Student update on end of term arrangements, the Winter break and safe travel

Update for Students November 19, 2020

Dear Students, 

On Tuesday the First Minister announced that both Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire are to remain in Level 2 under current Covid restrictions.   

This is welcome news, and I would like to thank you all for the part you have played in helping to curtail the spread of Covid in the city.  

The First Minister did express concern about ‘sharp increases, albeit from a relatively low level, in both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’, and issued a warning that ‘having fewer restrictions mean that the virus has more opportunities to spread - so it is more vital to abide by all the rules and precautions.’ 

To protect our community we must all play our part by continuing to follow the FACTS guidance: face coverings, avoiding crowded places, cleaning our hands regularly, keeping a two-metre distance, and self-isolating and booking a test if symptoms develop.  

Current travel guidance 

From Friday, the previous travel advice also becomes law. This means that:  

  • You should continue to follow local guidance and the law in relation to social gatherings and travel 

  • You should remain in your term-time accommodation if you are able to, in line with our guidance on visits home. 

  • You must not travel to level three or level four areas, except for essential purposes (travel for work, healthcare, caring responsibilities and for funerals and other ‘life events’ are among the exemptions

  • There must be no non-essential travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK. 

End of term arrangements 

We will continue with blended learning until the end of the day on 9 December, at which point in-person teaching will cease in order to ensure that everyone planning to travel prior to the Winter break will be able to do so. Teaching will continue online until term ends on 18 December and assessment will take place as planned. Those students on placement will continue these and will be given specific guidance from their Schools. 

Winter break and safe travel 

Additional guidance regarding travel for the Winter break will follow.  

This week the Minister for Higher Education, Richard Lochhead, has written to all students setting out the Scottish Government’s intentions to keep ‘learning open and safe as far as possible, while balancing the risks of COVID-19 to our health and our society’.  

He also emphasises a commitment to ‘supporting students who choose to return home at the end of term to do so safely’.  

The University is currently working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure safe departures for those of you who are planning to travel, including supporting lateral flow testing as described in Minister Lochhead’s letter, to help reduce the risk to your family and community.  The timing of the testing will provide students with sufficient time to travel within the UK safely even if they need to isolate following a positive test. It is important to note that a negative test result will not necessarily permit International travel – students who wish to travel outwith the UK should follow guidance from their destination country.  

We will update you further on this as soon as we can.  

Anxiety Workshops 

As part of supporting wellbeing, the Counselling Service is hosting bookable anxiety workshops for undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students who would like a safe and confidential space to explore anxiety issues. 

Open Session with Principal George Boyne & Cecilia Wallbäck 

Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, and Cecilia Wallbäck, Student President (AUSA), will host an Open Session on Tuesday 1 December from 11am – 12.30pm. If you’d like to submit a question, you can do so here. Questions should be submitted by 5pm on 24 November. 

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all once again for the way in which you have adapted during our first half session. I realise that these have been exceptional times for you and that you have all made personal sacrifices.  

Your collective effort has placed us in a stronger position as we move into the transition to the Winter break and we will update you further on our preparations for this as soon as possible. 

Best wishes  


Professor Ruth Taylor

Vice-Principal Education