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Campus social distancing outlined in University “discussion paper”

The internal document outlines lecture hall capacity under social distancing rules.

By: Rory Buccheri

Screengrab of the Capacity Assessment which is fully available here.

The University of Aberdeen is testing new methods to ensure social distancing on campus.

The ongoing assessment, overseen by the Campus Planning Group, evaluates places and activities on campus to check if they allow for the appropriate physical distancing of both staff and students.

The University is committed to carrying out testing before classes start, following the route map for universities laid out by the Scottish Government.

As part of this, a University of Aberdeen “discussion paper” obtained by the Gaudie gives examples of what 1m and 2m physical distancing would look like on campus.

Screengrab of the Capacity Assessment, fully available here.

The document, described by UoA as a “discussion paper” was written by the Director of Estates, Angus Donaldson and features five teaching spaces on campus: MacRobert, Taylor Building, Fraser Noble, the Zoology Building and Meston.

A spokesperson told the Gaudie that the university’s priority is to manage the return on campus in a way that “ensures the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and students”.

“We are looking at all our teaching and study spaces to determine what is safe and possible to support physical distancing requirements and taking all steps necessary to ensure the safety of students and staff. This includes robust hygiene measures such as providing face coverings and hand sanitiser at key locations and increased cleaning of touchpoints.”

Screengrab of the Capacity Assessment, fully available here.

To do so, the Campus Planning Group has established that, while activities that do not allow for social distancing, such as large lectures or large teaching groups will not be possible, the student body will not ‘miss out’ on those opportunities. Instead, these activities would be moved from campus to an online arrangement.

As the University is working to the 2m physical distancing as per national guidelines, several rooms such as those in Taylor will not be able to hold more than 5 students at a time.

Many rooms also feature laptops or extra furniture, and the possibility of students moving or leaving the room needs to be taken into account.

Screengrab of the Capacity Assessment, fully available here.

Speaking to the Gaudie, UoA Communications Officer Wendy Davidson stressed the importance of what is the ‘student experience’ on campus.

While every scenario and route on campus needs to undergo a safety assessment, services such as the Library and the Career Service will not cease to be available to the student body.

Edit: This article was edited 29.08.20 (20.57 GMT) to correct the position of Wendy Davidson from "Head of Communications" to "Communications Officer".


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