St Andrews University extends online learning for rest of semester

St Andrews University.St Andrews University.
St Andrews University.
The University of St Andrews is making all teaching and assessment for most of its students online only for the remainder of the semester.

Students have been asked not to return to St Andrews unless they are among a small number for whom in-person teaching or practical classes are integral to their studies or degree outcomes.

In a letter to students, principal, professor Sally Mapstone, said the news would come as a “disappointment” to students and staff hoping to return to St Andrews, especially for final year students who will be unable to conclude their studies in the town.

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She wrote: “We are acting now, however, to provide you with as much certainty as early as we can, having listened carefully to student leaders and our staff, and considered all the evidence available to us on the predicted course of the pandemic.

“It is prudent to anticipate that significant restrictions on travel and other aspects of public life will remain in place in Scotland through the spring. Even if some of those are eased by the Scottish Government as Covid infections fall, we do not believe it will be to a degree sufficient to allow us to bring large numbers of students back to St Andrews and provide comprehensive in-person education.

“I am so sorry that our university and the town will be missing so many of you in the remaining weeks of teaching, and that your university experience continues to be disrupted by the pandemic and its attendant restrictions on all our lives.

“We are taking this step, however, in the certainty that we can fulfil all students’ learning outcomes, and continue to provide our hallmark high quality learning, contact, and support online.

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“Certainty also offers more stability, and allows us to concentrate fully on supporting all of you – students and staff – through the remainder of semester, whether you are currently in St Andrews or not.

“As difficult and disrupted as this academic year has been and will continue to be, we are not too far from the turn of the home straight.

Vaccines and our collective adherence to simple prevention mean we are finding a route out of the pandemic, and the promise of an eventual return to most of those things we were taking for granted just one year ago.”