Covid-19: St Andrews asks students to observe voluntary lockdown

Principal asks students to stay in their rooms as much as possible from 7pm Friday evening

September 18, 2020
St Andrews University

The University of St Andrews has asked students to observe a voluntary lockdown over the weekend as Covid infections surge across the UK.

In a message to students, principal Sally Mapstone says “it is very likely that we are very close to a form of further national lockdown” and adds that the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, “has today spoken of the urgent need to interrupt the chain of transmission of the virus”.

“In these circumstances, I am writing to all of our students to ask you to please observe a voluntary lockdown this weekend, effective from 7pm this evening,” the message says.

“This means that I am asking you all to remain in your rooms as much as possible, not to party, not to go to bars or restaurants, and to avoid mixing with any groups outside your own households. Catering will continue as normal in halls of residence.

“I appreciate that this request will appear to some of you to be premature, but a hallmark of this pandemic has been that, as a society, we have acted too slowly in the past, and thousands of people have died unnecessarily as a result.

“Early action saves lives, and we have an opportunity as one community to take action to protect ourselves, and those with whom we share this town.”

Professor Mapstone says that all events planned for this weekend should be postponed. In the message, she stresses that St Andrews’ decision is a “pre-emptive and proactive action”.

“There is no evidence that the virus is surging in our community. Rather it is because as a country we are now in a very fast-moving phase where early intervention is key, and hours make a difference,” Professor Mapstone says.

chris.havergal@timeshighereducation.com

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