Covid-19 outbreak - update (22 March 2021)
Published on 22 March 2021
Latest update for students on the Covid-19 outbreak
We have a further update on the Covid-19 outbreak which has spread in our community since the second half of last week. NHS Tayside have now found 90 positive cases linked to this outbreak, 87 of them students from our University.
These cases are linked to more than one illegal party or social gathering, and cases are now spread across a number of private residences.
In terms of where the cases have been reported in relation to Schools of the University, there is a spread that involves most of our Schools. This is reflective of the outbreak occurring and spreading within social settings, not from on-campus activity.
After consultation with Public Health from NHS Tayside we have, for the moment, narrowly avoided having to suspend face-to-face teaching and close the main library. If we do not get a hold on the spread of the virus those are real risks.
We will be putting in place extra measures to monitor behaviour and clean shared spaces. This is not about punishment or denying services, it is about prevention and reasonable precautions against the spread of the virus.
The situation remains extremely serious. We are now also the focus of a great deal of public anger, from people who see a minority of students routinely breaching Covid-19 restrictions with no thought for their own safety or that of others.
Over the past year, our fellow citizens have unquestioningly given up so much, often at great personal cost, to try and stop the spread of this disease. Their dismay at the actions of the few who threaten to render their sacrifices meaningless is both understandable and shared by many in our own University community. We will therefore not hesitate to take serious disciplinary action against individuals who break our Covid Code, and to report illegal activities to the police.
You must not hold or attend any parties or gathering that are outwith the strict guidelines for social mixing. A failure to abide by the guidelines may have grave consequences, as we are already seeing.
The advice remains that any student, even if asymptomatic, who has been to a party/social gathering with people outside of their own household or 'bubble' at any time from 13 March onwards should book a PCR test as soon as possible.
This is essential action if we are to limit the spread of the virus in our community.
If you have attended any party/gathering, or been in close contact with someone who has, then you must arrange to take a PCR test.
We are still offering LFD Asymptomatic Testing for students at the Institute for Sport & Exercise. You can book a test online but please remember this is only for those who are not showing symptoms of Covid-19. If you have been at a party or other gathering since 13 March, or been in close contact with someone who has, then please refer to the guidance regarding getting a PCR test (see above).
We have added capacity for the Asymptomatic Testing Centre to open this week.
If you have a positive test, you must inform the University so that we can both provide support and ensure all necessary precautions are put in place.
Guidelines on social mixing and travel
Please remember there are still strict guidelines regarding social mixing that we all need to follow. This includes no indoor meetings between households, and only four people from two households to meet outdoors.
In student residences a ‘household’ is your flat. Visiting between flats is not allowed, as per the guidance above.
We need you to take all of the guidelines seriously. The potential implications if we do not are extremely serious, not just for individuals but for our community. Again, you must not hold any parties or gatherings that go beyond the strict social mixing guidelines described above.
Looking ahead to Easter, and more generally, the clear guidance from Government is that students who are here should not travel out of Dundee to return home or visit elsewhere. We urge you to heed this guidance.
It is currently illegal in Scotland to travel away from your term-time residence without a reasonable excuse. Please check the list of reasonable excuses set out by the Scottish Government. These do not include going on holiday or visiting your family. These rules have not been put in place by the University, they are the law of the land and we must abide by them.
If you have a reasonable excuse as defined by law to move away from your term-time residence, you must take a Covid test before you leave. These are available as indicated above.
Professor Iain Gillespie
Principal & Vice-Chancellor
Press Office, University of Dundeepress@dundee.ac.uk