News

Staggered return to campus for university students

Published: 08 Dec 2020 16:11

Further COVID testing before restart of new term.

Universities will stagger the return of undergraduate students to campuses over at least six weeks, within a package of measures to minimise the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

With only very limited exceptions, undergraduates should initially plan to restart their studies at home and only return to campuses and term-time accommodation when notified to do so by their universities.

When  students return to term-time accommodation, they  will be offered lateral flow COVID-19 testing, similar to that offered ahead of Christmas. All students are being asked to restrict their social interaction for a fortnight before they return to university and for the same period after they get there. College students – who largely do not move away from home to go to education – should return as planned, in line with the protection level for the area their college is in at that time.

Other student measures for Term 2 include:

  • any student who has remained in university and other accommodation during the holiday, can continue to do so, whilst observing the relevant levels restrictions
  • universities and other student accommodation providers should plan for how best to manage shared accommodation in ways that reduce the risk of transmission of the virus between students and between households, drawing on lessons learned from the autumn term
  • universities and providers should offer additional support for any students who may have to self-isolate upon their return

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

The Scottish Government, our colleges  and our universities have a shared priority to ensure transmission of the coronavirus is minimised for the safety of all in our community.

“We also wish to see  students have a positive educational experience in the coming spring term, including a blend of digital and in-person provision. 

“The spread of the virus is, however, uncertain and prevalence is stubbornly high in some areas. So we are proposing these arrangements for the forthcoming term to ensure a safe return to college and university for students, staff and wider communities, building on the positive work done by colleges and universities based on the experience of the first term.”

Background

Scottish Government guidance on colleges and universities will be made available to reflect these arrangements including key dates and how this will be kept under review.

Statement today by the Deputy First Minister John Swinney on the education sector