University unveils new Covid Rapid Response Team and code of conduct for students – a partnership approach to social responsibility
The University of St Andrews has established a new Covid Rapid Response Team to respond to any suspected incidence of coronavirus infection amongst students and staff.
The news comes in the same week that the Scottish Government announced plans to open the country’s first walk-in testing centre in the Victory Memorial Hall, St Andrews, in partnership with the University and NHS Fife.
The University has also published an eight-point Covid Code for students – setting out clear expectations about mask-wearing, social distancing, self-isolation and respecting public health guidance – and is recruiting a team of its own ‘Covid Saints’ student ambassadors to promote safe behaviour.
The new academic year will begin in St Andrews on Monday 14 September, with a virtual Freshers’ Week taking place from Monday 7 September. Students who have a place in University halls and who are required to quarantine on their arrival in the UK are being provided with two weeks free accommodation by the University.
The new measures announced by St Andrews are designed to build community resilience, and provide practical support and reassurance to students, staff and townspeople.
The Covid Rapid Response Team will provide:
- Staff and students with access to clear guidance, testing, and quarantine/self-isolation support
- Local residents with a single point of contact for incident reporting
- Rapid assistance with contact-tracing
- Data and insights to inform local policy and protection.
The walk-in testing centre will provide:
- Appointments available to the whole community through NHS Inform
- Enhanced NHS capacity
- Speedy diagnosis and contact-tracing.
Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal of the University of St Andrews, said: “As a community and a country, we are facing our greatest challenge in a generation. The only effective way to meet this challenge is to recognise our shared responsibilities to each other, and to work together.
“The walk-in test centre announced this week and the University’s Covid Rapid Response Team are two good examples of how shared resources and social responsibility can help keep St Andrews safe. Our Covid Code sets out clear expectations of the way we should all behave to stay safe and help each other.
“I recognise that there are anxieties in St Andrews about the return of our students, and I want to assure our neighbours that we take those concerns seriously and have put in place a comprehensive raft of measures to address them.
“This is a new experience for everyone, and we are learning as we go. We won’t always get it right first time, but with support and feedback from our students, staff and local community, I am confident we have the opportunity to model how collective responsibility can ensure community safety.”
St Andrews Students’ Association President Dan Marshall said: “Our message is clear that, as students, we all have a responsibility to be respectful of and to protect our local community and closely following the Covid Code is a major part of that.”
Every student is receiving a copy of the Covid Code. The University is printing more than 15,000 copies and these will also be made available to local businesses and organisations. Breaches of the guidance, whether on University property or around the town, will be treated as a disciplinary matter.
Members of the public can contact the University’s Covid Helpdesk for advice or to report concerns. Call the Helpdesk on 01334 464146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.