CoronavirusStudent update: 20 November 2020

Dear Strathclyde student,

With effect from 6pm this evening, Glasgow has moved into the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Protection Level 4. This means new restrictions in our geographical area which aim to protect the NHS and open the prospect of us all being able to see our family, friends and loved ones at Christmas. The changes to protection levels will remain in place for three weeks until Friday 11 December 2020.

The new restrictions are a reminder that the virus is still a significant threat, and we all must play our part in keeping ourselves and each other safe.

There is a summary of what this means for Strathclyders in our Coronavirus hub online.

You’ll see that the new guidance states that colleges and universities will implement a restricted blended learning model in Level 4. For Strathclyde, this means learning and teaching will be online with an exception for the delivery of critical and time-sensitive learning, assessments and work placements that cannot be delivered remotely or postponed. Your Department/School will contact you about the impact on your course.

The Andersonian Library will remain open. In line with Scottish Government and University guidance, enhanced safety measures are in place, including limits on the number of people allowed into the building at any one time.

To further enhance our Covid-19 health and safety measures, the Executive Team has decided that staff and students will wear face coverings in all classroom settings on campus, with the exception of those exempt from wearing face covering and teaching settings where PPE is required to be worn. This is in addition to existing social distancing measures already in place and the 2m distance rule still applies.

You should also be aware of the Scottish Government’s plans to introduce a widespread COVID-19 testing scheme to support the safe return of students ahead of the winter break.

The plan aims to reduce the chain of virus transmission by using a new rapid test for students who have no symptoms of COVID-19. You can read more about it in the statement that Minister for Further and Higher Education, Richard Lochhead gave to the Scottish Parliament.

The UK-wide programme aims to support those of you who intend to travel home, or to a different household, over the holiday period and help keep your friends and family safe from the virus, especially those who are elderly and vulnerable.

The new tests have been validated by Public Health officials and are deemed safe and offer reliable results. They are suitable for students who are studying and travelling within the UK. The tests are not appropriate for students who intend to travel to international destinations and those students should follow the relevant guidance for their regions.

We are now working closely with the Scottish Government and other Scottish universities to finalise the details of the plan for the COVID-19 Testing Programme. The testing facility will be at the Barony Hall on campus and will open for testing in the week commencing 30 November.

I will write to you all again next week to let you know the details of our plans and how you can access the tests.

I understand that the current pandemic restrictions are affecting the way that we all live our lives and that they can be difficult and challenging to deal with. Our Disability & Wellbeing Service has a large team of advisers and counsellors available to offer you advice and support in managing your mental health and wellbeing.

In addition to our weekday services, we are now running a mental health and wellbeing Zoom drop-in service between 10am and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Our team of counsellors are on hand to offer a listening ear, advice and support. If you are feeling lonely, isolated, anxious or have any concerns about your mental health and wellbeing, you can drop-in and speak directly to a member of our team.

Even if you don’t feel that you need support right now, I encourage you to keep this information close at hand so that you have it readily available in case you need to use the weekend service at any point in the future.

Your health, safety and wellbeing, and that of your loved ones, continue to be my greatest priority.

Best wishes,