The 19 universities and higher education institutions in Scotland have confirmed a raft of measures they are using to support student wellbeing during the current coronavirus crisis.

According to Universities Scotland, a package of ten measures will help students adjust to a different learning and wider student experience in the first semester of the academic year.

The aim of the measures is to ensure students across Scotland are aware of the minimum level of support they can expect from universities.

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The measures apply to Scottish students, those from the rest of the UK and those coming to study in Scotland from overseas.

For students who find themselves needing to self-isolate or quarantine in university-owned accommodation, they are to receive regular check-ins.

The university will also be assisting with the provision of food supplies, to ensure students have access to all basic provisions. 

Cleaning equipment and help with laundry will also be provided.

It comes after a number of Scotland’s universities experienced outbreaks of coronavirus in student residences over recent weeks.

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The package of measures also includes promotion of hardship funds for students, extra support for those in digital poverty and the inclusion of student representatives in how universities respond to outbreaks.

Announcing the Consistent Core of Care for students, Professor Gerry McCormac, Convener of Universities Scotland said:

“Student wellbeing is always the number one priority of universities but this has never been more important than now, as we all experience a new spike in this pandemic. We have a duty of care to our students to look after them both physically and mentally and we take that very seriously.

"We hope that this provides greater clarity to students and their loved ones that there is a consistent core to the care and support you can expect if you need to isolate in student accommodation, or if you’re adjusting to a very different student experience.

"We hope this will provide reassurance and empower students anywhere in Scotland, wherever they are from, to seek the help they need from their institution.

“Front line staff in our universities and in the halls of residence have risen magnificently to the challenge of supporting students in these difficult circumstances.

"They are key workers in the fight against this virus. University leaders will continue to work closely with staff and student representatives to ensure that these commitments are delivered.”

Support available to students who are isolating or in quarantine:

1. Every institution is checking-in, very regularly, on all individual students/student households for those living in university-owned accommodation, where they have told the institution that they are self-isolating. In some cases, this service has been offered but other arrangements have been put in place, at the request of students.

2. Every institution is assisting with or providing support to ensure the provision of food supplies and other basic provisions to students who are in need of this whilst quarantining or isolating in university-owned accommodation.

3. Every institution is providing cleaning equipment and ensuring that students having to isolate or quarantine in university-owned accommodation have laundry support. In some cases, washing materials are provided, in others a supply of fresh bedding and towels is available, or a laundry service. In some cases, institutions are working as fast as possible to make this service available.


Further support available to students living in university-owned accommodation:

4. All students living in university-owned accommodation have, or will have, internet access to ensure they can access learning and support online and connect with family, friends and their student peers.


Support available to all students who are adjusting to a different model of study and wider student experience this semester:

5. Every institution has involved their student representatives in their preparations for the start of term, in the context of COVID-19, and will continue to do so in response to an outbreak so that students are sighted on the situation and the response in their institution.

6. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Every institution has given specific consideration to student mental health in light of the pandemic and in anticipation of the start of the academic year and has support in place, available through a range of routes. The need to self-isolate is not a barrier to receiving wellbeing and mental health support.

7. Every institution has made the wider range of student services accessible online. This includes a range of things like student finance, disability services and study skills.

8. Every institution is providing opportunities for online and, where appropriate, physically distanced social, entertainment and relaxation events and activities for students. In most cases this will have been designed and delivered with considerable input from the student association.

9. Every institution has given additional consideration to digital poverty within their student community in anticipation of the academic year and has put support in place’.

10. All universities will promote their hardship funds and the support available to address digital poverty to their students.


This statement is supported by all 19 of Scotland’s higher education institutions and all members of Universities Scotland, as listed below.


University of Aberdeen                                             Abertay University

University of Dundee                                                University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh Napier University                                    University of Glasgow

Glasgow Caledonian University                               Glasgow School of Art

Heriot-Watt University                                              University of the Highlands and Islands

Queen Margaret University Edinburgh                  Robert Gordon University

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland                             Scotland’s Rural College

University of St Andrews                                          University of Stirling

University of Strathclyde Glasgow                          University of the West of Scotland


The Open University in Scotland does not have a campus and their 18,000 plus students are distance learners. During the pandemic, the OU has strengthened communications, wellbeing and financial support for students.