Hygiene and safety measures
How to protect yourself and others, including on-campus safety measures, face covering requirement and information for those at highest risk.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of respiratory infections is by practising good hygiene, such as:
- avoiding direct hand contact with your eyes, nose and mouth
- maintaining good hand hygiene; washing hands with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser, after coughing or sneezing, after going to the toilet, and prior to eating and drinking
- when coughing or sneezing cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissues and disposing of them in the nearest waste bin after use
Access to suitable hand washing facilities (or to hand sanitiser) is available close to the entrance of building premises and all those entering are expected to use these facilities as they enter, as well as at very regular intervals during the day.
Please note, legislation has changed on 17th December - to remove your face covering under any exemption for staff and PGR students, you must now be able to maintain a 2m distance, instead of 1m as before.
Everyone on campus will continue to wear a face covering in indoor spaces. This includes all staff, students and visitors in offices, labs and teaching spaces or other indoor areas. There is legislation in Scotland on the mandatory wearing of face coverings and also statutory exemptions. These are set out below. One exemption, for staff (and PGRs), is if 2m physical distancing can be maintained or there is a physical barrier – for example when sitting in an office, meeting room, or at reception with Perspex screen. As a University, we expect staff and students to respect others who wish to keep a reasonable distance between themselves and others or wear a face covering in areas where this is not mandatory.
Scottish legislation makes the wearing of face coverings mandatory in the following areas (unless you are covered by one of the statutory exemptions)
- Indoor workplaces
- Indoor teaching and learning settings, including teaching laboratories
- all of our libraries (including all student/customer accessible areas in Libraries)
- study spaces
- hospitality areas (including front of house staff)
- museums and galleries
- indoor fitness studios and gyms (can remove when exercising)
- staff canteens and staff rooms (unless seated and eating)
- all communal areas such as corridors, stairs, lifts, entrances, changing rooms
Statutory Exemptions from the mandatory requirement to wear a face covering include:
- being unable to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability (within the meaning of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010), or without severe distress
- undertaking tasks in the course of your employment, where the wearing of a face covering would cause a material risk of harm
- communicating with a person who has difficulties communicating (in relation to speech, language or otherwise) and relies on lip reading or facial expression to be able to communicate – other measures, such as 2m distancing and removing for as short a time as possible, should then be observed if possible. Please see FAQ below for more guidance
- for staff and PGR only, if 2m physical distancing can be maintained or if there is a physical barrier – for example when sitting in an office, meeting room or at a reception with a Perspex screen.
- Presenting or making a speech (this would include presenting in class or oral exams) if a 2m distance can be maintained or a physical barrier is in place – this exemption applies to the whole University community.
- the full list of statutory exemptions are published online in the legislation
Student accommodation managed by Accommodation, Catering and Events (ACE)
Students are not required to wear a face covering within their own accommodation as this is classed as their home.
However, we would also like to remind students that their accommodation is also a workplace for our staff. With this in mind, we respectfully request that if any of our staff are within your accommodation undertaking their daily work and you are in a common or small area, such as the kitchen or corridor etc., you wear a face covering, as will our staff, to ensure we are doing everything we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you do not wish to wear a face covering, we would ask that you move to a different area of your accommodation whilst our staff complete their tasks.
A face covering can be a covering of any type, except a face shield, that covers the mouth and nose. This includes transparent face coverings, which assist communication for those who rely on lip-reading and facial expressions.
It is recommended that face coverings are made of cloth or other textiles and should be two, and preferably three, layers thick in line with WHO recommendations and fit snugly around the mouth, nose and chin while allowing you to breathe easily. Religious face coverings that cover the mouth and the nose count as face coverings for these purposes.
Staff and students should be aware that there are certain conditions and hidden disabilities that may preclude persons from wearing face coverings and should ensure they understand and respect this. In line with our Dignity & Respect policy, any bullying or harassment on this issue will not be tolerated.
Students who require to lip read
Any students who require to lip read should engage with their tutors or classroom lecturers etc. to agree strategies to support that student in being able to partake in that class. Staff members can remove their face coverings if they can maintain a 2m distance and the student should therefore sit as close to the front as they require to ensure they can partake in the class or at a 2m distance if within an office setting.
If staff are unable to maintain that 2m distance, they can remove their face coverings for as short a time as required whilst communicating with that student or wear a clear face covering. However, staff may choose or require to continue to wear a face covering, which may involve the staff member wearing a clear face covering, instead of a full material face covering.
Staff who require to lip read
Staff who require to lip read should discuss this requirement with their school to agree a suitable teaching agreement is in place. This may involve holding online sessions with students or supplying all students in that class with clear face coverings, but this will need to be a local decision based upon those specific circumstances.
Staff may remove their face coverings within an indoor workplace setting as long as a 2m distance can be maintained, therefore communication between staff and staff should be possible by the removal of their own face covering with no need for a clear face covering/mask.
Clear face coverings/masks
There are a number of different types of clear face coverings/masks on the market. There are no legal standards for face coverings (including clear masks), although the Scottish Government has advised that face coverings should fit over the nose and mouth and as tightly to the face as possible. This same advice would be expected for clear face coverings/masks. You should also look for latex free to avoid any possible allergic reactions. Most clear face coverings also only come in one size which may not be suitable for all face sizes.
There are a number of clear face coverings on the market, with a small number being able to be purchased through the University’s eProcurement system. However, since there are no standards to apply, we cannot recommend one type of clear face covering over another other than based on recommendations from those who have purchased before and have made comment on their fit and general construction.
A number of areas in the University have purchased the BCHS, CLR-Mask, product code 800032 – these can be purchased on the eProcurement system. However, schools are free to purchase other clear masks as long as procurement processes are followed as required.
We have recently added a new supplier of face coverings/masks with a clear panel which have been recommended by users as follows:
Smile Shield Type IIR Face Masks with Transparency
eFin supplier reference 2503918 for A LUCRE MUSKET LIMITED
Requirement to wear a clear face covering
Staff are not required to wear a clear face covering/mask if they would prefer to wear their own. However, if there is a situation where a reasonable adjustment is required due to a student or staff disability, the school should discuss with the staff member involved their concerns regarding the clear face covering/mask and why they do not wish to wear one and agree a suitable way forward. For staff who are medically exempt from wearing a face covering may feel more comfortable wearing a face shield during lectures. Note a face shield is not a suitable substitute for a face covering for anyone who is not medically exempt from wearing one but is an additional measure for those who are unable to wear one.
Most adults in Scotland will soon have had both doses of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. This means people at highest risk are now much less likely to catch coronavirus and do not have to shield now. The ‘shielding list’ and the ‘highest risk list’ are the same and includes people who have been asked to shield in the past, those at ‘higher risk of severe illness’ and those at ‘extremely high risk of severe illness’.
The Scottish Government advice is that these groups should;
- continue to follow any specific advice given by their clinician
- they should continue to work from home where possible whatever protection level you live or work in although if it’s not possible to work from home you can return to work following guidance that face coverings must be worn in indoor public places and on public transport.
- Both those at Higher risk of severe illness and Extremely high risk of severe illness should strictly follow physical distancing measures and hygiene measures and their household and other contacts should also strictly follow physical distancing advice and hygiene measures to protect them.
Further information on Covid-19 and these groups, including the medical conditions and other factors for these groups, is available on Coronavirus (COVID-19): General advice | NHS inform
If you have an underlying health condition or take regular prescription medicines, but you remain unsure whether you fall into one of the more vulnerable groups, you should contact your own GP practice for advice.
Further information on Covid-19 and vulnerable groups is available on the NHS Inform webpages.
People who are pregnant don’t appear to be more susceptible to coronavirus (COVID-19) than the general population, but are generally more susceptible to infection.
If you get coronavirus during your pregnancy it's likely that you:
- won't be more seriously unwell than other healthy adults
- will experience only mild or moderate cold or flu-like symptoms
For advice follow the link Coronavirus (COVID-19): Pregnancy and newborn babies | NHS inform
The Chief Medical Officer has written to all those who are at highest risk outlining the changes as we move beyond 0. It’s safe for people in the highest risk group to go into work if you cannot work from home. It’s also safe for you to use public transport. Children and young people can go to school, university and college, and childcare.
Safety measures continue to be in place for all campus activity, such as one-way systems, hand sanitisation stations, management of numbers of students and staff in buildings, online teaching and online meetings/ tutorials if required. Your School will provide information on what measures they have put in place to support teaching and in-person interactions, such as meetings with your personal tutor or supervisor. If you feel that you will require more than is in place, then you should speak with your student support team, supervisor or Personal Tutor regarding what more can be done.
The University will do all it can to implement any additional measures/ adjustments needed to protect your health and support a return to campus and/or look at alternatives to being on campus. However, if it is not possible to implement the necessary reasonable adjustments, alternative options will need to be explored, such as:
- an interruption of study or deferment
- help to move to a different course that supports digital learning
- identify alternatives to physical presence on campus (alternative assessments, digital teaching or group work).
Our Good Citizen Guide provides details on the Covid-19 guidelines in Scotland and what is expected of our students, how to report breaches to the University, and how failure to comply with these guidelines will be dealt with, including possible disciplinary action.
Building access and safety measures
We want to ensure that our campus is a safe environment for everyone. We have introduced additional health and safety measures, based Scottish Government guidance, as well as good hygiene.
These will vary by building, but includes the introduction of:
- hand hygiene facilities near entrances
- one way systems and circulation spaces
- screens at all reception areas
- clear health and safety signage
- increased cleaning regimes for all shared spaces and equipment
- reduced occupancy and reconfigured layouts in shared rooms
- suitable ventilation in all occupied areas
There may be less fire stewards on campus as we slowly return staff to the estate. Each building review group was tasked with evaluating this as part of their reopening process and ensuring that staff were aware of any new procedures. If you are not aware of these, please contact your building manager or School Safety Adviser.
All staff who return to campus should complete the online Cardinus 'Returning to the University Estate' module prior to return. We recommend this is undertaken the week or so before return to ensure staff have the most up to date information as content may be updated in line with guidance and regulations.
Staff must also receive a local induction to explain how the buildings they will be accessing are to be used safely and any other pertinent information, such as first aid support available and how to report any issues. Their attendance should be recorded locally.