Winter break and planning your safe return to University

A message to students on Thursday 17 December 2020

Dear Student / Postgraduate Researcher,

It has been the most challenging of years for you - and for students across the world - and we expect you are more than ready for the winter break.

As we approach the end of term, we thought it would be helpful to update you on the latest position regarding Covid-19 protection measures and remind you of the availability of non-symptomatic testing for students returning to Aberdeen in January and February.

For those remaining in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire over the break, you may already be aware that Scotland’s First Minister on Tuesday (15 December) announced that from this Friday (18 December) both areas move up from Level 2 to Level 3 of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 protection measures.

Key Covid-19 protection measures in level 3 include:

  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open indoors and outdoors for the consumption of food and non-alcoholic drinks.  Last entry is 5pm and all venues must be closed and all customers off the premises by 6pm
  • No in-home socialising is permitted, while meetings in public and outdoor settings are restricted to groups of six from no more than two households
  • You must not travel into or out of Level 3 local authority areas except for essential reasons - students travelling home for the end of term is an essential reason.

The full list of level 3 restrictions is available here. The next scheduled review of local authority areas and their levels of restrictions will take place on Tuesday (22 December).

Currently, this will not impact plans for a relaxation in restrictions for five days over the Christmas period. These can be viewed here but remember to keep an eye on Scottish Government guidance.

Whether you are travelling or staying locally, please take a little time in due course to plan for your safe return to the University.

Just a reminder that Government guidance says students should restrict social interaction for two weeks prior to, and following, their return to campus. You should also continue to follow the FACTS guidance and please do keep an eye on Government while you make your return to University plans.

Our Aberdeen Testing Centre for students with no symptoms of Covid-19 will re-open on January 7 and will provisionally remain open until February 7 in line with our staggered return. Please note PGRs are reminded that campus will reopen on 6 January with non lab-based students continuing to work from home unless advised otherwise by their School.

By the end of this week more than 4,000 students will have been tested ahead of the winter break.

While testing is voluntary, we hope all students returning to the city, will arrange to have two tests, taken three days apart, as soon as they come back to Aberdeen.

Students should aim to arrive in time to take their first test before engaging in any on campus activity. Test results are normally confirmed within 90 minutes of taking a test. If the result is negative, you can continue activity as normal but should return for the second test three to five days later.

Please note that anyone required to quarantine after travelling internationally will need to do so for the full 10 days and should not attempt to take any Covid tests unless directed to by the NHS.

Book your test after the winter break here. More information on our centre in University Road can be found here. You can also find more information and FAQs on the Second Half Session 2021 here.

Finally, the new University of Aberdeen Student Helpline has been launched. The Helpline offers free in the moment counselling or consumer advice for students when the University support services are closed.

  • from 5pm to 9am Monday to Friday
  • 24 hours a day during weekends and during holidays

We wish you all a safe and restful break and look forward to seeing you back in what, hopefully, will be a much brighter and better new year.

Best wishes and Season’s Greetings

Ruth and Debbie


Professor Ruth Taylor Vice-Principal (Education)

Debbie Dyker, Acting Director of Operations