Category: Need to know

Need to know – 20 October

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Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Update from the Principal

The Principal wrote to all staff members yesterday to provide an update on the University’s response to the pandemic, the financial situation and hybrid teaching. You can read the full text here.

2. Covid-19 cases at the University

The University continues to work closely with the NHS and in the spirit of transparency continues to report live cases on our website, and all the information you need to know about reporting cases can be found here.

3. The Good Citizen Guide

University staff members have had to deal with a small number of cases of inappropriate behaviour from some students, and where appropriate these have been dealt with through our disciplinary processes. The University’s Good Citizen Guide sets out the steps that everyone must follow to protect the health and safety of the entire University community: you can share the Guide with your students.

Need to know – 6 October

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Covid-19 cases on campus

The University is reporting regularly on the live number of positive Covid-19 cases among our entire staff and student community. The University is continuing to work with NHS Lothian’s Health Protection team to ensure that these students and staff, and those around them, are provided with the support they need. You can find all the latest Covid-19 updates here.

2. Covid-19 reporting and recording

This SharePoint site displays the processes and guidance on what staff, line managers and students should do if they are self-isolating, displaying symptoms or have tested positive for Covid-19. Please note this guidance may be updated, so wherever possible link to the SharePoint site, rather than taking a snapshot download. A new Covid-19 telephone hotline is now in place for students and their families to speak directly to a member of staff.

3. Ongoing student support

Last week Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, wrote to our students in University accommodation, acknowledging the challenges those in self-isolation are facing, and the additional measures we are putting in place to support them including mental health and wellbeing. You can read the letter here.

Need to know – 22 September

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation & Renewal teams working across the University.

1. New Covid-19 reporting form for staff

If you (or someone you line manage) need to self-isolate, please inform the University here.

You will also need to contact your manager and let them know.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have informed the University that you are self-isolating and then subsequently test positive for Covid-19, you will need to resubmit this form and let us know about the positive test.

Further guidance on self-isolation, Test and Protect and the Protect Scotland app can be found in our University health, safety and travel information pages.

2. Voluntary Severance Scheme closing

The Voluntary Severance Scheme is due to close at 5pm on Wednesday 23 September, 2020. Anyone wishing to find out more about this scheme before it closes can find all the information on the dedicated VS SharePoint site.

3. Support for early career researchers

The range of support available to early career researchers (ECRs) and their line managers has been published. The resource was developed in recognition that the careers of ECRs have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On a related note, the University has announced that it is looking to appoint new 30 Chancellor’s Fellows. These prestigious five-year tenure track fellowships will be drawn from the existing pool of talent within the University and are designed to support ECRs and innovators to develop their careers in a supportive, world-leading environment. You can find more information of how to apply here.

4. Video for staff returning to campus

As Scottish Government guidelines continue to shift, it’s natural that you and colleagues will have questions about what things will be like when you return to campus. This short film provides a snapshot of the measures that you will see in place when you return – whether that be in the coming weeks or further down the line.

Messages explaining the University’s expectations around student behaviour will continue to be communicated to new and returning students throughout Semester 1 and beyond.

Need to know – 8 September

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Guidance on the extended teaching day

New guidance FAQs are available on the extended teaching day. Teaching will now be scheduled between 9am and 8pm, Monday to Friday including Wednesday afternoons. These steps have been agreed in order to provide for more face-to-face, on-campus teaching.

2. Advice and information for students

Student communications teams across the University have been corresponding with new and returning students, undergraduate and postgraduate, from overseas and the UK, to help prepare them for Semester 1. Information around Scottish Government guidelines, safe travel and arrival, what changes to expect on campus and in accommodation, and what is expected of them as good citizens, has all been communicated. You can view the Good Citizen Guide for students here and the Digital Citizen Guide here. Teams have also shared the ‘How to’ sessions, and the course options hub, to help prepare for hybrid learning and first meetings with PTs. In addition, students joining us online only, have been asked to update their location details to assist teaching staff managing hybrid classes.

3. Town Hall answers available

There were a high number of questions submitted prior to, and during, the first virtual all-staff Town Hall on 18 August. Although Peter and other members of the Senior Leadership Team addressed many of these questions during the session, not all topics were covered. The questions submitted have been split into themes and you can find the answers here.

4. New social spaces for students

A two-floor Scandinavian-style lodge in Bristo Square is one of several new spaces being created for students to safely interact between their studies. The spacious venues have been carefully designed to provide students with extra hospitality space, as capacity in buildings has been greatly reduced. The lodge is one of a number of covered structures known as Student Villages which will be assembled across the Edinburgh campuses this month.

Need to know – 26 August

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Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Information on face coverings

In line with Scottish Government guidance, it is now mandatory that face coverings are worn in all of our libraries and study spaces. If and when this guidance becomes stronger, we will adjust accordingly but we are already expecting everyone to wear face coverings in all University buildings unless individuals have good reasons for not wearing one.

2. Regular cleaning for teaching spaces

When the majority of our students return to campus in September and teaching begins, cleaning regimes and facilities will be increased across campus. Teaching spaces will be cleaned twice a day. Bookable study spaces will also be cleaned daily, with provisions available for students and staff to clean areas before and after they use them.

3. New queue management for September

To help us preserve physical distancing, students will be asked to queue outside a number of our most-used buildings before classes. To help us manage this, and to ensure that students can enter as quickly as possible, we are asking staff to ensure that all teaching finishes promptly at the designated time, and students are encouraged to leave the building swiftly.

4. Update on the King’s Buildings Shuttle Bus 

In light of recent Scottish Government guidance around walking, cycling and driving wherever possible and minimising use of public transport, and following consultation with Lothian Buses and other external travel providers, it will no longer be feasible or practical to run the King’s Buildings Shuttle Bus in this academic year. The University will instead be reinvesting the funds from the Shuttle Bus to provide an extended range of alternative and financially affordable travel options. You can find out more information on our Transport webpages.

Need to know – 12 August

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Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Guidance to support Semester 1 planning

Detailed information and guidance has been added to the Adaptation and Renewal SharePoint page to help staff to plan for Semester 1. This includes key information around buildings and estates, health and safety, learning and teaching activities and student support services. This page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

2. Update on Welcome Week 2020 

Welcome Week will be held on Monday 14 – Friday 18 September. This year there will be a longer ‘welcome period’ to ensure we provide a warm welcome at the point that new or returning students start their studies, whether on-campus or not, to provide additional support to receive the information and experiences when they can access them. Central Welcome Week induction activities are being adapted and will be delivered virtually and will be available throughout the entire welcome period. More information can be found on the induction activities pages of the new students (pre-arrival and induction) sharepoint site.

3. Working with local partners 

The University continues to work with partners across Edinburgh, including the Local Authority; NHS Lothian; Police Scotland; other Higher Education Institutions and Edinburgh Airport to coordinate an effective local response that prioritises health and safety, supports our students and follows Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland guidance.

Need to know – 28 July

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Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1. Guidance for face-to-face research

Detailed guidance for restarting face to face research both in the UK and overseas is now available. This applies to all face to face research, whether in Edinburgh, elsewhere in the UK or in another country. Your proposed activities must be able to comply with the relevant norms on physical distancing. You should refer to the Decision Making Flowchart and Risk Assessment documents.

2. Wearing face coverings

The University will continue to implement Government and Health Protection Scotland guidance to manage and reduce the risk of Covid-19. Physical distancing, good standards of hand and respiratory hygiene, and enhanced cleaning regimes remain the most effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

We will also support our staff, students and visitors, in terms of good public hygiene, by strongly encouraging people to wear their own face coverings within University buildings.

3. Digital resources for research available

Lockdown has emphasised the increasing importance of data and digital technologies in conducting research. The University’s Digital Research Services is a single point of access to University-wide data and computing services available to all researchers. There are about 40 resources designed for academics with all levels of experience and for all stages of their research journey. The interactive web service is available at

4. Updates to travel advice

Travel advice for staff and students has now been updated including information around travelling on University Business, the Go Abroad scheme, going abroad on holiday and UK-based fieldtrips and placements.

Need to know – 14 July

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Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

  1. Buildings continue to reopen

    The Estates and Health and Safety teams continue to work on reopening buildings safely across our estate. They are producing weekly Reopening Reports which will be updated each Thursday. Please speak to your line manager before entering a building.

  2. Updated guidance available

    Detailed guidelines are now available for staff around home, remote and hybrid working. The document, along with the associated guidance, provides additional advice to provide safe working arrangements for each of these ways of working.

  3. Returning students communications

    Communications will shortly be sent out to reassure our returning students and explain the measures in place to support them over the next academic year. The Students work stream has been working incredibly hard so well done to everyone involved.

  4. Research Culture Survey

    For members of the research community, keep an eye out for the Research Culture Survey, which should be landing in your inbox imminently. Please fill it out to help us share and promote good practice, highlight where there is room for improvement, and understand better how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected you and your work.

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Need to know – 30 June

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here are the top updates from the Adaptation and Renewal teams working across the University.

1.New guiding principles and guidance for remote, home and hybrid working

Many of us have had to adapt to working at home, and some of us will continue to work from home for some time to come. New guiding principles on home, remote and hybrid working have been published, and further guidance is due to be published later this week.

2. Reopening our estate

The Estates and Health and Safety teams have been working hard with colleagues to ensure that the University is able to begin a phased reopening process. From this week, the first tranche of our buildings (24 buildings, including 17 research buildings) will reopen, listed here. Please note that Government guidelines mean that not everyone can gain access to a building even if open. So please do not return to your workplace on campus until advised by your line manager.

3. Working from home experience survey

Colleagues are encouraged to completely the working from home experience survey that was sent round last week. This important and anonymous survey will help inform what University-wide services may need to adapt or change to best support staff who are working from home. The survey is designed to be filled out quickly, and the deadline for responses is Friday 3 July. If you are working from home, please complete the survey here.

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