The centuries-old university set up the center as part of the introduction of Covid-19 testing to students across Scotland

As an unusual term ends and the Christmas holidays draw near, students at the University of St Andrews in Scotland have entered and exited a sports hall that has been converted into a mass coronavirus testing center.

“Going home and being with my family is a big thing because I know everything is safe,” said Fiona Waddell, a 19-year-old psychology student, before the center opens for testing on Saturday.

“We’re lucky to be together for Christmas, and I just don’t want anything to endanger that,” she told AFP.

The centuries-old university on the north east coast of Scotland set up the center as part of the launch of COVID-19 testing for students across Scotland before the end of the semester.

The facility, where students self-test using one of the millions of lateral flow test kits provided by the UK government for Scotland, can accommodate 1,500 students per day.

It stays open until December 18th. Students wishing to return home for the festive break are asked to take two tests three days apart.

The UK government in London, which sets health policy for England, and decentralized administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have unveiled plans to allow students to return home for Christmas.

Everyone wants to minimize the chance of the virus spreading while traveling.

Students in England and Wales were asked to return home after a coronavirus test during a week-long travel window.

A staggered return through the seven-day window is planned in Scotland.

A survey by the St. Andrews Students' Association found that around 80 percent of students plan to go home for the holidays

A survey by the St. Andrews Students’ Association found that around 80 percent of students plan to go home for the holidays

‘Good opportunity’

Alastair Merrill, vice president of governance at St. Andrews, said the asymptomatic testing initiative means that when students return home, “they can protect their families and communities when they do”.

The results of the cross flow tests are displayed within 30 minutes and processed and sent to the students within 24 hours.

A survey by the St. Andrews Students’ Association found that around 80 percent of students plan to go home for the holidays.

Rebecca Clunie, a 22-year-old chemistry student who wiped her throat and bridge of nose to do the test herself, said an earlier test meant she could self-isolate before heading home – if necessary.

“Even if it’s positive, I still have time to self-isolate before I have to go home,” she said.

Anna-Ruth Cockerham, a 20-year-old mathematician, said it was good to come home after a semester in which social interaction was restricted due to the virus.

“I also think that a lot of students, including myself, haven’t had the opportunity to really mingle with other people, so it’s a good opportunity to go home and see your family,” she added.

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© 2020 AFP

Quote: Scotland will begin testing student viruses before Christmas (2020, November 28th), obtained from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-11-scotland-student-virus-christmas.html on November 29, 2020

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