Coronavirus (Covid-19) updates for staff and students

Working on campus

Information for staff who are required to work on campus.

On-campus activities from 17th May 

In line with Scottish Government guidance, some of our PGT students returned to campus from 17th May to resume some in-person teaching elements, or access lab and specialist spaces. This will mean that some staff will be returning to campus for the first time in a long while.

The individual College/School will be determining the teaching requirements for each protection Level, so if you are unsure of what is required then please contact your Head of School, Director of Professional Services or Director of Teaching.

Returning to campus

If you are required to return to campus, we understand that this may seem daunting for staff who have previously been working from home.

  • Please be assured that we have put all of the necessary procedures in place to create a safe working environment (see below for more information).
  • If you have concerns around returning to campus then please see the guidance below. 
  • If you’re returning for the first time or not been on campus for a while, we would encourage you to complete the Cardinus Returning to the University Estate training course.

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

Guidance on face-to-face activities

  • In-person meetings can be held with PGT students as long as all Covid-19 measures are followed, including 2m physical distancing.
  • PGTs students can also return to laboratory spaces as long as Covid-19 measures agreed for the laboratory(s) you will be working in are followed.
  • Group sessions (if required) should be kept to a minimum – both in frequency and in student numbers attending and must be held with 2m physical distancing in place.
  • Guidance on fieldtrips and placements

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

Health, Safety and Travel

Controlling the risks of transmission of Covid-19

Returning to campus

(Updated 18 June 2021) 

As we move to Level 0, we will return to the prioritisation approach we established in 2020 for on-campus activity.

Our prioritised approach is aligned with the planning assumptions for the 21/22 Academic Year and will support us in our preparations. We will, of course, continue to follow Scottish Government guidance at all times. We will prioritise work on campus in the following areas and unless circumstances change this will hold through to the start of the academic year, but we will keep this under regular review and keep colleagues up to date:

  • Learning and Teaching: this includes the delivery of in-person on-campus learning, teaching and assessment, including workshops, tutorials, labs and practical sessions; personal tutoring or academic advising sessions; cohort building facilities. Where other activity can be completed at home that may be encouraged.  
  • Research: progress research that requires presence on campus and, as in late 2020, encourage use of facilities on campus for research. Where other activity can be completed at home that may be encouraged.  
  • Professional Services: roles or services that can only be performed on campus and are critical to campus operations and/or the student experience (for example: security, cleaning, AV technicians, catering, research facilities, health & safety); roles required to support any education, student support, research activity, or other professional service activity, roles that require access to core systems that create business continuity risks when operated off campus; student-facing advisory and guidance roles that need to take place in person.  

Other professional services activity would not be prioritised at this point, noting there may be some activity that needs to take place on campus which would be reliant on space availability.

Plans for the professional services activity that is not seen as priority in terms of returning to campus will be shared in due course.

Note: As a reminder, even in Level 0, there will still be physical distancing requirements in the University in line with the Scottish Government guidelines, so campus capacity will remain reduced and a range of controls will remain in place.    

Supporting your safe return to campus: video from our Principal and Vice-Chancellor (July 2021)

Video: We are Open - Staff Video July 2021
Video for all staff about the next academic year and returning to campus.

Questions about returning to work on campus

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

We want to reassure you that 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.

The Health and Safety of our staff and students continues to be our highest priority, and your manager will only require you to return to campus if this is in line with the University’s mission and our obligation to provide the best possible teaching and pastoral experience and if all required Health and Safety measures are in place, in line with current Scottish Government Guidelines.

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 Advisor.

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 

(Updated 28 June 2021) 

If you are pregnant, please ensure you keep up to date with the prevailing government advice for pregnant employees.  The Government has placed pregnant women are in the moderate risk group as a precaution and therefore they require special consideration.  

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 here

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.

Local building access

The Scottish Government’s guidance on essential work includes any work that must be performed on-campus in order to meet the core priorities of the University to deliver education and research of high quality enabling us to allow more staff access to buildings.

If this applies to you, you will have been contacted directly by your line manager to arrange suitable access and all open and accessible buildings have been altered to ensure a safe workplace. We are currently opening, reshaping and repurposing our buildings to ensure they are in line with all relevant Health and Safety Government Guidelines.

Parking permits

(Updated 18 June 2021)

As more staff continue to return to campus, there will be an undoubted continued increase in pressures on car parking, particularly in the central area where the pressures on space are so acute.

For this reason we reopened parking permit applications on 14 June for the Central area and King’s Buildings with applications open for a period of two weeks until 28 June. These permits will be valid until 31 December 2021 and any staff wishing to drive to work during this period should apply for a permit.    Further details, including additional information on improvements to cycling facilities and support, are available below:

Transport and parking

Creating a safe working environment

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 Government’s instructions, and you must not come to work at all if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, no matter how mild.

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.