Update on easing of COVID-19 restrictions

Yesterday (3 August), the First Minister provided an update on plans for continuing to ease COVID restrictions beyond Level 0 across Scotland.
 
Following this, we are writing to keep you informed about the next stages of the University’s COVID-19 recovery programme. This email includes information about:
  • Physical distancing on our campuses
  • Return to offices
  • Health and safety measures
Currently, rates of COVID-19 are falling, and the vaccination programme continues to roll out to more groups, with the First Minister confirming today that vaccinations will now be offered to everyone over the age of 16.
 
We are communicating with students ahead of the new academic year, encouraging them to get vaccinated and we are working with our local health authority to make available vaccinations for those who have not received two jabs by the beginning of the new academic year.

Physical distancing

The Scottish Government plans to remove the requirement for physical distancing from 9 August. On our campuses, we will continue to observe two-metre physical distancing until 1 September, at which point we intend to remove this restriction.
 
The exceptions to this are:
 
  • Research labs and associated accommodation, which will remove physical distancing from 9 August.
  • Teaching facilities, which will be at one metre during Semester One, with plans to remove physical distancing from Semester Two.
  • Other events on campus, such as weddings.

Return to offices

As outlined in yesterday’s briefing and in previous communications from the University, return to offices will be a phased process, beginning on 1 September. From that date, colleagues may work one pay per week from their office on-campus, increasing to two days from 1 October, and with no specific restriction from 1 November.
 
Today, we have published ‘Guidance for on-campus activities’ (pdf) which further sets out how we will support the return to office working on campus over the coming months.

We expect hybrid working to remain in place on an ongoing basis, and we will publish more guidance and support in coming weeks.

Health and safety

For those colleagues working on our campuses, we are continuing to implement increased health and safety measures, including:

  • Ensuring adequate airflow in our buildings; maximising fresh air in both our naturally and mechanically ventilated buildings.
  • A requirement to wear face coverings (unless exempt) when moving around indoors.
  • Enhanced cleaning, focusing on heavily used areas.
  • Hand sanitising stations throughout our buildings.
Please note that the advice remains to undertake twice-weekly lateral flow testing. You can order these via NHS Inform. We will also be operating on-campus collection points for lateral flow tests and will confirm details of these soon.
 
Thank you for taking the time to read our updates and help us ensure a smooth transition to more on-campus working. We want all colleagues to feel supported and to ensure that the return to campus is a positive experience; as always, health and safety will remain our top priority.

First published: 4 August 2021