Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): universities, colleges and community learning and development providers

Published: 15 Jul 2021
Last updated: 22 Jul 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for operations in the academic year 2021 to 2022.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): universities, colleges and community learning and development providers
Student accommodation

Student accommodation

Students in all types of accommodation have a personal responsibility to follow the baseline measures that are part of beyond level 0 and provided for either by regulations or in guidance.  Where support is needed as part of these measures, students should communicate this to their institution as soon as possible.

Student accommodation at universities, colleges and in the Purpose Built Student Accommodation sector is potentially a location that risks higher transmission of the virus as new households are formed. This means it should be a priority focus for planning protective measures.

Following appropriate guidance on seeking a PCR test (if symptomatic or identified as a close contact), or undertaking regular LFD testing (if asymptomatic), self-isolation and contact tracing will be essential for early identification of the virus and to supress it from spreading – see link to https://www.nhsinform.scot/ for testing/guidance on testing.

Regular testing (if symptomatic or asymptomatic) and contact tracing will be essential for early identification of the virus and to enable quick self-isolation practices to supress it from spreading.

Accommodation providers and students have a responsibility to encourage, adopt and maintain safe behaviours to protect themselves and other people.

We expect that institution-managed accommodation providers will:

  • give access to and encourage regular use of LFD test kits, and also consider producing guidance with clear policies on management of self-isolation tailored to the specific accommodation setting
  • operate in a protective way, while taking account that a concentration of younger students may not be protected by the vaccination for some or all of the first term of the academic year. While there is no restriction on physical distancing, ensuring areas are well ventilated in line the guidance outline in paragraph 50 as well as regular cleaning of shared spaces of particular dense contact should be a priority.
  • consider any specific work that is required to establish and sustain safe protective behaviours. This will include consideration of environmental modifications while supporting adherence to processes such as regular testing and self-isolation.

We expect that institutions will:

  • consider what advice can be offered to students to inform their social mixing in residences and other settings
  • support the provision of accommodation, where the student is due to reside in university accommodation, for international students arriving from amber list countries to self-isolate for the required period on arrival. Access to medical attention and food should be facilitated, and regular attention to wider wellbeing ensured.

PBSA accommodation providers should also be encouraged by universities and colleges to offer similar forms and levels of support.


First published: 15 Jul 2021 Last updated: 22 Jul 2021 -