On Thursday 23 July 2020, an email circulated to students from the 2020-21 Students’ Association President, Dan Marshall, announcing that Raisin weekend will be moved from its traditional date in October to the start of Spring Break in March 2021. The team also introduced the new release of their Coronavirus webpage.
The impact of Coronavirus on social restrictions has meant that events and activities for students are being postponed, cancelled or re-evaluated in the new academic year. Raisin weekend, a University tradition whereby academic families spend their days integrating, playing games, and dressing up in costumes for a foam fight, is one such event.
Speaking of the decision to move the event, Mr Marshall said, “When looking at the events and activities that take place over a normal Raisin Weekend, it was clear that given the current situation this would not be safe in October.”
“After discussion with the University we think that by moving Raisin to semester 2 there is a much better chance of people being able to have a more normal Raisin Weekend in a safe way than would be possible in October.”
Students who will be arriving in St Andrews later in the semester due to Corona-related travel restrictions will be able to find an academic family or plan their weekend better with the extra time.
This comes as the University introduced the option for students who are unable to arrive in St Andrews for the new academic year to have their modules delivered online for the first semester.
Mr Marshall continued, “We know that this won’t answer every question, but we hope that it begins to paint a picture of what you can expect in September. It might require a little more creativity and a few more risk assessments but we’re sure that the 2020-21 academic year will absolutely be one to remember!”
Furthermore, the Sabbatical team launched their own Coronavirus webpage, providing a link to give students “a sense of our plans and to answer some of the common questions that have been put to us over the last few weeks.”
The information will be continually updated as the situation develops in accordance to instruction provided by the Scottish Government.
The webpage, found on the Students’ Association website, is a guide to “help students prepare for arriving in St Andrews.” It provides a summary of what the team are expecting in the new year, including physical distancing measures, adapting food and drink services, re-evaluating movement within the Union, repurposing spaces, scaling down night-time activities, more frequent cleaning, and the impact on commercial income.
An FAQ section answers questions relating to what facilities will be open, travel arrangements, and which events will go ahead in the new academic year.
The webpage lists different support for societies and student event organisers who use or are funded by the Union. This includes details on hosting an event and safety measures for in-person events.
Links to guidance resources and contact details for the Sabbatical team are also available via the webpage. A record of previous emails concerning the impact of Coronavirus on the University from the Principal and Proctor dating back to March 2020 have been copied on to the page.
Mr Marshall noted how these changes reflect the main concern of the Sabbatical team.
He said, “Our goal is to find creative ways to deliver the best St Andrews experience we can and represent students wherever they are, but our top priority is the safety and health of students and the population of St Andrews.”