Online teaching, assessment extensions, accommodation, hardship, libraries

Student update issued 25 February

First Minister Update

The First Minister’s update on Tuesday confirmed 26 April as the key date when Scotland will - depending on virus transmission - move back to the levels system that existed before the current lockdown came into force on 5 January.

Until then there will be a gradual lifting of some of the current restrictions every three weeks for the whole of Scotland - again depending on transmission levels and progress in vaccinating key groups.

Undergraduate teaching

We know that this has been a challenging year and you have done so well to continue with your studies in this current situation.  With your health, safety and wellbeing at the forefront of all that we do, we continue to follow Scottish Government guidance as we take decisions about your teaching, learning and assessment.  Given that it is now clear that there can be no certainty that teaching on-campus can resume for some time to come, we have taken the difficult decision to confirm that teaching and assessment for Undergraduate students will remain online for the rest of the second half-session.  There are a small number of exceptions in place and thosestudents have already been informed by their Schools 

We appreciate that this will be disappointing news.  We are disappointed too. 

The campus does, however, remain open for those with on-campus teaching or who have, in line with Scottish Government travel guidance restrictions, remained in or returned to Aberdeen.

Taught Postgraduate teaching

Taught Postgraduate programmes are 12-month programmes, whether commencing in September or January, that extend across the summer months.  We anticipate that as restrictions are relaxed, there will be an opportunity to increase on-campus teaching.  The pace of this change will, of course, depend on national guidance. We will keep you informed.

For now, you should not return to campus unless your School has contacted you to say you should, or if your circumstances permit you to do so under current national arrangements (please note guidance on travel in section below on accommodation).  We know that it is essential for some students to be in Aberdeen to meet the early April deadline for the Graduate Visa.

Assessment Extensions

There have been a number of queries from students about extensions for the submission of assessment. School processes have previously been communicated to you.  If you would like to request an extension, please contact your School directly. Further general information is provided here.

Accommodation / travelling to Aberdeen for belongings

The decision to confirm online teaching for Undergraduates for the remainder of this half- session is likely to impact on whether you wish to maintain your term-time accommodation if not already in residence.

For students renting University accommodation, we will now stop rent payments for those not in residence and process the rent rebates for the period since 25 January as quickly as practicable.  You may retain the lease, if you want to consider returning once restrictions are relaxed.  If you want to terminate your lease you can do so and store your belongings with us until travel restrictions are lifted and you are able to collect them.  If you wish to terminate your lease please contact studentaccomm@abdn.ac.uk

Some of you will already be in your term-time households and of course you are welcome to remain for the duration of your lease agreement.

Students in private accommodation are also able to cancel their leases with notice and in discussion with their landlords.  Remember if you have rented as a group, you will all need to make the same decision.  

The University has been in touch with all the major student accommodation halls providers, who have confirmed they are supportive of our efforts to help students who wish to terminate their leases, and those providers are themselves already providing support.  The University, along with student accommodation halls providers, have an existing relationship with Flexistore which operate a packing, storage and delivery service, at a discounted rate. Students can contact Flexistore directly to make the necessary arrangements.

Please do not travel to Aberdeen while it is against Government guidelines to do so.  More advice is available here.

Hardship support

If you have been impacted financially by Covid-19, specifically with additional costs relating to accommodation or the storage of your belongings, and find yourself in financial hardship, you are eligible to apply for hardship funds from the University.  New funding has been made available which can be accessed by all students, regardless of where you come from or what you are studying. More details are available here.

Library - Polwarth reopening and SDRL peak times

We want those students who are on campus to be able to study safely.   

To support this the Medical Library in the Polwarth Building at Foresterhill has reopened  with opening hours of 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday. New access controls are in place and you will need your card in order to gain access.

We hope this will help ease pressure on the Sir Duncan Rice Library, which is operating on a reduced capacity. SDRL is at its busiest between 12 noon and 3pm – please try to avoid peak times and consider whether your visit is essential. Further details on our library services are available here.

Community testing

If you have returned to Aberdeen either for on-campus teaching or due to personal circumstances, we would urge you to make use of our community testing facility upon your return. Tests must be booked in advance via this link.

 

Please continue to look after yourself and remember our Wellbeing Toolkit is a source of support. Remember if you have any questions you can visit our FAQs and if your query can’t be answered there, contact coronavirus@abdn.ac.uk instead.

We remain hopeful that travel and other restrictions will be relaxed as we head towards a more normal summer.

Best wishes

Ruth and Debbie


Professor Ruth Taylor
Vice-Principal (Education)

Debbie Dyker
Director of People