Return to campus update for colleagues

Published: 24 May 2021

Update on guidance on return to campus, including room ventilation and info for colleagues with disabilities

I hope you are keeping well. Although our return to campus has been impacted by remaining in Protection Level 3, we are continuing to put in place measures to support colleagues to return to work on our campuses when we are permitted to do so.

We know from your feedback that it is helpful to confirm the current arrangements so this update will:

  • Confirm current guidance for colleagues involved in research, teaching and office-based roles.
  • Update on work to improve ventilation in our buildings.
  • Support colleagues with disabilities to return to campus.

At this point, colleagues engaged in research activities that cannot be undertaken remotely can access buildings and facilities. It has been heartening to see wider research activities re-commence over recent weeks. If you are unsure about whether you can or should be working on-campus at this time, please talk to your line manager or PI.

When we move to Protection Level 2, we will begin to introduce additional small-group, in-person teaching activities in a phased way. At present, the University continues to observe 2-metre physical distancing restrictions. The latest guidance is available on the Scottish Government website.

I appreciate colleagues would like to know more about when we might begin to see some return to office-based working, particularly as we prepare for the new academic year. The guidance for those undertaking office-based work across the HE sector remains to work from home for now, however we are continuing to engage with government and will share more detail about this at the earliest opportunity.

For many of us the future is likely to involve elements of hybrid and agile working, and we appreciate that for many working from home offers benefits you would like to maintain in the future. As you may know, Professor Neal Juster is leading a project focussed on exploring these approaches through the Embedding New Ways of Working (ENWW) Group.  We will keep you appraised of progress and further developments over the coming weeks.

In addition, Professor Frank Coton is leading Project Aurora, working with senior colleagues engaged in teaching to plan for the new academic year. This will consider the socially distanced scenarios that the University may face to ensure we are well prepared for the prevailing government regulations that apply in academic year 2021/22.

In particular, we are working to implement the latest guidance on ventilation, as it has become clear this is vital in minimising any future risk of transmission when we return in greater numbers.  We are currently undertaking a thorough audit of our buildings to assess compliance and maximise ventilation.

The University continues to maintain the robust safety measures already in place across our campuses, including social distancing, the wearing of face coverings and hand sanitising stations. These collective measures, coupled with the diligence of colleagues and students, will ensure our campus remains a safe environment to work.

If you are working on our campuses, we are running free and voluntary COVID testing for all staff and students; there are more details about how to do this on our testing webpages.

We are mindful however that colleagues who have disabilities may have particular needs that we want to support. We would kindly request that you raise these in the first instance with your line manager and/or your local HR Business Partner, who will work with colleagues in Occupational Health & Disability Services, to ensure that we have appropriate support mechanisms and precautions in place.

Finally, I want to draw your attention to the Scottish Government’s vaccination arrangements for 18–29-year-olds, published yesterday. If you are a member of staff or a student in this age bracket, you are asked to register your details via the online platform, you will then be contacted with your appointment date. There are further details about the programme online.

Thank you, once again for all your efforts throughout this academic year.  We will keep you informed as new government guidelines emerge in the coming weeks.


Dr David Duncan

Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary

If you have any comments or feedback for the Embedding New Ways of Working (ENWW) group, please contact: 

You can read more about Project Aurora and on the project webpages  


First published: 24 May 2021