This page will continue to provide the latest information on University of the West of Scotland’s response to the nationally evolving coronavirus situation.
UPDATE: NOVEMBER 2020
The University’s Academic Year 2020/21 commenced on Monday 28th September with Welcome Week for new and returning students, and teaching for the majority of courses began on Monday 5th October.
Over the summer, the University has taken a range of steps to ensure our campuses are safe and welcoming in line with national guidance. All students and colleagues are however reminded to stay off campus should they develop any COVID-19 symptoms, and book a test via NHS Test & Protect. You can find out more about this on the safe and welcoming campuses section of our Academic Year 2020/21 Hub.
UWS is also asking all members of its community to commit to taking personal responsibility for their role in ensuring our campuses are safe and welcoming environments through the ‘UWS Together: Our Covid Commitment’.
The University has been working to ensure that students are provided with a vibrant and dynamic student experience despite the restrictions that are in place. We have developed a new flexible, hybrid model of learning that means students will be able to access a mix of blended online and on campus learning and teaching. We are committed to providing students with one day per week of on-campus learning. Students can expect high-quality, accessible and engaging teaching and learning at UWS – and can look forward to a positive student experience, with a full range of support. You can find out more about our hybrid model of learning on the learning and teaching section of our Academic Year 2020/21 Hub.
Our Academic Year 2020/21 Hub also provides the latest information and guidance on:
Asymptomatic testing for students
The Scottish and UK Governments plan to offer asymptomatic Covid-19 testing (testing for those who are not displaying any of the symptoms of Covid-19) to students to facilitate safe travel home from term-time accommodation over the winter break, with the intention of helping keep you and your loved ones safe.
Working with the Government and NHS, UWS is launching asymptomatic Covid-19 testing sites, for students who are planning to go home for the winter break, at campuses in Paisley, Ayr and Lanarkshire (with a tailored approach for Dumfries campus). Covid-19 tests will be available on a voluntary basis for all students who wish to travel home, and who are not currently displaying any of the symptoms of Covid-19.
How to book a test
Those who wish to travel home will be encouraged to get tested twice between three and five days apart and we recommend you book your tests as early as possible. You can book a test online using the details below:
Dates: From 30 November
Location: P123 and P125 (Coats Building)
Date: From 3 December
Location: Room 3.035
Date: From 3 December
Location: Students’ Union
Testing opening times on all three campus sites will be from 11am – 7pm and the full detail of dates on which testing will be available can be found via the booking links above.
Book two tests – these should be between three and five days apart. Your second test date should be as close to your departure date as possible.
Please bring your own smart device with you and photo ID to your test in order that you can register for the NHS Testing service - you will be advised how to do this at your appointments.
Arrangements are being made to contact eligible Dumfries campus students directly, who will be asked to attend nearby NHS asymptomatic testing.
While asymptomatic testing is voluntary, we would strongly encourage you to get tested before any travel to make sure that you are not exposing your family, friends, any vulnerable loved ones and the wider community by taking the virus home with you.
If you test positive
If either tests are positive, you and the rest of your household will need to self-isolate in-line with national guidance. Due to the timing of the tests as mentioned above, those who are required to self-isolate will still have sufficient time to be able to return home to enjoy the holiday period.
If you receive two negative tests, you are advised to return home immediately. However, you are reminded that before travelling home, you should book travel in advance, avoid busy times and routes and check your journey in advance to avoid disruptions.
If driving, you should only travel with members of your household or support bubble, and follow travel advice safety guidelines. On public transport, it is important that travellers wear a face covering unless exempt, wash or sanitise hands regularly, use contactless payment and keep 2m distance where possible.
If you are planning to travel home over the coming weeks, please let the University know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can support you. When emailing, please provide your Banner ID, the title of your programme of study and the campus you are aligned to and whether or not you are in University managed or private accommodation.
Please remember however that to book your test you must follow the Eventbrite booking in the 'how to book a test section' above.
If you are showing symptoms of Covid-19
Please remember that asymptomatic testing is for students who are planning to travel home over the winter break and who are not displaying symptoms of Covid-19. If you are showing symptoms, you should instead book a test via Test and Protect. The symptoms to look out for are:
- A high temperature;
- A new, continuous cough;
- A loss or change to your sense of taste and/or smell
The minimum possible personal data will be collected by the University to help facilitate the screening programme. Specifically we will collect your name and e-mail address via the Eventbrite system so that we can allocate you an appropriate time for an appointment. We process your personal data on the basis that by booking an appointment you have provided your consent for us to do so. We will keep this booking information for the two weeks test period and then it will be deleted.
Our privacy notice for students provides further information about how we handle any personal data we hold about you and you can read this here.
The University will not have direct access to your test results but the NHS may share information with us as part of national test and trace efforts. You can find further information about how they will handle your personal data here.
COVID-19 NOTIFICATION FORM
As part of broader efforts to manage the covid risk amongst the University community, a simple form has been created to give an overview of cases and potential cases across the campuses. As well as supporting broader Test & Protect efforts, this will help inform actions on campus such as further enhanced cleaning, decisions on contacting Public Health, and also allow an offer of support to be made.
All staff and students are asked to complete the form if they either:
- Experience covid symptoms (a new and continuous cough, fever, and or loss or change to sense of taste of smell)
- Have received a positive test from the NHS
- Have been asked to self isolate for another reason (such as a member of their household having a positive test)
Information will only be held for 21 days in line with existing Test and Protect guidance, and will only be available to a very small number of colleagues.
The form can be accessed via this link which will prompt you to sign into Microsoft Office 365 using your normal log in details.
The safety and wellbeing of students and staff is our top priority at UWS. We have introduced a new free smartphone app that promotes staff and student safety across all of our campuses. SafeZone enables users to call for help and assistance when they need it most, giving you fast access to security whenever and wherever you are on campus. Once downloaded, SafeZone will automatically share your location when you are on campus with a small team of colleagues – helping with any contact tracing efforts on campus. This automatic check in feature can be turned off via the settings on your device, with information on how to do this available from the SafeZone tile.
The main features of the app are:
- Emergency alert – if you, or another person nearby, find themselves in a situation where their personal safety is threatened.
- First Aid alert – if you or another person nearby needs medical assistance.
- COVID-19 – to connect you to a local member of UWS staff to report any COVID-related issues on campus. Students are reminded, however, that full, detailed information and support relating to COVID-19 is available on the regularly-updated Academic Year 20/21 Hub.
More information on the SafeZone app, including frequently asked questions, can be found on the dedicated SafeZone tile.
FAQs and sources of national guidance
Q: With the recent introduction of the new Scottish Government protection levels, can I still travel to campus if it is outwith my local area?
A: Travel into another local area is still permitted for education purposes. Students at UWS are currently experiencing a flexible, high-quality, ‘hybrid model’ of learning with a blend of online and on-campus learning and teaching experiences in-line with national Government and Public Health guidance. For more information and further guidance, please visit the Scottish Government or NHS websites.
Q: Where can I find the latest official information?
A: Below you will find sources of national guidance:
- Scottish Government