New lockdown and your studies - Student Update

New lockdown and your studies - Student Update

Update to students regarding the start of the second half-session in January 2021.

Dear student,

Happy New Year and hope you managed to enjoy some rest over the winter break, although another lockdown is unlikely to be the start to 2021 we had all hoped for.

This is likely be an anxious time for many of you, with new Covid-19 restrictions announced yesterday (4 January) for mainland Scotland by the First Minister. These measures are designed to help limit the spread of the new variant of the virus and will be supported by the national vaccination programme that is currently being rolled out across the UK. Here is a brief recap of some of the Scottish Government measures which came into force at midnight:

  • Requirement to stay at home and only leave for an essential purpose, such as exercise, shopping or caring responsibilities. Education remains an essential purpose.
  • People are only allowed to meet outdoors with one person from one other household.
  • See the guidance here.

What these measures mean for you:


  • Term starts as planned on 25 January for most students with the exception of a small number of programmes that have different start dates, such as Medicine, Physician Associates, Dentistry, Education, MChem and postgraduate research
  • Teaching will initially be online only for most undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. This initial move to fully online is different from the information we provided before the winter break and is due to recent national changes.
  • Our staggered start for rolling out on-campus teaching is now delayed and we will confirm the new date for the start of on-campus teaching once we have received updated guidance from the Scottish Government. Please wait for further communication about the timing of return to on-campus teaching.  
  • Students with required placements will hear from their Schools directly if there are any changes that impact them.

Library and study spaces

  • Sir Duncan Rice Library (SDRL) will open on 11 January, focused on supporting click and collect with no initial access to the physical bookshelves
  • Study space remains available within SDRL
  • Arrangements for the opening of libraries in the Polwarth Building and Taylor Building are under review and will be confirmed in due course

University halls of residence

  • As per Scottish Government guidance, students who change household over the winter break should, wherever possible, not return to their term-time accommodation until on-campus teaching resumes
  • Students asked to delay their return to University managed halls of residence beyond the start of term on 25 January will be entitled to a rent rebate for the period between 25 January and their return. We will be in touch with students in our halls with more details shortly
  • Students currently staying in University halls will of course continue to be supported and international students with pre-arranged travel may still arrive. Students unable to study at home can return to campus but will still study online.

Testing Centre

  • Our centre for testing students with no symptoms of Covid-19 reopens again on 7 January
  • All students returning to the city are encouraged to book two tests – three days apart – as soon as they return
  • For students scheduled to work in the testing centre, travel to work in the testing centre is recognised as an essential reason for travel
  • Tests should be taken before engaging in any on-campus activity
  • If you are travelling from overseas, testing and the centre does not remove your need to self-isolate on entry to the UK and you should not book a test during your isolation period
  • Book your test here

Social mixing

  • Current Government guidance asks students to restrict social interaction for two weeks prior to, and following, their return to term-time accommodation, recognising the impact that changing households has on the possible spread of the virus
  • During lock-down the requirement to socialise only within your household applies to everyone
  • Details of catering on campus will be provided in a future update


  • The Scottish Government guidance on travel can be found here together with the list of exemptions to travelling at this time


  • Students 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


  • MyTimetable opens on Monday 11 January to enable students to select classes

Winter Wellbeing Toolkit

  • You can find all kinds of support, helpline details and wellbeing advice here

Following the latest Government guidance, we will be updating our information on these pages from tomorrow onwards – so please do check back here. Queries not answered there can be sent to

Please continue to look after yourself and those around you and we very much look forward to you joining us at the start of term initially online and then on campus when it is safe to do so.

Best wishes

Ruth and Debbie


Ruth Taylor
Vice-Principal (Education)

Debbie Dyker
Director of People