What Aberdeen students need to know about the new lockdown changes

Here are the changes AU is putting in place for the start of term.


Returning to university is more difficult this term than ever before. Many students are confused about which rules apply to them and anxious about not knowing when they will be allowed back. The University of Aberdeen has updated us all on the situation, and here’s what we know.

Teaching

Teaching from the University of Aberdeen is still going ahead on the 25th of January.

MyTimetable will open a week later, on the 18th of January for students to choose their courses and tutorials. This is to allow any changes to be made to the course structure.

According to an email sent to all students, teaching will be entirely online for most students and the original plan to bring face to face teaching back has been put on hold until at least the 26th of February. These plans will be reviewed half-way through February and students will be given two weeks notice prior to any changes to courses going back to on campus teaching.

The Sir Duncan Rice Library will be open for limited hours and restricted study room. Students will not be able to access the bookshelves in the library but there is a pick-up service for books pre-requested online. The Taylor Library and Medical Library remain closed for now.

Returning Students

Travelling across Scotland, and to the rest of the UK is currently banned, and the government has requested that students not return to their university accommodation until courses go back to on-campus teaching.

Travelling back to university at the start of term is a reasonable exception only if your course has in-person teaching, or you are unable to study at your home address. According to an email sent to all students, any unnecessary reasons for travelling back to Aberdeen could result in a fine and even committing a criminal offence.

The university testing centre reopened on the 7th of January for asymptomatic students, and returning students are advised to book two tests when arriving back in Aberdeen from the UK. Students arriving from outside of the UK are now required to get tested 72 hours before travelling and must show a negative result.  The requirement to self-isolate for 10 days once at your accommodation is still mandatory.

Students in halls have also been asked to delay returning to their accommodation. They will be able to apply for a rent rebate for the period between the start of term and being allowed to move in.

Support

Struggling students can apply for a discretionary fund for financial support. The Scottish Government set aside £5 million to help students with any debt or added costs they might currently be experiencing because of Covid. Students can find information about applying on the university website under Money Matters.

In this especially difficult time for students, support for mental wellbeing and Covid worries can also be found on the university website under Winter Wellbeing Toolkit and Support Services.

No Detriment Policy

Aberdeen University has not yet confirmed whether a no detriment policy will be put in place. It would mean that the effects of remote learning and added anxieties are factored into the grading of students’ assessments. After nearly a year of disruption to our studies, the policy would at least provide some relief to students worried about their standard of work in these conditions.

Some universities across the country are already putting safety nets in place for students, but so far, AU is not one of them.