CoronavirusStaff update: 25 September

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier today, I wrote to our students outlining a range of measures that are being put in place in Scotland’s universities this weekend to help break the chain of coronavirus transmission. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the health and wellbeing of our University community.

I am pleased to tell you that the vast majority of our students have been engaging with the guidance positively, adhering to social distancing rules and keeping themselves – and each other – safe. 

As of today, we have received fewer than 15 reports of positive Covid-19 cases. However, there is absolutely no room for complacency. This number includes a small cluster of confirmed cases within our Garnett and James Young Halls of Residence, and we are working closely with our colleagues in Public Health Scotland to trace the contacts of those affected and minimise the risk of any further transmission.

While we can feel proud of the way Strathclyders have adopted the Scottish Government safety rules to date, we need to keep going, and redouble our efforts. Cases across Scotland are rising sharply, and it is imperative that we work together to keep our community safe.

It is for this reason that universities and the First Minister are asking students, in addition to the ongoing advice not to mix with other households, to avoid socialising in bars, restaurants and cafes this weekend (from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 September).

We know that this is a big ask of Scotland’s students, and goes beyond what is being asked of the general public at this time. We are grateful for the steps they are taking to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Today, I am writing to request your continued support, both by following the government advice for your local area, and by offering your support to students who are self-isolating on campus.

Next week, our Student Experience team will roll-out a ‘buddy scheme’, where volunteer members of staff will pair with self-isolating students to make daily contact by phone or Zoom. This will help us ensure our students’ wellbeing, identify any concerns or worries they may have, and any practical help the University can provide. The Student Experience team will provide training for volunteers. If you can offer to help, please email student.advice@strath.ac.uk.

As a University, we have worked hard to move our student support services online. I would like to thank colleagues for their continued efforts in ensuring we remain available to our students in new and innovative ways. It is particularly heartening to see a wide range of ongoing virtual events and activities for students, from the popular online Library Lounges, to dedicated café Zoom chats for international students.

A new set of wellbeing drop-in sessions will begin for students living on campus next week, and a positive mental health campaign will also be rolled out shortly. Please take time to remind students in your Departments, Schools and Faculties that they can access wellbeing advice and support on our website.

Thank you again for your continued support. As a reminder:

Enjoy the long weekend, and please stay safe.
Jim