Teaching for Second Half Session

Message to Undergraduate and Postgraduate Taught students issued November 4

Dear student,

I hope the first half-session of your academic year is going well and you are enjoying your studies with us. I am pleased to now be able to share with you our plans for teaching and timetabling for the second half-session beginning in January. Details of the arrangements can be found in the relevant section below.

We are encouraged by how on campus teaching has gone so far. This includes low case numbers within our community, reflecting our cautious, sensible approach based on national guidelines, not to mention the efforts of students and staff in keeping our community safe. 

But we must remember that coronavirus hasn’t gone away, and we still need to take steps to keep each other safe, including following the legal requirement to wear a face covering when entering and moving around inside any building on campus, and in teaching environments, even while seated in class, unless exempt. 

These requirements also apply to our library facilities, where users must wear a face covering or a lanyard showing they aren’t required to do so, at all times, even while seated. Further information on moving around campus and physical distancing is available in our own campus guidance.

More broadly, to ensure the safety of yourself and others please follow further national guidance to support the continued fight against Covid-19. In addition to the use of face coverings, this includes:

  • getting the vaccine when you are offered it
  • washing your hands regularly and covering your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing
  • taking regular lateral flow tests if you don’t have symptoms to reduce the risk of spread
  • self-isolating and taking a PCR test if you have symptoms

If you are required to self-isolate as a result of Covid symptoms and/or a positive Covid test, or perhaps because you have been contacted by Test and Protect and are awaiting the results of a test, you should report your absence via our Covid Absence Reporting form. Your absence will be managed through our usual processes. Healthcare students should also let their School know in case of any patient re-arrangements. For clarity, you will not be reported as ‘at risk’ (C6) through the student monitoring system  if absent as a result of self-isolation for Covid reasons, provided the University is aware of your circumstances.

More information regarding the national guidance in place to keep us all safe is available via the Scottish Government website.

If you have been here with us in Aberdeen, thank you for all that you have done to keep our community safe.

Second half-session arrangements

As you know we asked students to come to campus for the start of the new academic year unless circumstances, such as travel restrictions, prevented that happening. We now expect all students, who have not yet returned to campus, to do so for the next half-session starting in January when we expect more students to be able to access more of their teaching on campus.

To help with your planning this is how the second half-session will look:

  • Large group teaching sessions, such as lectures, will remain online together with any other online activities already planned by Schools as part of any course delivery.
  • You will have some on campus teaching sessions as you have in the first half-session.
  • Alongside your on campus teaching sessions, some teaching will remain online due to room sizes or other restrictions such as ventilation requirements which are in place to help keep our community safe.
  • There will still be some students who may be unable to get to Aberdeen for exceptional reasons, for example, travel or health issues. We will support you where we can help you return to campus, for example by continuing to cover the cost for those requiring quarantine. We expect these numbers to be significantly smaller than they were in September not least due the easing of international travel restrictions.
  • An approval process is being put in place to manage exceptional requests to continue online study in the second half-session.  Details are provided via our second half-session teaching webpage which is available below.  Where you are exceptionally permitted to study online, Schools will provide online teaching so that you have access to your learning despite not being on campus.
  • There may be exceptional occasions when it is not possible for a member of staff to teach on campus, perhaps due to health reasons. In those circumstances, your School will inform you and ensure you can access your learning and also have the opportunity to have an on campus experience.

We see the second half-session as the next stepping stone in our continuing move towards more normality. While life does feel more ‘normal’ with many areas of society such as hospitality and entertainment venues now being re-opened, the guidance for universities is slightly different, so we ask that you continue to follow our own campus guidance which is regularly updated.

Returning to campus will enable you to engage in in-person learning, give you access to wider university and non-curriculum experiences such as joining clubs and societies, and will allow you to make use of our facilities on our campuses. 

Should you feel there are exceptional reasons why you don’t feel able to return to campus for the second half-session, please see our second half-session teaching page. This describes the ways we can support you in your campus return and provides a link to a form which should be used should you still exceptionally feel that you need to apply to study remotely.

Work is now underway on preparing the timetable for the rest of the year in advance of MyTimetable opening to students from early January 2022 to allow you to select your classes for the second half-session.  If you have any other queries please contact coronavirus@abdn.ac.uk 

Enjoy the rest of the first half-session and I hope this information about our second half-session plans is helpful.


Best wishes




Professor Ruth Taylor

Vice-Principal (Education)