In-person teaching at Edinburgh Uni will be capped at 50 people in Semester One

Teaching events above 50 people like lectures will remain online

Edinburgh Uni has announced that most classes of more than 50 people will be delivered online next semester.

The email sent to all current students also said that most classes of below 50 people are set to be delivered in person.

The uni is also “working hard” to maximise student access to specialised venues like labs and studios.

However, some students are not particularly impressed at the decision, with one fourth year telling us: “I think it’s kinda ridiculous that there will be less than 50 people in massive lecture theatres like Gordon Aikman but I can go to Hive after and be in a room of hundreds of sweaty strangers with no questions asked.”

The email also said that libraries will be open “as normal” – and that you will no longer need to book a seat with SeatED in advance, just check-in with Test and Protect when you arrive.

However, face coverings will be mandatory in all indoor classes, study spaces, and communal areas. The only times you will not be required to wear a face mask whilst indoors and on campus will be if you’re eating, exercising, or seated in a hospitality venue like the JMCC.

Additionally, the email does not mention what – if any – physical distancing requirements will be in place in any in-person classes that can go ahead.

The uni is also running a mass testing scheme called TestED – which is a world leading pilot scheme that uses saliva (instead of nasal swabs) to test for Covid-19.

In terms of how much in-person teaching students will actually receive, the email says: “The balance of on-campus and online teaching in Semester One inevitably varies by degree programme and within each programme, depending on the exact course choices that you make. Please look out for further information from your School about specific plans for your programme or courses.”

What is the government guidance?

These updates have been announced following a change to Scottish Government Covid-19 rules on 9th August.

Moving to ‘Beyond Level Zero’ dropped almost all requirements on social distancing and meant clubs were able to open.

Face masks remain compulsory in almost all indoor public places but anyone who is double vaccinated no longer needs to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone with Covid-19 – instead, only a negative PCR is needed.

It also outlined specific rules and recommendations for universities – including the “resumption of in-person learning”. But it is “strongly recommended to implement a greater level of protective measures” are present in universities, despite “the rest of society generally being back to ‘normality'”.

A spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh told The Edinburgh Tab: “The University is following all relevant Scottish Government guidance with regards to the provision of teaching.

“Following the Scottish Government’s removal of physical distancing requirements, the University has set out a series of arrangements to ensure the safety of our students and staff is maintained.

“For most activities involving more than 50 people, teaching will be online. For teaching involving fewer than 50 people, the maximum capacity of any given space will be determined by standard room capacity assessment methods. Decisions on actual capacity to be used will be taken on a case by case basis, depending on a range of factors including the individual characteristics of the space, and the type of activity taking place.”

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