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Need to know – 27 July

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Here are the top updates from across the University.

1. Scottish Government guidance for moving to beyond Level 0

The First Minister has confirmed the latest easing of Covid-19 restrictions, with Scotland moving to Level 0. This aligns with central planning assumptions for learning and teaching for the 21/22 academic year.

The Scottish Government has also published further guidance specifically for the sector. You can find out more information at the below links:
Scottish Government guidance for laboratories and research facilities
Scottish Government guidance for operations in academic year 2021 to 2022 – beyond Level 0
Scottish Government guidance for universities, colleges and student accommodation providers

2. Working abroad guidance available

Any staff currently working abroad, whose work does not require them to work abroad, have been asked to return to the UK for the start of Semester 1 2021/22.

HR has since published further guidance, which also explains what support is available to staff who need to self-isolate in managed quarantine accommodation. This is applicable whether staff are relocating to Edinburgh from overseas or are required by the University to work abroad: Working abroad guidance for managers and staff.

3. In-person graduation celebrations

Bookings opened last Monday for the outdoor graduation celebrations at Edinburgh Castle in August 2021. Eligible students who graduated in Summer/Winter 2020 and Summer 2021 have been emailed with further details: Summer 2021 graduations webpage.

To help staff with responses to any enquiries from students, a briefing is available: Staff briefing

The festivals return

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In August 2020 Edinburgh was quiet for the first time in years. The pandemic meant that the city was unable to host its famous festivals last summer. The Royal Mile was devoid of tourists, and the University Central Area stood empty of the famous purple cow.

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New collection locations for TestED programme

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The UK Medical Research Council-funded TestEd research programme provides free Covid-19 testing for students and staff across the University.

TestEd uses saliva for PCR-based testing and has now tested more than 25,000 samples from staff and students across the University, with 10 positive results of staff or students who did not have symptoms of Covid-19 but, because they were carrying the virus, they were at risk of transmitting the infection to their contacts. Early self isolation was able to minimise this risk.

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Explaining UniForum

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The University will be taking part in the UniForum data collection again this year.

The exercise will look to understand what our professional services delivery looks like at the University, benchmarking against other similar institutions across the UK, Canada and Australia. Colleagues from around the University will be asked to get involved in coding the types of activities which staff undertake as part of their role.

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Bulletin schedule update

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Please note that Bulletin will be taking a short break over the summer.

We will return in the new academic year, with the next issue being published on Tuesday 14 September.

As always please do send any thoughts, or stories, to the bulletin team as we love to hear from you. You can reach us at bulletin@ed.ac.uk.

Edinburgh First phased reopening of meeting spaces

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As Scotland is now in level 0, Edinburgh First, the University’s hospitality and events team, has begun the phased reopening of University venues across the estate.

In accordance with Scottish Government guidelines, one metre physical distancing is required for indoor business events, which means St Leonard’s Hall has now reopened for meetings hosting 7 to 21 people; this also includes the option to book full catering. Perfect for teams wanting to meet face to face.

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We are open: a message from the Principal

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The University is committed to offering students as much in-person teaching and support as possible next year. Ahead of a wider return to campus, Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, talks about the plans in place to keep our community safe.

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Q&A: Hybrid working at Edinburgh

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The University’s Hybrid Working Programme is looking at how working practices might evolve as we transition out of the pandemic and how best to support all staff whether working on or off campus. Here Gavin McLachlan, Vice-Principal and Chief Information Officer of the University, explains more.

A man is sat at his laptop where he is watching a woman on zoom

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Why do we need a Sustainable Travel Policy? 

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In June, the University announced that a new Sustainable Travel Policy will go live in late 2021. What is it and why is it needed? We asked SRS Communications Manager Sarah Ford-Hutchinson to explain… with the help of some party snacks. 

Policies in the workplace are a bit like snacks at a party:  

  • they’re essential 
  • they need refilled often 
  • they attract people and can encourage them to stay.

I pay close attention to party snacks, and increasingly, to workplace policies. Beyond the dry roast titles and lightly salted text lies a document that is modestly trying to help you through your day; whether that’s booking leave, claiming back expenses, or booking travel.

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Visions for Curriculum Transformation

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Here Ian Glen, part of the Curriculum Transformation Programme Team, shares what they’ve been working on recently.

The Curriculum Transformation Programme Hub has been up-and-running since late April and is the go-to place to find out what’s happening with this pivotal work to take the University towards delivering Strategy 2030: Curriculum Transformation Hub.

The Old College Quad is empty under a blue sky

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KB101 celebrations begin

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After being forced to delay celebrations last year, the centenary of The King’s Buildings (KB101) was relaunched on 6 July. This marked the day in 1920 when King George V laid the foundation stone for the first of the buildings, that would form part of The University’s new science campus.

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Bulletin schedule update

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Please note that there will be a small adjustment to the bulletin schedule over July.

The next issue will be published in three week’s time rather than two. This means the next publication date will be Tuesday 13 July.

The next issue will then be a fortnight later on Tuesday 27 July.

As always please do send any thoughts, or stories, to the bulletin team as we love to hear from you. You can reach us at bulletin@ed.ac.uk.

Need to know – 8 June

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Here are the top updates from across the University.

1. Last chance to complete the hybrid and home working survey

All staff are reminded to complete this survey which closes on 9 June. It aims to find out more about staff working experiences and will take around 15 minutes to complete: Access the survey.

2. Covid-19 testing

Staff are invited to join Edinburgh’s TestEd study to help develop accurate, cost-effective ways to detect Covid-19 in people who are infected but don’t have symptoms. Find out more: TestEd study

3. New Students website live

The New Student website and ‘Getting Started’ Guide in the University events app have gone live, providing incoming students with important information to help their transition. These will both be regularly updated, including with information about Covid-19 vaccinations and international check-in once finalised: New Students website 

4. Get PairEd up for student support

The PairEd Up project is seeking staff volunteers who are willing to meet up with a student in Edinburgh for activities such as a walk, run or cycle. Committing a couple of hours of your time to this initiative can help create a sense of community and alleviate students’ isolation. Activities are now paused until August, but volunteers are still welcome to sign up for later in the year. Find out more: PairEd Up project

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