As we move out of the immediate crisis management phase and into the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are starting to plan for the return to on-campus working by staff and students.

Please note that no date has been set for us to return to campus. The decision on when we will be able to return will be informed by Government guidelines on the continuing lockdown and any easing of restrictions which may follow in the weeks to come.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is our key priority and our return to campus will be managed in such a way to ensure that we adhere to public health guidelines and protect our community.

Covid-19 Campus Planning Group

The Covid-19 Campus Planning Group has been set up to co-ordinate our plans to return to on-campus based work for staff and PhD students. The Group will also set up sub-groups to focus on specific areas of activity, including laboratory-based research.

An early priority for the Group will be to develop plans for the controlled access to campus for the collection of work materials when the Government begins to lift the current restrictions. The Group will also develop plans for a phased return to on-campus working that are sufficiently adaptable to be able to accommodate a range of scenarios, including ongoing social distancing for an extended period.

The Terms of Reference and membership of the Group are available on the tabs below. Minutes of meetings will also be posted on this site as they become available.

Terms of Reference

The Covid-19 Campus Planning Group has oversight of planning for the return to on-campus working. 

Specifically, the Campus Planning Group will:

  • Scan the external horizon to ensure that the University is as informed as possible about the factors that will affect its ability to resume on-campus working;
  • Develop plans for controlled access to campus for the collection of work materials by staff when the Government begins to lift the current restrictions;
  • Develop plans for a phased return to on-campus working that are sufficiently adaptable to be able to accommodate a range of scenarios, including ongoing physical distancing for an extended period;
  • Ensure that all plans have due regard to the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff, PhD students and the wider student community;
  • Ensure effective communication with the University community about the plans developed;
  • Establish the principles which will govern the return to activity on campus; and
  • Identify the sequence in which buildings, or parts of buildings, and campus locations will become accessible.
Principles and Priorities

The work of the Campus Planning Group will be guided by the following principles and priorities:

  1. The health, safety and wellbeing of staff, students, visitors, contractors, as well as the wider public is of paramount concern.
  2. The University will at all times comply with the guidance issued by the Scottish Government and UK wide bodies such as Universities UK and UKRI.
  3. All decisions relating to building access, internal building redesign, physical distancing measures, cleaning and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face masks (where this is not a normal requirement of the role) will be overseen by the Campus Planning Group.
  4. The Campus Planning Group will ensure that risk assessments are carried out for every activity relating to a group of staff or students returning to any part of the University estate for any reason (whether to work or to collect materials), before this is permitted to take place.
  5. There will be consultation with building occupants as well as campus trade unions in planning the return of activities to our campuses. Clear guidance will be issued on the use of spaces while ensuring physical distancing. This includes but is not limited to corridors, disabled access, entrances/exits, toilets, kitchens, and social spaces.
  6. Until further notice the presumption is that all staff and postgraduate researchers who are able to work from home will continue to do so, and no-one will be compelled to return to work on-site at the University during the pandemic unless they feel it is safe to do so. The Campus Planning Group will ensure that staff circumstances (e.g. those with underlying conditions, shielding etc.) are fully taken into account.
  7. Plans are being developed to facilitate the delivery to staff of additional IT equipment in the first instance, and thereafter other work materials, as soon as practicable. Staff will not be able to collect material from offices themselves until national guidelines change and a plan and risk assessment for access to buildings has been completed.
  8. The Campus Planning Group will initially prioritise the return to campus working of the following:


a) During current lock down restrictions as key workers

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

b) Following a change in lock down restrictions and Scottish Government advice

  • 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 (e.g. 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.
  1. Regular communications will be issued to the University community advising of the work of the Campus Planning Group, with opportunities to provide feedback to the Group.
  2. Additional principles and prioritisation will be developed regarding the return of students to the campuses and wider University estate.
  3. In returning to campus working, we will be guided by the 20 Commitments made in Aberdeen 2040, including embracing new practices to engender a more environmentally sustainable approach to the work of the University in future.
Documents for Consultation
  • Karl Leydecker, Senior Vice-Principal (Convener)
  • Debbie Dyker, Acting Director of Operations
  • Marion Campbell, Vice-Principal (Research)
  • Alan Speight, Vice-Principal (Student Recruitment)
  • Ruth Taylor, Vice-Principal (Education)
  • AUSA President or nominee
  • Graeme Nixon, Dean of the Graduate School
  • Dr Justin Rochford, The Rowett Institute
  • Dr Matteo Spagnolo, School of Geosciences
  • Russell Williams, Dean of Qatar Campus
  • Angus Donaldson, Director of Estates & Facilities
  • Brian Henderson, Director of Digital & Information Services
  • Jenny Fernandes, Acting Director of External Relations
  • Garry Fisher, Head of Health and Safety
  • Tracey White, Head of HR
  • Brian Paterson, Trade Union Representative
  • Sarah Duncan, Lead School Administration Manager
  • Ruth MacLure (Clerk)
  • Ian Garioch, Project Manager, Digital & Information Services
Meeting Agendas
Minutes of Meetings