6 January 2022 - COVID-19 Update for students

Dear students,   

Firstly, a very Happy New Year and I hope you’re having a good holiday.

I wrote to you at the end of last Semester in relation to COVID-19, detailing Scottish Government guidance on the response to the emerging Omicron variant. 

Whilst the situation with Omicron remains uncertain, we hope that it will not impact unduly on our plans for learning, teaching and research on our campuses. Even so, we recognise that it may affect, at short notice, some facilities and the extent to which we can accommodate activities.

Yesterday, the First Minister announced the latest COVID-19 guidance, which focused on isolation and testing. The latest guidance does not require us to make changes to current teaching plans that you see on your timetable for on-campus teaching, or for research. However, there will be some flexibility as staff may need to isolate or care for family members and thus work from home.  You may therefore see some temporary changes that mean some teaching is moved online at times.

Key facilities that remain open include the Main Library, the James McCune Smith Learning Hub, UofG Sport facilities (including the Stevenson Building), and the student support desk in the Fraser Building.

Please be aware of Scottish Government guidance and continue to observe health and safety protection measures to limit the risk of transmission of COVID-19:  

  • Vaccination – getting two vaccinations and a booster jab remains the most effective defence against COVID-19. Booster vaccinations have been offered to everyone over 18. You can get the booster any time if it has been at least 12 weeks since your second dose and at least 28 days since a previous positive PCR test. You can find details about vaccination sites and eligibility on the NHS Inform webpages.  
  • Testing – students should take a test immediately before travelling from home to term-time accommodation, and thereafter test twice a week and before socialising with people from other households. We also ask everyone to take a lateral flow test before travelling to work, study or to events on our campuses. You can access free lateral flow testing kits from pick-up points on our campuses, as well as many pharmacies or you can also order them online. NewScottish Government guidance is that a positive Lateral Flow test should be treated as an individual having COVID-19 - a PCR test is not required unless you are also symptomatic.  
  • Self-isolation – changes have been made to self-isolation rules in line with public health advice and testing requirements to help maximise testing capacity and ensure a speedier start to the process of contact tracing. The new guidance is detailed in full on the NHS Inform website.
  • Social contact – everyone is advised to reduce social contact to a minimum. If people are socialising, the number of households in a group should be limited to three and everyone should take a Lateral Flow test beforehand.
  • Face coverings – wear face coverings unless you are exempt, including when moving around in buildings, in libraries and study spaces, in classrooms (including teaching labs) and in offices and other workplace settings where two metre distancing is not possible. Face coverings should also be worn when outside if in a congested area. 
  • International travel – from Friday 7 January, people travelling to Scotland from abroad who are fully vaccinated or under the age of 18 will no longer need to take pre-departure Covid tests, and will also no longer be required to self-isolate on arrival until they've received a negative result.
    Travellers in this group will still need to take a test on or before day two after arriving in the UK - which can be a lateral flow device rather than a PCR test from Sunday 9th January. Anyone who tests positive on their lateral flow test will need to isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test.
    Ministers have also agreed to approve vaccine certificates for a further 16 countries and territories from 0400 on 10 January to allow quarantine-free travel to Scotland. The red list of highest risk countries will remain unchanged with no countries currently on the list.
    Full details can be found on the Scottish Government website: Easing of restrictions on international travellers.
  • Campus safety - we will continue to monitor transmission rates on our campuses and maintain enhanced cleaning and ventilation protocols; physical distancing; wearing of a face covering; and occupation limits where necessary, to help minimise virus transmission. We will keep these arrangements under review as new government guidance is published.

The situation with Covid-19 is expected to continue to change. The University will maintain close contact with the government officials and all relevant organisations and do everything we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community. At the same time, we will strive to maintain the quality of the student experience. I sincerely hope that 2022 will bring more normality to our lives.

I am grateful for your ongoing support in implementing these guidelines and helping to avoid transmission of COVID-19.

If you need advice or further information, please refer to our Safety, health & wellbeing hub or contact us via the UofG Helpdesk.

With best wishes,       

David Duncan  
Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary  

First published: 6 January 2022