Guidance for societies running events in the new academic year has been issued by the Students’ Association. It details that no in-person events for societies and subcommittees will go ahead under the current social restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Guidance for societies running events in the new academic year has been issued by the Students’ Association. The guidance follows updates released by the Scottish Government over the weekend concerning restrictions to social movement. No in-person events for societies and subcommittees will go ahead under the current circumstances.
This comes as the Coronavirus pandemic halted in-person learning last semester and has restricted social movement since March 2020.
Speaking of this in his email which was circulated to societies, Gavin Sandford, Director of Student Development & Activities, said, “In general, we are still imposing the rule of no in-person events for societies and subcommittees.”
“The existing guidance limits gatherings to 5 households when meeting outdoors. Members of societies come from different households, so in most cases this will effectively limit events to 5 people (or 3 indoors). This is in line with the advice we have been given by the University, that most departments (not including sport or teaching) are following.”
The situation is continuously evolving, and Mr Sandford noted that they “may allow events with no/extremely limited face-to-face contact.”
Events that involve 1-2 people could possibly go ahead if safety precautions such as social distancing and face-coverings are taken. These occasions must still be risk-assessed in accordance with procedures in previous years and noted down by Mr Sandford. No food or drink will be permitted in such cases.
The Students’ Association is also imposing the rule that all official society committee meetings must be held online. Online platforms will be the foundation for most society related events. Mr Sandford noted that Teams can be used by individual societies for free.
Live events for theatre and music are allowed according to government guidelines. However, venue access is restricted.
Mr Sandford said, “We currently do not have access to viable spaces, however we are working with the University to secure these, as well as looking in to what we can provide around the Union building.”
The principal focus of the Students’ Association is to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Mr Sandford noted in his email that “We have a responsibility for ensuring that affiliated events are safe for our student members, and unfortunately the current environment makes this incredibly hard. As such, we are being firm in what we can and cannot allow, and insisting that the only the safest options are considered.
“I’m sorry if this guidance seems harsh, and restrictions seem to be lifting slowly. We’re following guidance and advice from the government and University, and hope to lift restrictions as soon as we can. St Andrews is in a unique situation with the large number of international students, combined with the aging town population. Local lockdowns in Scotland are a reality, and we are doing everything we can to avoid a similar situation to what is going on in Aberdeen.
“We want more in-person events to happen, but this can only happen when it is safe to do so. We’ll be sending out regular updates and trying to provide further guidance when we can. We are looking into how to provide safe spaces for events, and are hoping to be able to have more positive news soon.”