Campus Planning Group Update

Campus Planning Group Update

Staff update - July 16 2020

Dear colleagues,

Our Campus Planning Group is continuing to meet regularly and there’s much to update you on. I would like to start by thanking everyone who contributed to our recent consultation on room capacity. This is now being used by the Estates & Facilities team to develop plans for the return to campus in September.

Guidance on Restarting Teaching Activities

This week we have finalised new guidance on Managing the Risk of Covid-19 Transmission when Restarting Teaching Activities. This details activities that must be undertaken by schools before teaching resumes, such as reviewing existing risk assessments and conducting new ones where necessary.

Face coverings

From Monday 20 July, the University will be providing all staff with two re-useable face coverings. Staff who have been given permission to return to campus can pick these up from the Linklater Rooms or Polwarth Reception from Monday to Friday between 11am – 1pm. You will need to bring your staff ID card to collect these.

Re-induction pack for staff returning to campus

You may have seen in the staff newsletter, that the University’s re-induction e-learning pack is now available. This pack includes information for staff about changes on campus to ensure safe working.

The return to campus continues to be a gradual and managed process, and this pack should only be completed when your Head of School or Director of Professional Services has agreed that you will return to campus. If you have suggestions about information that should be included in future updates to this pack, please contact HR.

In keeping with national guidelines, the current priority is for colleagues involved in supporting the opening of buildings and facilities and colleagues working in the research laboratories to return to campus. We are actively considering a process to allow academic staff to attend campus to support recording of teaching material, further details on this will be shared at a later date. At this time, the underlying message remains that colleagues will continue to work from home, where appropriate until such times as agreed otherwise.

In preparation for our return to campus, we also launched our Campus Commitments last week, outlining the measures we’re putting in place to support our community during the transition back to life on campus.

Sector updates

Last week we heard from Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon that from Wednesday 22 July universities can begin a phased return to on-campus learning as part of a blended model with remote teaching. Following this announcement we shared a video from the First Minister on our social media channels which sought to reassure students from across the globe that Scotland is a safe place to study. As an institution, we echo the First Minister’s message that the safety of our students and staff will be our prime focus as we move towards the new term and beyond.

Physical distancing remains an important safety measure and this is being considered in our planning. The advice is currently unchanged and two metres physical distancing remains the recommendation. As we enter Phase 3 of the route map, exemptions will be considered for specific sectors and settings where agreed additional mitigations must be put in place and we will continue to keep you informed of any changes to this guidance.

Supporting economic recovery

The University welcomed the Scottish Government’s strong support for Higher Education and the recognition of the important contribution the sector will make in economic recovery. The Further and Higher Education Sustainability Plan details key actions taken so far, and those to be implemented, to help address the immediate issues that colleges and universities in Scotland are facing.

Listening to and working with external stakeholders regionally and globally is a commitment we made in Aberdeen 2040. The University is now considering how we can effectively work with businesses, industry and the wider community to support economic recovery in the north-east of Scotland. If you would like to contribute to our planning, please email aberdeen2040@abdn.ac.uk

As ever, thank you for your continued support and hard work during these challenging times.

Best wishes

Debbie Dyker
Acting Director of Operations