Covid-19 Update from Campus Planning Group: Aberdeen City restrictions, library services, etc.,

Staff Update - 20 August 2020

Dear colleagues, 

The additional restrictions that have been in place for Aberdeen City over the past two weeks have been extended by the Scottish Government for a further week. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday announced that the restrictions for hospitality, travel and visits to other households will continue. However, restrictions may start to be eased for low risk premises like cafes from next Wednesday, although another update is expected on Sunday. 

University response 

When Aberdeen’s extra restrictions were initially announced we responded by taking a series of steps in relation to our activities and services, and we are pleased to have played our part in helping to protect our community.  

We also indicated that we would keep those measures under review, as we recognise that some activities need to take place in timely fashion, for example to ensure that we are ready for the start of term. 

In anticipation of the continuing restrictions in Aberdeen, the Campus Planning Group on Tuesday agreed to the resumption of a small number of time sensitive activities. In addition, it was agreed that the restricted services that were temporarily suspended at the Sir Duncan Rice Library - Click and Collect and Scan and Send - can re-open from today (20 August).  Library FAQs can be seen here

Further requests for resumption of time sensitive activities will be considered by Campus Planning Group at its meeting next Tuesday (25 August) and should be notified via Heads of School and Directors to Sarah Fyfe - s.fyfe@abdn.ac.uk. 

Campus access sessions 

Following the First Minister’s announcement, the planned campus access sessions scheduled for staff to enter buildings and offices at Old Aberdeen and Foresterhill on 25-28 August next week have been postponed.  Details of re-scheduled access sessions will be announced once local restrictions have been lifted. 

Home working 

In response to our message last week about the likely extended duration of homeworking for those who are able to work from home, we have received some queries from some members of staff asking why they will not be permitted to return for example to single occupancy offices.  

We wish to reiterate that national guidance is still to work from home if you can, with a return to the workplace only where working from home is not possible. In addition, we continue to receive specific guidance from Scottish Ministers to minimise the number of people on campus. 

Over and above this general policy position of the Scottish Government, it is important to be aware that the capacity of our buildings to operate with physical distancing is severely reduced. Moreover, not all buildings have yet been checked and prepared for the return of staff, so your building may not yet be safe to return to. The Campus Planning Group will continue to adhere to the agreed Principles and Priorities which state that the following will be prioritised:  

  • those involved in lab-based research related to Covid-19 

  • those involved in other lab-based research in prioritised order determined by the Campus Planning Group in consultation with Schools 

  • others whose work can only be carried out effectively and efficiently on campus (eg due to the need to access specialist facilities / equipment / systems on site) 

  • those whose personal circumstances at home mean that they cannot work effectively there 

Once the current restrictions are lifted, there will be the opportunity for line managers to seek approval on behalf of their staff to work on campus in line with these last two principles, alongside those who need to access campus to prepare for blended learning.  

We recognise that there are individual circumstances that will need to be considered on a case by case basis. Please therefore ensure that your line manager is aware of any case you would like to put forward to be able to work on campus once the current local restrictions are lifted, be it for a limited or extended period.  

Mental health and wellbeing 

Finally, just a reminder that you can find some resources here that might be helpful for mental health and wellbeing. 

 

With best wishes 

Karl and Debbie 

 

Professor Karl Leydecker 

Senior Vice-Principal 

Debbie Dyker 

Acting Director of Operations