Last updated: 9th April 2020.

The priority of the University is the health and wellbeing of all its students, staff and their families.

As such, we continue to closely monitor the situation and are working with all relevant authorities across our campuses and taking the latest health and travel advice. For our latest guidance and advice, please continue to read our FAQ’s.

Many of the most Frequently Asked Questions are answered below and are regularly updated.

If you have a query which is not answered here, then you can contact our dedicated call centre which operates from 10.00 - 16.00 (UK Time) Monday to Friday. The phone number is (+44) 0131 451 8899.

Further information for students and staff can be found on the internal sharepoint site.

Health authority advice

Further advice can be found from the following local health authorities:

UK

UAE: Dubai Health Authority

Malaysia: Ministry of Health Malaysia

Daily situation updates are available from the World Health Organization, as well as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s latest official travel advice.

COVID-19: Information and advice

What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a type of respiratory virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world but can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever, a cough or a shortness of breath that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing breathing difficulties. Please be aware that these symptoms are similar to influenza and other respiratory viruses.

How does this new coronavirus spread – I’m concerned I could catch it?

Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses spread by cough droplets or sneeze droplets. These droplets fall on people in the vicinity and can be directly inhaled or picked up on the hands and transferred when someone touches their face. How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors; for example:

  • What surface the virus is on.
  • Whether it is exposed to sunlight.
  • Differences in temperature and humidity.
  • Exposure to cleaning products.

Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more so by 48 hours.

What do I need to know and do?

What are the precautionary measures I should take?
  • Ensure good hand hygiene 
  • Ensure good respiratory hygiene - for example, cover your mouth when coughing
  • Do not visit anyone who is ill with flu-like symptoms
  • Ensure all food is cooked thoroughly

For a more information on latest advice see NHS guidelines.

According to the latest guidance, I need to self-isolate. What does this mean and what should I do?
What this means:
  •  you should stay at home, do not attend work, classes or public areas
  •  avoid having visitors to your home, but it is OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food etc.

you should contact your local health provider to inform them of your self-isolation and receive advice on next steps:

  • In the UK you should notify the NHS on 111 if you have any symptoms. If you do not have any symptoms you can complete the NHS 111 online coronavirus service for further advice.
  • In Dubai you should notify “Estijaba" service at the operation center – Department of Health at 8001717, or Ministry of Health & Prevention at 80011111 or Dubai Health Authority at 800342
  • In Malaysia you should notify your local doctor
  • you should notify SafeGuarding, available 24/7, via the SafeZone Enquiries button or on +44 (0)131 451 3500. The University is required to notify Health Protection Scotland of cases and potential cases, to assist in the mapping of and testing for the disease which will inform government plans to fight the outbreak
  • staff members should also record their self-isolation in iHR in line with the Maximising Attendance Policy
  •  if you live on campus, the University will provide additional support for self-isolation, please contact SafeGuarding, available 24/7, in the first instance, via the SafeZone Enquiries button or on +44 (0)131 451 3500.
I am co-located within Heriot-Watt in GRID or EBS Incubator. What should I do in the event that these facilities are closed?
The situation is changing on a daily basis and we are asking companies and partners have a contingency plan in the event we have to close access to facilities.

Should this happen, you can contact the relevant facility via:

I’ve been in close contact with someone who is confirmed to have coronavirus (COVID-19), what should I do?
If you believe you have been in contact with a case of coronavirus and you have not been contacted by someone from your local health protection team, please phone NHS24, even if you have no symptoms.
It is important that even if you have no symptoms that you follow this advice for 14 days after your contact with the person who is thought to have coronavirus:
  •  Stay indoors
  •  Avoid contact with others where possible

This means you should remain at home and should not:

  •  go to work, school or public areas
  •  use public transport or taxis
  • It is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.

Please phone NHS24 on 111 if you develop symptoms including:

  •  fever
  •  cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
I have been contacted by the local health protection team as I have had close contact with a person known to have been infected with coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The health protection team will give you bespoke advise on what you are to do going forward.
This could entail:
  • Staying indoors for 14 days
  • Avoiding contact with others where possible
  • Daily contact with the health protection team to update on your condition.
This means you should remain at home and should not:
  • go to work, school or public areas
  • use public transport or taxis
It is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.
I have either a high temperature or fever or a new continuous cough, and I live alone, what should I do?
  •  You should stay at home for 7 days from the day your symptoms started.
  •  Follow the stay at home advice on NHS inform.
If your symptoms get worse during the 7 days or they have not improved after 7 days, phone NHS24 on 111.
This is especially important if:
  •  You are aged 70 or older and have an underlying health condition.
  •  You have heart or lung problems.
  •  You have a weakened immune system, including cancer.
  •  You have diabetes.
You can return to work after 7 days if you are improving and you no longer have a temperature. You do not need to be completely symptom-free to return to work.
I have either a high temperature or fever or a new continuous cough, and I am experiencing breathing difficulties, what should I do?
  •  Please phone NHS24 on 111.
  •  Do not attend your GP or hospital in person but should telephone NHS24 on 111 for advice from home.
I live in a household where someone has either a high temperature or fever or a new continuous cough, and I have developed symptoms during the 14 days of staying at home, what should I do?
  •  You must continue to stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms began, even if this takes you over the 14-day isolation period.
If your symptoms get worse during the 7 days or they have not improved after 7 days, phone NHS24 on 111.
 
This is especially important if:
  •  You are aged 70 or older and have an underlying health condition.
  •  You have heart or lung problems.
  •  You have a weakened immune system, including cancer.
  •  You have diabetes.

Students

What is the current guidance for prospective students?

Due to the dynamic nature of the coronavirus situation, prospective students and applicants are advised that the University has taken the decision to cancel its UK Offer Holder Days in the interest of public health. This is in line with the latest Scottish Government guidelines.

A set of alternative options on finding out more about studying at the University will be sent to prospective students and applicants as soon as possible.

This will provide similar information to that offered at our on-campus events.

Staff will be available online to answer any questions you have about studying at the University and you can also contact studywithus@hw.ac.uk at any time to ask questions.

In addition, the Dubai and Malaysia campus's are temporarily closed to visitors due to precautionary measures affecting all education facilities. 

I have an offer to start my research degree with Heriot-Watt on 2 May 2020. What should I do? [NEW]
The health and well-being of all of our current and future research students is at the heart of what we do at this challenging time. Currently, all of our campuses are closed for students, with the exception of student residences. International travel is also heavily restricted and travelers are subject to periods of quarantine or self-isolation. Due to the rapidly changing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear when restrictions will be lifted and when campuses will re-open. If you have an offer to commence your research degree in May 2020, we will be deferring your entry until September 2020. If this will cause you significant difficulties, please discuss these with your planned supervisor to determine what we may be able to do to overcome these. (FAQ added 07.04.20)
My exams have been cancelled, how can I meet the conditions of my offer?
We are taking advice from the Government, UCAS and exam bodies at the moment. If you have applied through UCAS, you will be kept updated by them via email. We are all working together to ensure a flexible and fair admissions process over the coming months. We will be looking to consider your allocated calculated grades, following the usual admissions process and timeline as far as possible. We are doing all we can to make sure that our applicants and offer holders are not unfairly impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 virus.
How will my results from school/college be calculated?
If you visit the UCAS website, there are useful links to the qualifications bodies where you will see regular updates and plans for the allocation of your results. We will be following advice provided by UCAS, the Government and awarding bodies and will communicate any updates with you over the coming months.
I have not had a decision back from Heriot-Watt. When will I hear?
We are still receiving applications and we are still busy making offers. Please check your UCAS track account for any updates and/or your emails for any changes.
The offer holder days have been cancelled? How can I find out more about the University and my course now?
The University has made the decision to cancel the Offer Holder Days and campus tours scheduled in March, April and May. These events will now be offered as virtual events. If you have registered for the events we will be in touch with you. We will be sending all offer holders an invitation to the upcoming virtual events. We are also available on studywithus@hw.ac.uk or our Unibuddy chat pages to answer any questions you may have about studying at the University.
I have been told I need to submit a portfolio/be interviewed for the course I have applied for. What should I do?
We have completed all of our interview days for our applicants. If we still need you to submit a portfolio or attend an interview, we will be able to do this online and we will be in touch with you directly by email to organise this.
Will the pre-sessional English programme be going ahead in the summer?
We are aware that delays to processing visas or obtaining qualifications may have an impact on applications for our pre-sessional courses. We are continuing to monitor the situation and we are considering alternative actions including the possibility of offering part of the programme online. If you have applied for this programme we will update you directly.
I want to apply for accommodation, what should I do?
We are pleased to offer guaranteed accommodation on campus or off campus for students in their first year of study. Our UK campuses pages have information about how to apply for accommodation at our Edinburgh campus and how to apply for accommodation at our Borders campus and you can apply as normal.
We will keep you fully updated on any changes, for example to term dates, if there are any. We look forward to welcoming our new students on to campus for the new academic year.
Will courses still be starting in September?
Our Welcome Week on Scottish campuses is due to take place on 7-14 September 2020.
We will let you know should there be any delay to the start of the academic year and will advise you of any changes at the earliest opportunity.

Tier 4 students

Where can I find the current UKVI Advice?

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents for people who are already in the UK

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents for visa customers who are outside the UK

This was last updated on 25th March 2020

The University is following this advice and exercising its discretion to support all our Tier 4 students at this time. We will update our FAQs when new UKVI advice is published.

How Can I Contact UKVI With Questions Related to COVID-19?

The Coronavirus Immigration Team contact email address is CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

Do I still need to record my attendance now that the UK campuses have moved to supported online learning?

Tier 4 attendance recording at Heriot-Watt University is temporarily suspended. Students will not need to complete weekly check-ins using SafeZone or in person at the Student Service Centre or Borders/Orkney Admin Office. The University will communicate to Tier 4 students when Tier 4 attendance and/or engagement recording will resume and what students are required to do.

If I do not need to check in, am I allowed to leave the UK?

As published on the HWU Student Portal, Tier 4 students can leave the UK now, if they are able to do so, without the University withdrawing their Tier 4 sponsorship. Tier 4 students should follow the latest advice provided by emails, on the student portal and the University website. On 24th March 2020, UKVI have confirmed that during COVID-19, universities are allowed to provide online/distance learning to existing Tier 4 students in the UK or who have chosen to return overseas but wish to continue their current studies. The University will communicate with Tier 4 students with regard to returning to on-campus study in the UK when this option becomes available.  

Am I allowed to work full time?

Outside of published vacations or booked annual leave, Tier 4 students should still adhere to restrictions on casual working hours (paid and unpaid work).

When will I be required to record my attendance again?

The University will communicate to Tier 4 students when Tier 4 attendance and/or engagement recording will resume and what students are required to do. Tier 4 students should discuss withdrawal or suspension of study with their school and with a Global Student Advisor before making firm decisions. 

Will the University report me to UKVI if I leave the UK?

The University is currently working within UKVI guidance whilst offering Tier 4 students flexibility to leave the UK during COVID-19. On 24th March 2020, UKVI confirmed that universities are not required to withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship of students who are engaged in online/distance learning (provided by their own university) even if the student has chosen to return overseas. Where a Tier 4 student withdraws from study or suspends their studies, the University would be required to withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship as normal. Tier 4 students should discuss withdrawal or suspension of study with their school and with a Global Student Advisor before making firm decisions.  

Will my visa be cancelled due to COVID-19?

Your visa will not be cancelled due to COVID-19, however if students withdraw from their programmes, take Temporary Suspension of Studies, complete their programmes early, or fail to meet minimum progression requirements, then the University may be required to withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship as per normal UKVI regulations.  

Will my visa be cancelled if I am out of the UK for more than 60 days?

The University is currently working within UKVI guidance whilst offering Tier 4 students flexibility to leave the UK during COVID-19. On 24th March 2020, UKVI confirmed that universities are not required to withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship of students who are in the UK whilst they are engaged in online/distance learning (provided by their own university) and during vacation periods. Where a Tier 4 student withdraws from study or suspends their studies, the University would be required to withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship as normal. Tier 4 students should discuss withdrawal or suspension of study with their school and with a Global Student Advisor before making firm decisions. 

What do I need to do if my visa is going to expire in the near future?

On 24th March 2020, UKVI confirmed that if a Tier 4 student is in the UK and their visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020, their visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). They must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team at CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk  to update their records if their visa is expiring.

They must provide:

  • their full name (include any middle names)
  • date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • nationality
  • their previous visa reference number
  • why they can’t go back to their home country, for example if the border has closed

UKVI will let them know when their request is received and when their visa has been extended.

They should also contact their school office as normal, and can contact isao@hw.ac.uk to request information and advice about the Tier 4 visa extension application and submission process.

For the most up to date information from UKVI visit - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

How do I request a CAS for a visa extension?

Unless advised differently, they should contact their school office  to request a CAS, and can contact isao@hw.ac.uk to request information and advice about the Tier 4 visa application and submission process. Tier 4 students should follow the latest advice provided by emails, on the student portal and the University website.

How can I access International Student Advice and visa application checking?
TTier 4 students can contact isao@hw.ac.uk to access advice and guidance. Tier 4 students should continue to check the latest advice provided by emails, on the student portal and the University website.
How can I start the Doctorate Extension Scheme process?

Tier 4 students can contact isao@hw.ac.uk 0131 451 4015 as normal to access advice and guidance. Tier 4 students should continue to check the latest advice provided by emails, on the student portal and the University website.

If the UK government make changes that affect my visa, how will I know?

The University will communicate with students about any UK government changes that may impact on their visas.

What can I do if I leave the UK and am unable to return when advised to do so, due to travel restrictions?

As the COVID-19 situation develops, the University will communicate with students about how they can return to the UK to resume study and what to do in the event of any travel restrictions impose in the UK or by other governments. Communications received from UKVI on 24th March 2020 have not set a strict deadline for Tier 4 students to return to the UK for study after the COVID-19 situation ends. The University will provide flexibility where possible to support Tier 4 students who are trying to return to the UK for study.

How can I get support to apply for a Short-Term Study visa to return to the UK?

Tier 4 students can contact isao@hw.ac.uk to access advice and guidance. Tier 4 students should follow the latest advice provided by emails, on the student portal and the University website

If I am currently on a work placement, and the placement provider closes their buildings, what am I required to do?

In the first instance, Tier 4 students undertaking work placements should communicate with their placement provider to understand what arrangements are in place for remote working or other alternatives. These students should also communicate with their school office and academic tutors about these arrangements to ensure that the University is aware of the situation, including the location where they will be working. If work placements are likely to be suspended or ended due to COVID-19, Tier 4 students should communicate with their school office and academic tutors and further information and guidance will be provided to them.

What if my PhD viva exam is cancelled and my visa will expire before it can be re-arranged?
If any PhD viva exams are cancelled during COVID-19, the University will direct students to appropriate advice and assistance in managing visa extensions or other appropriate actions to enable students to complete their programmes.
How do I access the latest information and advice from the University about changes related to COVID-19?

The University will provide frequent updates to students and staff about changes related to COVID-19. This information will be provided on the student portal, the University website and by email.

What will happen if I need to extend my Tier 4 visa because of COVID-19 and I may breach my Tier 4 study cap?

Where any Tier 4 student is genuinely concerned that the COVID-19 situation is likely to create problems relating to the Tier 4 study cap, they can contact isao@hw.ac.uk  to access advice and guidance.

Prospective Tier 4 students

What if I have received a Tier 4 visa and am due to travel into the UK soon, but am worried about the COVID-19 situation or my travel has been cancelled or delayed?
On 24th March 2020, UKVI confirmed that the university is not automatically required to withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship of new overseas students who have been issued a Tier 4 visa but have been unable to travel to the UK. Where available, these students are permitted to undertake supported online / distance learning. If a new overseas student is considering deferring, suspending or withdrawing from their study they should discuss this with their school office and should contact isao@hw.ac.uk for further guidance. Deferring, suspending or withdrawing from study may lead to the withdrawal of Tier 4 sponsorship.
What guidance does Home Office have for those who have a valid visa but haven’t travelled to the UK yet?
Applicants who hold a valid visa should check initially with their own government websites to ensure that they are up to date on latest travel restrictions from their current locations. In addition, applicants should check the Gov.UK website which is updated regularly.
How can I contact visa application centres outside the UK?
For up to date advice on services in different countries, people should look at the websites of UKVI's commercial partners:
  •  Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East visit: uk.tlscontact.com
  •  All other countries visit: vfsglobal.co.uk
What will happen if I have already made a visa appointment outside the UK, how will I know if my appointment will go ahead?
Where visa applicants have an appointment and the VAC is now closed, commercial partners are contacting customers to advise them the appointment is not going ahead
What will happen if my passport is currently held at a visa application centre outside the UK?
If visa customers have paid for courier return, UKVI's commercial partners are sending passports back (where courier routes remain open to allow them to do so). If applicants are concerned about their passport, customers can contact CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk for advice.
If an individual’s passport is currently held in a VAC but they have not previously arranged for it to be returned by courier, please contact either TLS contact or VFS global directly.
How can I find out about the availability of IELTS tests near me (outside the UK)?
For the latest information, please visit https://www.ielts.org/news/2020/covid19-information-for-our-global-test-taker-community or applicants can contact their test centre directly by email.
If I have applied for a visa from overseas but would now like to withdraw my application, how do I do this?
Before withdrawing their visa application, students should contact their schools to discuss the implications for their studies, they can also contact isao@hw.ac.uk for further visa advice.
Visa applicants can contact UKVI directly to discuss the withdrawal of their application and are asked to visit our gov.uk web pages at https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk for further details.
They may also contact the Visa Application Centre (VAC) via UKVI's Commercial Partner websites to ask for their application to be withdrawn. In countries where significant movement restrictions are in place, some of VACs are closed which may make it difficult for them to return documents to them.
Can I receive a refund of my advance fee instalment if I cannot travel to campus or if there is a delay to the start of the academic year?
You are encouraged to continue to pay advance instalments for tuition fees and advance rent payments for the planned start of the new academic year in September.
Should there be any delay to the start of the academic year, or if you are unable to travel to campus because of visa or transport restrictions, you will be given the options of: 
  • Starting your programme of study online, where possible, before transferring to on-campus study at an appropriate stage
  • Studying at an alternative campus, with the option to transfer to your campus of choice after the first semester or first year, where applicable 
  • Deferring enrolment to a later date 
  • Receiving a full refund of your advance instalment

Campus specific

UK campuses

What is the current guidance for UK students?

We are transitioning away from face to face teaching to supported online learning and alternative forms of assessment. Updates have been issued students on Tuesday 17 March to confirm arrangements for learning and teaching and on Thursday 19 March to confirm their assessment timetable with details of arrangements.

Our campuses will continue to remain open for the foreseeable future to maintain essential services to the residential population. Where staff are able to work from home, they should follow the latest government advice and start working from home now. It is important to discuss and agree arrangements with line managers and how staff will maintain effective communications.

What do I do if I think my flatmate is unwell with the virus?

If your flatmate is unwell, ask them to remain in their room for the next 7 days. Please see the question on Self-isolation below. You will also have to isolate for 14 days as per current UK government guidance (further information on this can be found here).

In the UK you should notify the NHS on 111 if the symptoms get worse, if you do not have any symptoms you can complete the NHS 111 online coronavirus service for further advice

In Dubai you should notify “Estijaba" service at the operation center – Department of Health at 8001717, or Ministry of Health and Prevention at 80011111 or Dubai Health Authority at 800342

In Malaysia you should notify your local doctor. Also notify the University so we can offer additional support.

Please contact SafeGuarding through the SafeZone enquiries button, dial +44 (0)131 451 3500 or email SafeGuarding@hw.ac.uk

I have a new fever, shortness of breath or continuous cough – what should I do?
If you have returned from a country abroad in the past 14 days:
Please phone your GP practice now. If you cannot get in touch with your GP practice, please phone NHS24 on 111.
I live in the residences on Campus and am currently self isolating, what do I do if the fire alarm activates?
SafeGuarding will respond to all fire alarm activations on Campus as normal. If the fire alarm activates and you are able to evacuate the building and go to your assembly point but stay at a distance of least 2 metres away from anyone else.
 
If you are unable to evacuate activate SafeZone or dial 0131 451 3500 using a mobile phone and let SafeGuarding know that you are in the building and unable to evacuate. SafeGuarding Officers will contact you with further information and steps to take if required.
Information on Graduate Apprenticeship programmes
In response to the threat of COVID-19 to the delivery of Graduate Apprenticeship programmes, we are endeavouring to move as much of the delivery online as possible so that attendance is not necessary. We will also provide ad hoc extensions to the deadlines for any assessments based on the situation of an apprentice and their apprenticeship programme.
 
The university has internal processes that mean no student/apprentice should be disadvantaged by a mitigating circumstance. In order to make on-line delivery accessible, your employees will need to be able to access university systems including our Virtual Learning Environment and on-line communication tools including MS Teams, Skype or Zoom, for example. Depending on your company firewall they may not be able to do this from your site, so allowing them to work from home on the day they would normally attend university would help us to support your apprentices during this challenging time.
 
Our team has made all the necessary arrangements so that we can work remotely. Please use ga@hw.ac.uk for communications so that one of our team can always pick up an correspondence. We will keep our local contact for your employer informed of any operational changes the university makes to ensure continued delivery of Graduate Apprenticeships and address any circumstances that may arise to that your employees are not unnecessarily disadvantaged, within the limits of our control.
 

To help give our employer partners and GA students easy access to the team, we have set up a Drop-In Clinic at a set time each day (3pm). Businesses can dial in via Teams or Skype and speak to a Business Relationship Manager about any issues etc. The BRMs will be available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. There’s a dedicated GA student clinic on Wednesday, which will be hosted by our own GAs.

Employers and students can email the team mailbox ga@hw.ac.uk to get dial in details for the clinic.

Dubai Campus

What is the latest local health advice for the Dubai campus?

The education authority in Dubai has updated its guidance for private education institutions, including our campus, as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Find out more below.

What if I’m going to study or work at the Dubai campus?

The University follows UK Government policy with regards to travelling on University business at all times as advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice. The current situation is that no travel is permitted.

The most recent advice from the Ministry of Education has directed all schools and Universities in the UAE to close beginning Sunday 8 March.

The University will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updated travel advice on this page. 

The concerns raised by this outbreak underline the importance of completing Heriot-Watt’s travel declaration form prior to travel. It is available on the Staff Portal or Student Portal and ensures the University knows where you are during your trip and can provide assistance if required. Staff travel booked using Heriot-Watt’s suppliers, Key Travel, also provides access to travel advice and extra support beyond what you receive if making the arrangements by other means.

If you have any further concerns, please contact your Academic Supervisor (students) or line manager (staff) in the first instance who will ensure you receive advice and support.

All travellers must download the SafeZone app and can use this to request assistance.

What is the most recent advice that has been issued regarding the coronavirus?
The most recent advice from the Ministry of Education has directed all schools and Universities in the UAE are to close from Sunday 8 March.
Why has this advice been issued?
This is part of the precautionary and proactive measures being undertaken to limit the spread of the coronavirus. During closure, facilities will be deep cleaned to help maintain a healthy and hygienic environment.
When does the Dubai campus close?
The wellbeing of our community is our top priority, so it is therefore essential we comply with these measures. As a precautionary measure, the Ministry of Education has directed all schools and universities in the UAE to close for students beginning on Sunday 8 March until 22 May. Our campus will be closed to students while staff continue to work as normal over the period.
How will faculty continue to teach during this time?
We have already shared additional guidance with faculty regarding support for students undertaking remote learning. Vision is key to providing remote support, alongside Microsoft Teams and Collaborate Ultra. Course material will support learning and our faculty is well equipped to continue teaching during this time.
How does this impact students’ education?

We have put in place a study contingency plan which will ensure learning continues without a hitch during this time.

Firstly, a two-week semester break for students will commence on 8th March and end on 21st March.

Next, this will be followed by a three-week period of supported learning during which we will use digital resources to assist students in achieving their learning outcomes. This means they will continue studying, but off Campus, with faculty providing support online. Course level communications will come from local course leaders.

And finally, decisions regarding assessments will reflect the ongoing situation and will be taken at a later time.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Vision is key to providing this remote support and all learning materials will be provided to through this platform.

Who in the University can I reach out to for more information?
If you or your families have any immediate concerns or questions, please get in touch with Dubai Student Services at DubaiStudentServices@hw.ac.uk.
What is the most recent advice given on gatherings and events?

Due to the campus being closed from Sunday 8 March, any events taking place on or after that date will be unable to occur, and events taking place before that date will be subject to review.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) circular issued on 28 February also states that all internal and external trips should be halted, and that any scheduled competitions, festivities and gatherings inside educational institutions –especially those that require student gatherings – should be halted with immediate effect.

You can find the latest advice on the KHDA student safety webpages.

This includes:

  • all internal and external trips
  • competitions, festivals and activities inside the educational institutions, especially those that require student gatherings
  • events and activities between educational institutions or with other parties or partners, and any teacher events.
Why have all gatherings been cancelled?
Cancelling all gatherings is a precautionary measure undertaken by the KHDA to prevent any chance of the coronavirus being spread in Dubai. From Sunday 8 March, all events taking place will be unable to occur due to the campus being closed.
What kind of gatherings does this include?
It includes all events that bring together students from the same educational institutions such as sports days, international days or assemblies. It also includes all events that bring together students from different educational institutions. All excursions and other trips, whether inside or outside the UAE, are also cancelled.
Is this just for universities?
No. This decision applies to early learning centres and schools in Dubai as well.
What kinds of events are likely to be impacted by this ruling?
Activities such as academic field trips, site visits, recruitment events and associated partner visits, and student society gatherings must now be cancelled. Events scheduled to take place on our campus on or after Sunday 8 March cannot take place due to the campus closure.
I have an upcoming event and I am not sure if I can go ahead. Who can advise?

Due to the campus being closed from Sunday 8 March, any events taking place on or after that date cannot take place, and events taking place before that date will be subject to review.

If in doubt about an event you have planned, please get in touch as follows:

Any upcoming events will be reviewed on a daily basis for approval.

I have an event that was already approved by the KHDA. Can I still go ahead with it?
No. The KHDA circular states that all pre-planned trips and related approvals issued by the KHDA are now void.
Who can I contact for more information about the coronavirus?

You can ring the main health agencies on these numbers:

  • Estijaba Service – 800 1717 
  • Dubai Health Authority – 800 342 
  • Ministry of Health and Prevention – 800 11111
What about faculty and Professional Services Staff?
Faculty and Professional Services staff such as Careers, Wellbeing etc. will also continue to work during the four-week period and provide support via email and videoconferencing. Course specific queries may be directed to course leaders.
How does this impact students' education?

We have put in place a study contingency plan which will ensure learning continues without a hitch during this time.

Firstly, a two-week semester break for students will commence on 8th March and end on 21st March

Next, this will be followed by a three-week period of supported learning during which we will use digital resources to assist students in achieving their learning outcomes. This means they will continue studying, but off Campus, with faculty providing support online. Course level communications will come from local course leaders

And finally, decisions regarding assessments will reflect the ongoing situation and will be taken at a later time.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Vision is key to providing this remote support and all learning materials will be provided to through this platform.

Malaysia Campus

What if I’m going to study or work at the Malaysia campus?
As of 18th March 2020 (Wednesday), the Malaysian government has given an order for restricted movement until 14 April 2020 in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 infection in the country. Campus security staff however will remain on campus as they are considered essential staff members.
What does this mean for students studying in Malaysia?
From 17th March 2020 onwards no attendance to class would be taken, and students will not be penalised for non-attendance.
 On 19th March 2020 (Thursday), the University will update students on your examination timetable and further details on how you will be supported in your online lessons and assessments.
 Online supported learning will commence on 23rd March 2020 (Monday).
 During this period of closure, you can still reach the University through our telephone number at 603-8894 3888 and your call will be diverted to member of staff.
 Students are reminded to use the Safezone app if they need to reach the University in any emergency.
Can I use campus facilities such as the library, 365 room, and other study rooms?
No, the University will be fully closed until 14 April 2020.
I plan to leave Malaysia between 17 to 20 March 2020. Should I inform anyone?
Yes. Please email myinternationaloffice@hw.ac.uk and inform your personal tutor. Attach a copy of your flight ticket for our record.
International students studying in Malaysia
If you are a Go Global transfer student, you will be allowed to return home and continue your studies and assessment at your home campus.
Students are advised to cancel all international trips and limit domestic travel as advised by the Malaysian government during this period of restricted movement. It has been advised that once you leave Malaysia, you will NOT be allowed to return during the period of restricted movement control. The University cannot guarantee that you will be able to travel smoothly, nor will you be able to return as planned.
Am I allowed to leave Malaysia between 18 March and 14 April 2020?
Yes, you are allowed to leave Malaysia. The outbound travel ban is for Malaysians only. However, it has been advised that once you leave Malaysia, you will NOT be allowed to return during the period of restricted movement control.
I am not feeling well. What should I do?
Consult a doctor. If the doctor advises you to go to the hospital, please inform International Student Services Office (ISSO) immediately.
I will not be returning to Malaysia for the new academic year. What should I do?
Complete a refund form for personal bond.
Email us a copy of your flight ticket and exit stamp. - We will then submit a report to Immigration to cancel your visa.
What are the documents required for visa cancellation?
Original passport A copy of confirmed flight ticket Refund Form for Personal Bond Must be submitted to ISSO 3 working days before your date of departure. You will be required to meet an ISSO staff at Immigration Cyberjaya. Contact ISSO hotline.
Who do I contact for further information or help?
International Student Services Office hotlines:
1) +60126677140
2) +60126322799
Please check your HW email account regularly for updates.
Staff members working in Malaysia
From 18th March 2020 onwards, all staff members will be working from home remotely Staff remain on accessible to attend to queries from students during the usual working hours from 9am to 5pm.
Staff members who do not have any means of working online should contact your head to make arrangements on alternative means.
Tenants, Vendors and Partners
The University will remain accessible online and will follow mitigation plans that have been planned to ensure the business continuity of the University. If you are a tenant on campus, you would have received notification from Putrajaya Holdings on the details and restrictions on campus. During this period of closure, our Finance team will still be operating as usual remotely, hence payment will still be done on time. We ask that all deliveries scheduled during this period to halt immediately until the campus reopens on 15th April 2020.
What if I’m going to study or work at the Malaysia campus?
The University follows UK Government policy with regards to travelling on University business at all times as advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice. The current situation is that no travel is permitted.

New employees

I have accepted a job at Heriot-Watt University and I am due to start soon. What should I do?

Wherever it is practical and possible for you to join us on the agreed date, we would love to welcome you! However, each case will need to be decided according to your personal circumstances and the role that you will be taking up.

We have advised our Hiring Managers to contact you and consider with you the following:

Can you travel to the campus from within the UK?
Can you travel to the campus from outside the UK?
Can equipment and home working be set up if required and is equipment available? 
Can online induction, training and pre-hiring activities are completed to ensure aspects like payroll information is uploaded? 
If the answer to all of the above is “yes” then your new line manager will get in touch with HR and Payroll so that your employment can commence.

If the answer to any of the above is “no” or “not sure”, particularly if you require a visa to work in the UK and/or you are not currently in the UK, then your line manager will discuss possible options with HR and Payroll. We may be able to postpone a start date or make other arrangements.

Travel

See our travel page.

 

University contact information

Coronavirus enquiries

Coronavirus student helpline (10:00-16:00)

  • 0131 451 8899

Safety and security

SafeGuarding

  • 0131 451 3500  (24 hours)

Media enquiries

Craig McManamon

  • Media Relations Officer
  • T: +44 131 451 8099

Susan Kerr

  • Media Relations Officer
  • T: +44 7933 701 010

To send an email to the media team: mediaenquiries@hw.ac.uk
Out of hours: +44 7702 961 005

General enquiries

Please note we are currently operating a reduced main telephone service because of government recommendations. For more information, please visit our main University contact page.