Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for universities

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

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for universities
Other issues

Other issues


Universities have continued to provide essential services on residential accommodation for students through the lockdown phase. This has included protocols for the isolation of individuals if necessary under public health advice. The Scottish Government continues to update its guidance for students on moving from accommodation.

As part of planning for the commencement of the new academic year, universities will prepare for the further use of student accommodation, including protocols to meet public health requirements such as arrangements for self-isolation and testing.

To support that planning, we will shortly issue specific guidance for purpose-built student accommodation.

International arrivals and requirement to self-isolate

Universities, staff and students will need to plan for compliance with guidance for residents or visitors travelling to the UK.

Those travelling from a country not yet exempt from quarantine requirements should complete a passenger locator form and self-isolate for 14 days. Students and staff who are travelling to and from Scotland should check the Scottish Government website for the latest advice.

Universities should make staff and students aware of these requirements.

Contractors, visitors and deliveries

For contractors, visitors and deliveries, universities will consider limiting campus access where appropriate.

Universities will ensure contractors, suppliers, and those making deliveries are offered adequate protection and ensure they are aware they are expected to follow the institutional COVID-19 health and safety measures, procedures and protocols.  

Where contractors undertake work on site, this must follow the latest regulations, including any relevant regulations made under UK or Scottish Acts relating to COVID-19 and relevant health and safety legislation.

Procedures should be put in place for deliveries to minimise person-to-person contact. Settings could consider providing appropriate hygiene facilities at drop off points with clear signage on access rules.

Facilities management

Facilities management arrangements such as emergency for fire evacuations and safe access and egress from buildings will reflect the adapted use of buildings with the appropriate risk assessments undertaken. In an emergency, for example an accident or fire, people do not have to stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe. People involved in provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands.


Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees and those affected by the work activity. This extends to the risks associated with COVID-19. Where the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. The actions the HSE can take include the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements.

Next steps

This guidance will be updated in consultation with unions and universities as circumstances and guidance changes as we progress through the phases in Scotland’s route map. Please ensure you use the latest version.

It is for individual organisations in conjunction with trade unions to decide how best to successfully adopt and adapt guidance for their individual circumstances.



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