Coronavirus (Covid-19) updates for staff and students

Working on campus

Information for staff who are required to work on campus.

Returning to campus

(Updated 20 September 2021)

We understand that returning to work on campus, in part or in full, may seem daunting for staff who have been working from home for many months. We want staff to feel confident about our approach for returning to campus, and be aware of the range of measures we are adopting to keep our whole University community safe.

The latest information and guidance on working on campus can be found on our dedicated SharePoint for staff (EASE login required):

Working on campus – guidance for staff

If you have concerns around returning to campus then please see the guidance below. 

Information for managers on staff returning to campus can also be found in the additional guidance for managers: 

Managing staff who are returning to work/campus

More information on the Covid-19 health and safety measures in place:

Hygeine and safety measures

Controlling the risks of transmission of Covid-19

Vaccinations

While the University would strongly encourage you to be vaccinated, it does not require you to be vaccinated to be able to return to and work safely on campus.

We don’t need to know if you’ve been vaccinated once, twice or not at all, and if not, why not. We deem your decision to be a private matter.

You must not ask colleagues about their vaccination status, as this is personal data, and you do not need to confirm your vaccination status if asked.

Questions about returning to work on campus

(Updated 20 September)

We understand that staff have individual circumstances and therefore individual concerns about returning to work on campus.

Why are we returning to campus?

One of the University’s objectives for the next academic year, guidelines permitting, is for our campus to be increasingly the centre of gravity once again. This means significantly more learning and teaching, student support and research activity taking place on campus, as well as our broader facilities such as libraries and study spaces, social spaces and sport facilities.

Many our colleagues have continued to work on campus throughout the last 18 months or so. However, to reach this objective, many more of our staff will be returning to campus, some for first time since March 2020. We want staff to feel confident about our approach for returning to campus, and be aware of the range of measures we are adopting to keep our whole University community safe. 

The re-opening of the campus and individual buildings has, and will continue to be, done in consultation with trade union health and safety representatives and with robust health and safety measures in place to ensure a safe and secure working environment.

Speaking with your manager

It is important that you discuss any concerns about your working environment with your manager so that possible mitigations or adaptations can be considered. These mitigations/adaptations could include a change to your working hours to avoid peak public transport and/or your duties. You might also wish to make use of the leave options available to you. 

You may find the Scottish Government Covid-19 Occupational Risk Assessment Tool useful in assessing your vulnerability to Covid-19 and to aid these discussions. You can also ask your manager to refer you to Occupational Health, and with your consent, they will provide feedback to your manager to aid your discussions. 

If you have discussed these mitigations and adaptations with your line manager already and are being required to return to campus without these in place, you should raise this with the next tier of your management or with your HR Partner .

If all available options to facilitate safe on-campus working have been discussed and explored with your manager and agreement cannot be reached, your manager may have no alternative but to instruct you, both verbally and in writing, to return to campus by a given date.

Should you fail to do so, it may then be necessary to consider disciplinary action. Any disciplinary action would be as an absolute last resort, and only after it is clear that agreement on your return to on-campus working cannot be reached.

Note: Those who have a Covid-age which places them at very high or high risk were they to contract the virus may be asked to remain at home until their manager has sought and received advice from Occupational Health.  This advice will provide any additional protection measures that need to be put in place to enable them to return to the workplace. Managers should seek this advice using the normal OH management referral process. 

Pregnant employees 

If you are pregnant, please ensure you keep up to date with the prevailing government advice for pregnant employees. 

If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant, or are pregnant at any stage and have an underlying health condition that puts you at greater risk of severe illness were you to contract Covid-19, you are advised to take a more precautionary approach.   

Please note that the Covid-age risk assessment tool referred to above does not include pregnancy so will only help you to assess your general risk.

If you are pregnant, you should ideally let your manager know. This will enable them to carry out an individual workplace risk assessment with you. This is standard University practice for pregnant employees and more information can be found on the Health and Safety webpages.

This assessment will be carried out whether or not you are working on campus or remotely from home. It will be reviewed regularly during the course of your pregnancy, and when there is any proposed change in your working arrangements, including a return to campus.   

In asking you to return to the workplace, your manager will take into account prevailing government advice for pregnant employees. If necessary, your manager will, with your consent, seek additional advice from Occupational Health using the normal management referral process. 

Due to Covid-19, you will not be required to work on campus unless this is supported by the individual workplace assessment.  

As above it is important to discuss any concerns that you have so mitigations/adaptations can be considered and put in place during your pregnancy.

Creating a safe working environment

(Updated 20 September 2021)

We have put procedures in place to ensure that staff accessing University buildings have a safe working environment. You must not attempt to come to work unless you have been asked to do so by your line manager and received induction information on how to safely access our premises.

All staff must abide by the Scottish Government’s instructions, and you must not come onto campus if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, no matter how mild, and if you are required to self-isolate for any other reason

All on-site staff must receive suitable and sufficient information to ensure they are aware of what extra measures have been put in place and how to safely access and navigate buildings they are returning to.

A training course has been produced on the Cardinus system which gives an overview of what types of changes you may see as you return. This can be accessed on our Health & Safety webpages but you should liaise with your line manager in the first instance.