Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): universities, colleges and student accommodation providers

Published: 21 Dec 2020
Last updated: 16 Apr 2021 - see all updates

Guidance for higher and further education institutions and student accommodation providers to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): universities, colleges and student accommodation providers
Key principles

Key principles

It is vital that measures are put in place by providers to manage transmission risk to address aerosol, droplet and surface transmission.

In applying Scottish Government guidance on when restrictions can be changed, colleges, universities and student accommodation providers will consider a range of evidence on the progress of the pandemic in Scotland using the principles set out in Coronavirus (COVID-19) framework for decision making and Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland's Strategic Framework as well as institutions’ commitment to fair work which was set in the context of the current crisis in a joint statement by the Scottish Government and the STUC.

Colleges and universities have worked with their respective trades unions to agree a set of principles. In addition, universities in Scotland are committed to a set of principles which have been developed UK-wide and will be applied for the phases following emergence from lockdown. Read the principles agreed by colleges, universities and student accommodation providers.

These principles complement, but do not supersede, the established mechanisms in place in colleges, universities and accommodation providers through health and safety committees to consult campus trade unions on matters relating to health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace.

Additionally, in planning for the use of facilities, colleges and universities will consider and plan around:

  • the most up to date guidance on working from home and other public health measures
  • the number of learners and staff likely to be included in a space and how they can be accommodated as safely as possible
  • the circumstances of staff and students, including those with caring responsibilities, who are clinically vulnerable or who are self-isolating or under quarantine
  • that staff and student availability may also be affected by public transport availability and restrictions
  • mitigating measures that may be appropriate, with consideration that the most effective mitigations are 2m physical distancing and good hand hygiene
  • regulations and Scottish Government guidance on the use of face coverings
  • availability and public health advice on PPE and other equipment appropriate to the activity or location
  • the organisation of working patterns, breaks and variations to support physical distancing in accordance with government guidance
  • protocols to manage the use of shared equipment, including vehicles, hot desks and other facilities to ensure safe usage
  • providing clear information to staff and students on the part they can play in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the campus and wider community
  • supporting accessible services required in increasing the number of individuals on-site and how they can be provided as safely as possible
  • what measures, in addition to those that were in place during the lockdown phase and earlier phases will need to be in place to accommodate additional numbers (including additional cleaning measures and queue management systems where appropriate)

First published: 21 Dec 2020 Last updated: 16 Apr 2021 -