Face coverings remain, travel restrictions lifted and testing changes - message to staff

Dear colleagues,

Here is a brief Campus Planning Group (CPG) update following the First Minister's announcement on Tuesday 15 March on Covid restrictions.

As you may already be aware and given the current spike in Covid numbers, face coverings must still be worn on public transport and in most indoor places for at least another fortnight. 

Face coverings will continue to be worn at the University until at least Friday 1 April when spring break commences, and guidance in respect of the use of face coverings going forward will follow in the weeks ahead.

Although legal requirements around physical distancing end from Monday, there will be no change in current timetabling arrangements – which have been calculated based on distancing requirements in classrooms – to ensure no disruption to teaching for the remainder of the second half-session.

More details can be seen in the Scottish Government update and the First Minister’s speech but here are the key points:

From Friday 18 March – in line with the rest of UK – all remaining Covid-related international travel restrictions will be lifted.

  • Requirements on businesses/services, which include collecting customer details for contact tracing, moves from legal requirement to guidance on Monday 21 March.
  • From 18 April there is no need to continue twice weekly lateral flow testing.
  • Between 18 April and the end of April lateral flow tests should still be used by close contacts (daily for seven days) and by anyone visiting a hospital or care home.
  • PCR tests will continue to be available for those with symptoms until the end of April. 
  • Contact tracing of positive cases will also continue until the end of April.
  • PCR test sites will remain open during this period, though opening hours and locations may change during the transition.
  • Our Community Testing Centre at Butchart Recreation Centre, University Road will continue to operate as normal until the end of April.

In light of the updated guidance, CPG considered our approach to events outside the teaching timetable.  It was agreed that we would remove the 1m distancing limit on capacity for events in mechanically ventilated spaces. Instead, capacity will be driven by ventilation assessment limits and, of course, the physical capacity of the room.

Vaccination remains our best defence against the virus, and the need to get all doses of the vaccine was stressed again by the First Minister.  We would encourage our staff and students, who are able to do so, to get fully vaccinated.

The Scottish Government will review Covid guidance in two weeks and we will continue to keep you updated.

 

Best wishes

Tracey and Karl

Tracey Slaven

University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer

 

Karl Leydecker

Senior Vice-Principal

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