Last updated: 8 September 11.40am
The St Andrews Covid Helpdesk is available to answer questions from students, parents and staff.
The University has also established the Covid Rapid Response Team, a dedicated contact service that is fronted by the St Andrews Covid Helpdesk.
Students and staff should notify the University's Covid Helpdesk to help us manage the virus within the community if they:
- are experiencing symptoms of what may be Covid-19
- have been contacted by the NHS Test and Protect tracing team
- have tested positive for Covid-19
- have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19
- are currently self-isolating for any reason
- are seeking help booking a Covid-19 test
- have questions about Covid vaccinations
- want to confirm the latest University guidance on travel.
The University is well prepared. We are working closely with NHS Scotland to ensure a best-practice response to limit the risk of the spread of coronavirus, and other seasonal illnesses.
A coronavirus planning group led by the Vice-Principal for Governance meets regularly.
We have issued regular updates to our students and staff, encouraged all in our community to observe social distancing and good hand hygiene, installed hand sanitisers at key points, offered regular, detailed advice on travel overseas, and ensured that the latest information and guidance is published on our website.
We have set up a Covid Helpdesk based within our Advice and Support Centre to triage all student questions and inquiries. You can contact the Helpdesk on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0)1334 46 4146.
The Scottish Government publishes a daily update on the numbers of confirmed cases.
When there are cases in our community in St Andrews, our primary concern will be for the welfare of those affected, to ensure they receive appropriate support and treatment and to provide accommodation for isolation if necessary.
We will observe the normal protocols of patient confidentiality but, with NHS Scotland, will ensure our community is given appropriate information and advice to be able to manage the risks.
The University has published the Covid Code to keep our students, staff and local community safe. Please familiarise yourself with it.
A successful route out of the coronavirus crisis depends on all of us sticking to these principles, and the University takes this very seriously. Breaches of the guidance, whether on University property or around the town, will be treated as a disciplinary matter.
The Covid Code requires staff and students to wear a face-covering indoors whenever you are in the company other than your household, and always when instructed to do so. It is a legal requirement in shops and on public transport. The government have outlined a number of 'reasonable' reasons for not wearing a mask.
Staff and students who are exempt from wearing face-coverings have access to sunflower lanyards and cards to indicate that they are exempt. Staff and students can request one by completing the lanyard request form. Alternatively, face-covering exemption cards can be obtained via the Scottish Government and are available in physical or digital forms.
However, current government guidance and regulations state that those exempt do not have to prove their exemption and should not be made to wear a face-covering or denied access to places where face coverings are required. We ask for people to be aware of the exemptions and to treat each other with kindness. Please note, however, that misuse of the exemptions may result in disciplinary action.
You may of course approach the individual concerned to ask them to comply, and you are encouraged to take this line if you are comfortable doing so. It can be done in a supportive manner and without confrontation: after all, safety in the current circumstances is everyone’s responsibility.
However, if the individual concerned continues to refuse to comply or if you feel unsafe or unsure about approaching them, you can report any breaches of health and safety guidance to the University and appropriate action will be taken:
- If the individual involved is a student and you can identify them (such as by providing a name or address), and wish to make a formal report about their conduct, you can contact the Student Conduct Officer at email@example.com or by calling +44 (0)1334 464107.
- If you are a member of the public and wish to discuss general student behaviour or concerns, you can contact Lesley Caldwell, Community Engagement and Social Responsibility Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +44 (0)1335 46 2551.
- If you feel that there is a serious, immediate risk to your own or others' safety that requires an urgent response, please contact the Security and Response Team on +44 (0)1334 46 8999 or dial 999 for the emergency services.
Dealing with Covid cases
Testing stations are run on a UK-wide basis. Even at the St Andrews walk-in centre (which requires appointments in advance), the tests are processed through the UK laboratory facilities, not the local ones.
People are notified of their results either way directly by the laboratory. If they have tested positive they will be advised to self-isolate. The laboratory will also contact the local Health Protection Fife Team, who are responsible for tracking contacts to halt the spread of the disease.
The University’s Covid Helpdesk and Covid Rapid Response Team support Health Protection Fife and their Contact Tracers by assembling information about potential contacts and providing initial advice to students and staff.
A positive test result does not necessarily mean a confirmed case of Covid. That decision is taken by medical experts in the Health Protection Team in NHS Fife. They consider the clinical factors, the type of exposure, your account of recent activities and contacts, and knowledge of the viral path. They then make a clinical decision whether to treat this as a Covid case, or, if there’s the possibility of a false positive test result, they may send you for retesting. They will also decide which of your contacts may be at risk of infection and should be advised to self-isolate, as well as any other measures that may be required.
It is possible that you may receive your test result before the Health Protection Team does. It is therefore really important to notify the University’s Covid Rapid Response Team (CRRT) via the Covid Helpdesk (email@example.com or 01334 464146) as soon as you receive a positive (or negative) test result. The CRRT will advise you on immediate next steps, and will ask you about your movements and people that you’ve been in contact with. This is to support the work of the official NHS Contact Tracers, who are also likely to interview you to establish the clinical evidence they require. It’s extremely important to co-operate fully with these interviews to limit the risk of Covid spreading in our community.
The CRRT may also take some precautionary measures in advance of the HPT deciding whether or not to confirm a case. These may include advising potential contacts to go into temporary self-isolation, or to arrange for the deep cleaning of parts of buildings. These measures are purely precautionary, reflecting the priority we attach to minimising any risk to staff or students.
Once the official HPT contact tracing process has concluded who may be at risk (an “official contact”), the Contract Tracers or the CRRT will get in touch with those individuals and advise them.
Anyone who has been asked to self-isolate voluntarily by the CRRT will be contacted and either told that they are now an “official contact” and must continue to self-isolate; or that they not considered to be at risk and can return to normal.
That decision is taken by experts in the Health Protection Team, who will consider the clinical factors, the type of exposure, the individual’s account of activities, contacts, and knowledge of the viral path. Any contacts considered to be at risk will then be contacted by the NHS Contact Tracers and advised to self-isolate.
As a precautionary measure the CRRT, in advance of a HPT decision, also request individuals to self-isolate who are potentially at risk because of contact with a suspected Covid case.
Data protection rules are very strict around Covid, and the HPT control all communications. Details of confirmed cases can only be provided on a strict need-to-know basis. If you have been identified as being at risk of infection from contact with a potential Covid case, you’ll be contacted either by the CRRT or by NHS Test and Protect and advised on any precautions you should take.
The University will be providing a link to figures on the number of cases locally, but for confidentiality reasons, we can’t provide any details that would allow any individuals to be identified.
You’ll be told by the NHS Contact Tracers or by the CRRT if there may be any risk to you. The University will be publishing regular figures on the number of cases, but for reasons of confidentiality, we can’t provide any details that would allow individuals to be identified.
Additional guidance for Managers and Heads of School or unit
You will be notified if there is any risk to members of your school or unit – for example if a case has had contact with your building or any of its users.
Each case is different, so please take advice from the CRRT before issuing any communication. Staff should be reassured that whoever needs to be contacted will be contacted. If they’re not identified as a contact, they’re not at risk.