University latest updates

Emailed on 19 May 2020

Dear Students  

Many of you will be in the middle of this year’s exams which, because of the unprecedented impact of Covid-19, are being conducted online. Many others will not be involved in any assessments  at  present. We would like to wish all of you the very best at what is a time of  considerable challenge and  uncertainty.

Before the lockdown, we tried to keep you updated as difficult choices were made; these included  the ending of face-to-face teaching  on campus, the move to assessment  at a distance  and the regrettable  but unavoidable decision to postpone graduation  ceremonies  this summer. We promise that as soon as we can hold proper ceremonies  for our new graduates we will do so, and  with all the usual pomp and splendour.  

We  want to give you more details now on the  planning which we are undertaking, for the time when the current lockdown is eased and campus reopens.  

Your safety and wellbeing are and will  remain our over-riding consideration as we plan for a return to campus. We are proceeding on the  assumption that  physical distancing will remain in place for some months, and that  this will have a  significant  impact on teaching, learning and research. We will do our best to ensure we continue to offer  a  great  UofG  student experience. But things will be very different, at least in 2020-21. 

The  2020-21 academic year will commence on schedule  with most undergraduate students starting  in September  (Freshers’ Week on  14th  September, classes from  21st  September). Some programmes normally have earlier start dates, and these will continue to be observed with any changes advised by your School. You should also be aware that we are considering delaying the start of a number of taught postgraduate programmes till January 2021. 

We anticipate that most courses will involve a blend  of  remote and on-campus  teaching. Numbers in lecture theatres and in laboratories will be restricted, and we are  modelling  ways in which some courses can operate on a rotation basis. Further information on individual courses will be provided in due course. 

The University will follow all public health advice so that we keep students and staff safe and well. In addition to the government guidance, we have many medical staff working on Covid-19 research and in the hospitals and they are also advising us on the best approaches.  We are actively planning for a range of possible measures, including the wearing of face coverings and temperature checks on campus. Catering outlets and the student unions will have specific rules that need to be adhered to and some events will either take place with significantly reduced numbers, will be offered ‘virtually’ or will unfortunately be postponed.  

 Many members of staff, particularly non-teaching colleagues, will continue to work from home to ensure there is sufficient space on campus for students and essential workers. For those  on campus  we are looking at a variety of options that will ensure physical distancing is possible. These include staggered shifts, rota working and changes to how we move around our estate.

We know that the academic year 20-21 is going to present us with challenges. However, we are committed to resuming campus activities safely  and meaningfully, as and when the lockdown is eased. In the meantime, the student organisations and staff are  developing new activities that can be delivered  in ways that work in the context of a physically distanced campus.

The University of Glasgow has come through many crises during our long history, and we will get through this one.

We  will continue to provide regular updates, including live virtual Q&A sessions for you to ask any questions and raise any concerns that you may have.  You can find more information at our coronavirus webpage 

Please take care of yourself and of those close to you. 

 Dr David Duncan,

Chief Operating Officer  and University Secretary       


Professor Moira Fischbacher-Smith   

Vice Principal for Learning and Teaching  

First published: 20 May 2020

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