Following the announcement from the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last night, the United Kingdom now faces a state of lockdown in an effort to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
An email from principal and vice-chancellor Sally Mapstone to all students and staff reiterated the only reasons why faculty and members of the student body should leave their house, flat or student bedroom, as advised by the government.
These reasons are:
- Shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise a day—for example a run, walk or cycle—alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need such as providing care or helping a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work where this is absolutely essential and cannot be done from home
Public gatherings of any more than two people will no longer be permitted from today, unless they are members of your own family.
These are direct instructions from the nation’s governments and will be enforceable by the public authorities, including the police. This period of national lockdown is expected to last for three weeks.
Principal Mapstone noted, “We are in large part prepared for this at the University. We are tonight beginning the process of securing and locking down our buildings. A number of our student residences will close, and students who have remained with us in St Andrews will be moved to ensuite accommodation which better supports social distancing or self-isolation, if required.”
As of yesterday, students in John Burnett Hall, St Regulus Hall and McIntosh Hall have been asked to move out of their rooms and relocate to Agnes Blackadder Hall.
Principal Mapstone’s email advises staff not to leave their homes for any other reason than those listed above and faculty are instructed not to come into work for any reason, unless they fall into an essential category of worker. Essential workers at the University include Residences and Estates staff and a small number of research and technical staff as well as postgraduate personnel.
Students should also not leave their residence for any reason other than those provided by the government and should remain in their room, refraining from gathering with other residents as far as possible. Those who leave their flat or residence for a non-essential purpose or in a group are liable to be challenged by the Police. Hygiene protocols and social distancing should be observed at all times. For those in University residences, catering will be provided centrally which will allow students to eat in their rooms.
Principal Mapstone concluded, “Thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding. Although we are now isolated from each other, our futures, and those of many who live in the community of St Andrews, rely wholly on our willingness to be part of the collective effort to limit the threat we all now face.”