CoronavirusPGR student update: 7 January 2021

Dear Strathclyde Postgraduate Research Student,

On behalf of the entire University community, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope you had a restful break and were able to enjoy the festivities.

As you will be aware, the First Minister has announced a temporary national lockdown to combat the continuing spread of Covid-19.  We are expecting further guidance for universities from the Scottish Government this week, particularly around students returning to term-time accommodation, and we will be in touch with you again with more on this.

In the meantime, the arrangements announced on 21st December still remain in place, with universities and colleges able to operate using a restricted mix of face-to-face and distance learning. The Scottish Government guidance relating to this can be found here.

To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible. By law, in a Level 4 area, you can only leave your home for an essential purpose.  The legislation includes travel “for education including school, college, university or other essential purposes connected with a course of study” as a reasonable excuse. This guidance can be found here. 

Laboratories and research facilities located in areas subject to protection level 4 can only carry out work that is critical and essential.  Prior to the Winter Break, the Executive Team considered and approved essential research that satisfies the criteria laid down by the Government.

The default position is that if you can conduct your research studies from home you should do so.  Please liaise with your supervisor if wishing to make use of Department/School research facilities.

If you are returning to study within the Library you may do so within the published opening hours, but if changing household we ask you to plan your return and to book a COVID-19 test. Scottish Government FAQs are available here.

This is a fast-moving situation and we will share the additional, more detailed guidance from the Scottish Government as soon as we can.

We know that lockdown can bring additional stresses and strains to daily life. It’s more important than ever that we take time to focus on wellbeing – both our own, and that of those around us.

We can all feel the benefits of being active, staying connected with friends and family, and getting outside for fresh air. Remember that we’re here for you and if you have any concerns or worries, please do contact us on student-advice@strath.ac.uk. You can also find wellbeing advice and support on our website.

Importantly, given the situation created by the new restrictions for those with caring responsibilities – and in order to continue to support you to achieve an appropriate balance of work and personal life – I have decided to reintroduce our Friday Rest and Recuperation days from this week and for the duration on the latest lockdown.

This day is designed to allow us to support our families and loved ones, and to ensure we look after our own wellbeing too. As previously, if Friday is not suitable for you then make alternative plans to take another day in consultation with your supervisor.

Please take care and stay safe.

Best wishes,

Jim

Professor Sir Jim McDonald

Principal and Vice-Chancellor