Announcement

Guidance on use of face coverings on campus

Published on 8 September 2020

Latest staff announcement on face coverings and compliance with Covid rules

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Dear colleagues,

This document summarises the University’s policy for the wearing of face coverings by staff, students and visitors.

As you know we are preparing our campuses for the start of the new academic year in line with the Scottish Government guidance for higher education institutions. This includes a requirement for everyone, except those who are exempt, to wear a face covering to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in specific situations.

The Scottish Government guidance has mandated the use of face coverings in the following buildings and spaces on our campuses. Unless exempt, you must wear a face covering:

  • In any shop
  • In any library
  • In any gallery space
  • In any NHS managed property as directed by local signage (e.g. Ninewells Campus and Dental Hospital)
  • On any public transport and in any University vehicle
  • When moving about in building corridors and indoor communal areas (including toilets)
  • Wherever 2m distance cannot be guaranteed, including when interacting face-to-face at less than 2m for a sustained period (about 15 minutes or more, or for any amount of time where there is close contact within 1m).

Face coverings are not generally required in teaching settings when students are seated in a classroom or other learning and teaching environments at 2m or more apart.

For some activities the relevant Risk Assessment may still stipulate use of face coverings. In some circumstances the face covering required may be to a specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standard. All of this must be detailed in the Risk Assessment which will be available to any staff or student from the person in charge of the activity.

A face covering is not a form of PPE. It can be a basic, homemade mask, a scarf or a disposable mask.

All staff and students will be provided by the University with a pair of washable masks. Students will receive them in their Welcome Pack or from their School Office. Staff can request them from their School or Directorate when they return to campus. They come with full instructions of how to use and care for them. In addition, we have located disposable masks at the entrances of key buildings around the campus. We would ask that you dispose of these responsibly in general waste bins.

Exemptions

There are some exemptions permissible. The Scottish Government guidance states you may have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if, for example:

  • You have a health condition or you are disabled, including hidden disabilities, for example, autism, dementia or a learning disability, or are providing care for someone with a health condition or disability, and a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety to the wearer or the person in the care of the wearer, or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently
  • To seek medical assistance
  • You are taking medication
  • You are communicating with someone else who relies on lip reading and facial expressions to communicate.

For more information read the Scottish Government Guidance regarding requirements for wearing face coverings, and exemptions.

If you are not wearing a face covering you may be challenged by a colleague or student as to why not, without them being aware that you are exempt. We appreciate that you do not need to provide evidence of the reason for you not being able to wear a mask but we would like to provide support for those that may be questioned so please do reach out to your line manager if you are someone in this situation.

Compliance with Covid rules

Returning to campus for our new academic term will feel and look different this year. There are many changes across our buildings and our outdoor spaces as well. We have worked hard to put in place systems, processes and rules to keep all of our community safe whilst they work, live and study with us.

We recognise it will take people time to get used to the changes on campus and that for some staff, students and visitors, our rules will be different to those they may have experienced elsewhere. We do expect everyone to take individual responsibility for their actions and help to ensure that our community remains safe.

Should you find that someone appears not to be complying with the rules that we have put in place, you should first remind them politely. As things are new and different, it is to be expected that it may take a little time for everyone to remember and adjust. In addition there may be a genuine reason for non-compliance including allowable exemptions under the Scottish Government guidance or other specific access needs.

However, in the event you believe that someone is persistently or deliberately flouting a rule that has been put in place to protect our community and you have been unable to resolve this informally, you should report your concerns to their line manager and/or your own line manager if they are a member of staff or to their School Office if they are a student.

The individual receiving your concerns will be proactive in following the normal HR and student processes which are in place to help resolve such matters. If you need support to escalate your concerns you should contact your Human Resources Officer or School/Directorate Office. 

We can only get through the pandemic by providing clear guidance around our expectations and policies, being tolerant and supportive, and by working with each other to limit the spread of Covid-19. It is in all our interests to maintain the best levels of health and safety within our community.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Dr Jim McGeorge
University Secretary & Chief Operating Officer

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