Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for colleges

Published: 9 Jul 2020
Last updated: 9 Jul 2020 - see all updates

Guidance for colleges in helping to minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for colleges


This guidance is for the college sector in Scotland. It comes into effect immediately – 29 June 2020 – and will be updated and renewed as circumstances change. It sets out both our current advice and guidance for the safe restart of colleges in helping to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

This document is provided as guidance only and does not amount to legal advice. Individual colleges may wish to seek their own advice to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.  

It is one of a set of Scottish Government sectoral guidance on Safer Workplaces which are applicable as we progress through the phases described in Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis (21 May 2020), and any subsequent updates. The route map  provides an indication of the order in which the Scottish Government will carefully and gradually seek to lift restrictions across Scottish society. It states the criteria used to decide movement between phases with a commitment to review and report every three weeks. It also states that it might be possible to lift some measures more quickly while some may take longer than envisaged. Phase 1 commenced on 28 May 2020 with the First Minister announcing her intentions on Phase 2 on 18 June 2020.

What these phases mean in terms of opening and expanding college activity and the public health and safety measures which need to be considered are outlined in more detail further in this document.

We have worked with colleges, trade unions and student representatives to ensure that this guidance offers clear expectations and practical approaches to a safe, phased full reopening of colleges.

The guidance emphasises in particular the importance of undertaking robust and ongoing risk assessments with full input from trade unions and student associations and to keep all risk mitigation measures under regular review so that staff and students continue to feel, and be safe.

Every college operates independently and each has a distinct curriculum offer as well as a range of services and commercial operations, with differing communities that they serve, Each institution’s buildings and operations reflect these distinct mixes. It will therefore be for each college to work with trade unions, staff and students to determine specific actions to apply this guidance in their circumstances. Policy and action will be guided by public health advice and a measured approach to managing risk through local agreement of appropriate measures. 

In setting out this guidance we recognise that, during lockdown, colleges moved to delivering teaching and assessment online, allowing students and staff to ‘stay at home’. Students unable to travel home have been supported to remain safe in college student accommodation.



First published: 9 Jul 2020 Last updated: 9 Jul 2020 -