their return to the UK. The cost of hotel quarantine is currently £2,285 for one adult.
Please be aware that all international arrivals to the UK will be required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test. Also, currently all international travellers arriving into the UK are now required to take a pre-purchased PCR test – on day two of arrival for those who are vaccinated and on days two and eight for anyone unvaccinated – self-isolating until results are received.
For further guidance, please visit the links above.
The vaccination centre located in the Pathfoot Building is available to all our students and getting fully vaccinated remains the best way to be protected against the virus. COVID-19 booster and flu vaccinations are being offered to those eligible with scheduled appointments and drop-in sessions are available for anyone yet to receive a first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
To check if you are eligible for a booster or flu vaccine and for more information please visit the NHS Inform website.
Face coverings on campus
Please remember, in keeping with Scottish Government guidance, it is mandatory to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces where physical distancing is not possible unless an exemption applies.
This includes all indoor teaching and learning spaces where one-metre distancing cannot be observed; when you are moving about; in the Library, the Atrium, Campus Central, retail outlets, catering outlets (when not seated for eating or drinking); and in all corridors, the link bridge, stairwells, reception areas, student residences, toilets and on public transport.
Thank you for your continued efforts in helping to keep yourself, other students, staff and our wider community safe. We will continue to monitor and respond to government guidance, and keep you updated on any changes.
Enjoy the festive holidays ahead – look after yourself, your loved ones and those around you.
University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer
COVID Response Lead