Universities Scotland comments on availability of COVID-19 tests for students

In response to the availability of COVID-19 tests for students, a spokesperson for Universities Scotland said:

“The testing programme is working well and we strongly encourage anyone experiencing symptoms of the virus to seek a test. Universities can advise their students on routes to do that if they are unsure. We also ask everyone in the university community to download the Protect Scotland contact tracing app.

“We know that quick access to testing, by students, has been part of the rapid action and containment of the virus where outbreaks have occurred in student residence settings. There has been extensive planning about testing, in anticipation of the start of the academic year, between universities, Scottish Government and public health experts, from the early summer. The new walk-through test centres are a product of that planning and have been very helpful in increasing ease of access for students living in university settings. More will open in the coming weeks. They are also a service to the wider community.

“The public health advice has repeatedly been that self-isolation, for the full period, is the most effective way to contain the virus, if you have come into contact with someone with coronavirus, whether or not you have a positive or negative test result. The test itself does not change the action required. The high numbers of students currently self-isolating in student accommodation, supported by their institutions, is down to a very cautious and safety-first approach to protect student wellbeing and contain the virus. This is the best course of action that can be taken in these circumstances, regardless of the outcome of a test.

“Test and protect is really important part of management of the coronavirus in Scotland but it is only one aspect. Other steps, such as use of face coverings, physical distancing, isolation where necessary, and now, no mixing of households, are the first line of defence against the virus. This advice applies to students as much as any other member of the public and the vast majority of students are following this guidance, just like the rest of Scotland.”