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The University and College Union at The University of St Andrews

Student Q&A

Students in St Andrews are naturally concerned with the current COVID situation and the effects on teaching and access to staff and other resources. Please be patient while we, the local UCU committee, try to answer your questions.

Email Ishbel (local UCU Exec member) on immd<at> with the subject field “Student COVID question” and I will attempt to keep this post up to date. Duplicate questions will not be uploaded.

Q1: We request that clear details of the disciplinary process for individuals in violation of the University’s COVID policies be made available.

A1: We (UCU) have yet to see this.

Q2: We ask that up-to-date COVID statistics pertaining to the University be made public and available to students in an accessible format, and that information pertaining to the decision making process of the University administration regarding the voluntary lockdown, what activities to allow and restrict (for example, why are sports teams allowed to meet in person but not societies?), and what metrics will be used to make future decisions regarding the return to in-person teaching, etc. be made public.

A2: At this point, we know as much as you do by reading the Principal’s emails. The UCU itself recommends four tests: 1. sustained reduction in COVID numbers and infection rates. 2. Coherent planning. 3. Comprehensive Testing and tracing. 4. strategies for safe return and continuing health and safety.

Q3:We are also concerned with the (apparent and discussed by some faculty) lack of support for faculty in the transition to (and from, and to, and… from again?) online teaching.

A3: Many staff members have been using TEAMs for several months now, since March, for staff and postgrad meetings either as 1-1 or larger groups. Obviously in the first few weeks of the Martinmas term we have been using the technology more frequently and in different ways (sharing, using whiteboards etc). Consequently there are usage problems which will hopefully settle down. New staff have only started using TEAMs recently so there is a variety of ability and training needs. Videos were produced to help us, but as with any technology, odd events will happen and not all training scenarios cover these “features”. Everyone is trying their best, so please be patient, but we do realise that this may effect the quality of the class.

Q4: Is there a mechanism for students to get exemption from in-person teaching?

Q5: What visible sign can be used to demonstrate that a student (or staff member) cannot wear a mask? The idea of the sunflower lanyard was mooted previously.

A5: Sunflower lanyards have been ordered by Student Services. They are awaiting delivery.

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