On Monday 9 August Scotland takes another step towards normality as we move to ‘beyond level zero’. This means almost all legal restrictions relating to Covid-19 will no longer apply, as outlined in the First Minister’s announcement earlier this week.
Our approach on campus is being guided by the Scottish Government and we will be in a transition phase during the early weeks of the first half session. We will give you more details in the coming weeks, but in the meantime will now update you on the new Government guidance including the expanded rollout of the vaccine in the UK.
Scottish Government guidance
Some of the changes coming into effect on Monday include:
- All physical distancing regulations to be lifted
- No limits to size of social gatherings
- No venues legally required to close e.g. nightclubs
However, the First Minister stressed that this does not signal the end of the pandemic and certain measures remain including:
- Face coverings must still be worn in the same indoor settings as now e.g. hospitality, public transport
- Test and Protect tracing in hospitality continues
- Local restrictions could be reintroduced as and when necessary
- For a limited period, organisers of large-scale events will have to apply to local authorities for permission
- From 9 August, double-vaccinated close contacts will not have to self-isolate if they return a negative PCR test
Vaccine and testing
The First Minister also spoke of the success of the vaccination programme. While recognising it is a personal choice, we encourage all our community to get the vaccine unless there are medical reasons that prevent you from doing so – find out more here.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has also announced that all 16 and 17-year-olds across the UK will be offered the covid vaccine. Those in that age bracket in mainland Scotland can register their interest from today 6 August and it is expected that everyone that age will have been offered a vaccination appointment by the end of September, according to the Scottish Government.
Students arriving from overseas will also have access to vaccinations and we expect to support NHS Grampian with the operation of a vaccination centre on campus around the start of the first half session.
It was also announced that students will be encouraged to take a PCR test before any move to term-time accommodation and then to test twice weekly after that. Students with no symptoms of the virus can attend our test centre at the Butchart Centre on University Road. They will also be able to collect kits for self-testing at home.
Timetabling for the first half session continues to be planned on the basis that large lectures will not be held in person and other teaching is being timetabled on the basis of one metre distancing. However, changes to guidance may provide further flexibility in classes and again we will keep you updated on developments.
Halls of Residence
Adjustments are being made to our Halls of Residence to accommodate the latest changes to the guidance and we look forward to welcoming our residents.
The University will meet the cost of managed quarantine for our new and returning international students joining our Scottish campuses from a UK travel red list country.
Ventilation & cleaning
Ventilation will be maximised across our campuses, either through mechanical or through the opening of windows where possible, with CO2 monitors being deployed to monitor the effectiveness of ventilation. Enhanced cleaning will continue across campus.
A huge amount of work is ongoing across the University with the safety of our students and staff guiding all our effort. We look forward to welcoming you in September.
Karl and Tracey