News

Health guidance for students

Published: 10 Sep 2020 09:26

Clinicians outline when to seek a COVID-19 test.

Scotland’s most senior clinicians have written a joint open letter to college and university students with advice on what to do if they develop cold or flu-like symptoms during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Dr Gregor Smith, Interim Chief Medical Officer, Professor Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer, and Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, also reiterate that students need to be tested for COVID-19 if they experience any of its three main symptoms: a new and continuous cough, a fever or high temperature, or a loss of or change in their sense of taste or smell.

The letter states:

  • It is essential that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or who shares a household with someone who has symptoms does not attend college or university classes, and they self-isolate along with all members of their household. If they test negative, self-isolation can end for everyone. If the test is positive, Test and Protect will give you further advice
  • If you are a contact of a positive case you may be asked to have a test yourself.  It is important to remember that even if your test is subsequently negative you must still continue to isolate for a full 14 days
  • If, however, you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but have other cold and flu-like symptoms, you do not need to be tested and you do not need to self-isolate. You can attend university or college if fit to do so

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“As college and university students return to campuses, everyone needs to stay alert to look out for COVID-19 symptoms. Remember, colds and other flu-like ailments are particularly common at this time of the academic year - the dreaded ‘freshers’ flu’ – and so we all need to be doubly vigilant if these infections start doing the rounds.

“This letter to everyone – which follows on from the revised guidance for colleges, universities and student accommodation providers we published last week – sets out clearly the signs of COVID-19, what to do if someone develops symptoms and when to go for a test. By following this advice, we can all keep ourselves and others safe.”

Matt Crilly, NUS Scotland President, said:

“As the first semester kicks off, we all have a responsibility to follow public health guidance and keep each other safe on campus. As recent outbreaks have shown, the virus is still out there.

“More than ever students and staff need access to clear and simple national information, and we welcome today’s guidance from the Scottish Government specifically for people returning to campus.

“This information explains the actions that students should take if someone develops symptoms of COVID, either on campus or at home.”

Background:

Read the joint letter here.

Read last week’s release, ‘Safe return to campuses’ here.

For further information please visit:

www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus

Scotland’s Route Map – What you can and cannot do

www.studentinformation.gov.scot