Dear Strathclyde student,
I hope this message finds you well and that you are looking forward to some rest and relaxation over the festive period following the first Semester that I hope you have enjoyed.
I would like to warmly thank you once again for your individual and collective efforts to keep the Strathclyde community safe and well in what has been quite an exceptional year for all of Strathclyde's staff and students. Seeing our students return to campus and being able to hold Graduation ceremonies in November have very much been highlights of the year so far.
As we have continued to navigate the challenges of living through the pandemic, the safety, health and wellbeing of our students and staff have continued to lie at the heart of everything we do.
Although the COVID-19 situation nationally remains fragile, we have seen a great deal of progress in 2021, thanks in large measure to the roll-out of the vaccination programme, including the new booster drive, which continues to make good progress across the country.
As we move towards Christmas and we learn more about the new Omicron variant, it is now more important than ever to adhere to the COVID-19 protections that are in place to help keep transmission levels down.
I am seeking your help again today to ensure that you can adhere to our COVID-19 guidance. Please remember to:
- wear a face covering when required
- wash your hands as often as you can
- keep a safe distance from others
- test regularly
- get vaccinated
As we come to the end of Semester 1, I wanted to update you on a number of areas.
COVID-19 tests – collection centres on campus
Testing remains extremely important as around one in three people with COVID-19 do not show any symptoms. Rapid lateral flow tests can help to find asymptomatic cases in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can transmit the virus to others. You can collect free lateral flow tests from Livingstone Tower Café Area (LT110/LT111, 12.00 to 16.00) and Strathclyde Sport.
The Scottish Government recommends that we all test at home before travelling to campus, socialising, visiting someone at home or before going somewhere that might be crowded. Please ensure you carry out a lateral flow test every time that is required to do so. More information can be found on our COVID hub on our website.
Travel and changing households
I know that many of you will be thinking about leaving campus or Glasgow over the coming weeks. If you intend to change households within the UK or plan to travel across the UK during the festive break you should do a lateral flow test three days before you travel and again on the day of travel.
You should then repeat taking a lateral flow test three days before you plan to return and again on the day you travel to return to your term-time accommodation. Testing in this way is an important step in ensuring that our campus – and the wider community – is safe and that we minimise the risk of virus transmission.
There have of course been a number of developments around travel outside the UK and the common travel area. If you intend to travel further afield, there is information about international travel, quarantine, and testing for people entering Scotland available on the Scottish Government's website. There is also useful information about travelling abroad on the UK Government’s foreign travel advice website. Please check your own country’s guidance before you make any arrangements to travel.
There are now more ways than ever to get your vaccine. You can register online or attend a local drop-in clinic. Please visit NHS inform for more information about COVID-19 vaccinations, including information about the booster dose and how you can book your appointment. You should also download the NHS Scotland COVID Status app to prove that you are fully vaccinated. You will need to show your vaccine record to travel abroad and you may need it to enter certain venues or events in the UK.
Mental health and wellbeing support over the break
The Strathclyde and StrathUnion teams have organised support throughout the holiday period to help with your mental health and wellbeing. Please have a look at the range of activities and ideas available on our website.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming you safely back in January. Colleagues across the University have been working hard on our plans, which will continue to focus on your safety, and providing the best possible student experience for everyone.
We are continuing to implement a blended learning format of on-campus learning, combined with online activities, for all our learners.
Thank you once again for everything that you are doing to support the University community. I have been hugely impressed and encouraged by the ‘can do attitude’ of our students and colleagues as well as their resilience and support for each other in the face of the most challenging of environments. All of this makes me very proud to be a Strathclyder.
Finally, and importantly, I would like to wish you all an enjoyable, peaceful and safe festive break and I look forward to welcoming you back to Strathclyde in 2022.