Be safe this Semester

An early morning frost on the Sunken Garden

Returning to campus

The Scottish Government announced that all University teaching, with very few exceptions, should be online for the rest of semester 2. The Government has, however, confirmed that postgraduate research students may continue to attend campus if essential to undertake their research activity.

See the revised Term Two FAQ from Student Information Scotland to provide clarity on arrangements for colleges and universities at the start of term for 2021.

The Scottish Government is also very clear that students should not return to their term-time accommodation until on-campus teaching is ready to start. This means you should stay at your current address unless you have specific wellbeing reasons not to and which you have agreed with us. However, if you need to be back on campus, please contact the Student Helpdesk on 0131 451 8899 and our Student Success Advisers will help you.

To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, we should all stay at home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary travel.  By law, in a level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose. Read the Scottish Government Guidance on travel and transport

Scottish Government statement — Semester 2 / student accommodation

I live on Campus, can I form an extended household or bubble with someone/another household?

You are not allowed to form an extended household or bubble with another household while living on Campus unless you have express written permission from the University. Extended households/bubbles can only apply if you live alone, and the majority of the households on campus are multi-person households, so in order to protect the Heriot-Watt Community extended households/bubbles are only permitted in certain circumstances and with the agreement of the University.

Accommodation update

Based on Scottish Government guidance, all remaining teaching for semester 2 will be online across our Scottish campuses.

We are, of course, disappointed that we could not make on-campus teaching a reality this semester, but our priority remains your health and safety, and that of our staff and wider community. Please stay in touch with your personal tutor, keep looking at your HW email account for any future updates.

Students currently living on campus who want to terminate their contract
Leaving your term-time address to create a new permanent household is allowed under the Scottish Government guidance. You remain able to request to cancel your accommodation contract at any time, as set out in the current Covid-19 regulations. We have extended the period where we will waive the 28-day notice period until the end of February. Please contact halls@hw.ac.uk (Edinburgh campus) or bordershalls@hw.ac.uk (Scottish Borders Campus) with the date you intend on leaving. This date must be within 28 days of your request to cancel. 
 
You are required to meet the hand-back conditions in your contract which means you need to pack up and clean your room removing all belongings, including from your kitchen, and dispose of any perishable food before returning your key to reception.  Inspections will be made once rooms and kitchens are empty to check the condition.
 
Before travelling home, you are advised to take two Lateral Flow Covid tests, and the University offers these on our Edinburgh and Borders campuses. These can be booked via the student portal. You should also make sure any outstanding accommodation charges from Semester 1 and 2 are paid. Should your student account have a net credit on leaving your accommodation you can apply by emailing: AccountsReceivable@hw.ac.uk and we will arrange to refund any net monies due and/or cancel any future Recuring Card Payment instalments. We will seek to turn round your enquiry within 30 days. Alternatively, if you are returning to the University, for the next academic year, any excess funds can remain on your student account, for future use.
Students currently living on campus who want to remain on campus
You are of course able to remain on campus for the duration of your contact. Residence Life, Safeguarding and cleaning services will continue to support you.
 
In line with the terms of your contract, should you chose not to leave and cancel your contract, please be aware that depending on how many students leave accommodation we may ask you to move, to avoid the situation where there are very low occupancy levels in a building.
 
The Scottish Government expects all students in accommodation to follow Covid guidance and laws. Any non-compliance will be treated as a serious breach in terms of disciplinary procedures, and the University will be taking a strict implementation of the Scottish Government regulations. This is to make sure we do everything, as a community, to protect the health and safety of you, other students and University staff working on campus. In line with other Universities in Scotland, we have now introduced the right to issue notice to terminate the accommodation contract of any student found to be in breach of the Covid requirements, including anti-social behaviour.
Students not currently living on campus, but with a current contract
If you wish to cancel your contract completely, your cancellation date will be the date you email halls@hw.ac.uk (Edinburgh Campus) or bordershalls@hw.ac.uk (Scottish Borders Campus) to request cancellation. 
 
While Scotland remains in Level 4 Covid restrictions, please do not return to campus to collect your belongings. Once the Scottish Government relaxes travel restrictions, we shall be in touch with information on how to book a date and time to collect your belongings. We will need to control this to ensure social distancing limitations are maintained.
 
We will inspect all unoccupied kitchens and rooms to ensure no perishables or health & safety hazards and destroy any perishable food.
 
If you have not returned to campus after the Christmas break or have not taken up residence in semester 2, you will not be charged for accommodation for semester 2 until you do return. You should make sure that any accommodation charges due for semester 1 are cleared. If you have overpaid as a result of not returning in semester 2, any balance will be credited back to you and you should email: AccountsReceivable@hw.ac.uk and we will arrange to refund any monies paid and/or cancel any future Recuring Card Payment instalments. We will seek to turn round your enquiry within 30 days.
In the interim please send your keys/ key card back to:
Main Reception, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS (Edinburgh Campus residents) Or
Jean Muir Student Village, Heriot-Watt University, Tweed Road, Galashiels, TD1 3JZ (Scottish Borders Campus residents)
 
If you are currently living off campus but feel you now need to return to live on campus and use your study bedroom rather than home accommodation, you need to contact the Student Helpline on 0131 451 8899. Scottish Government rules currently require you to obtain permission from the University before returning to your accommodation.

You can also contact the Student Helpdesk on 0131 451 8899, which is available from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, if you have any queries. Or you can access the Student Services, Careers and Wellbeing Services via the Student Portal. We are here to help you.

Latest Government guidance

Currently the Scottish Government has restricted the number of students permitted to return to campus for this semester to only those who fall into certain categories: one such category is where face to face teaching is required. At Heriot-Watt, the University has taken the decision that teaching will be online for the rest of the semester so Heriot-Watt students no longer fit into this exemption category. The Government has published further information and FAQ’s for students.

Before you travel you must undertake a valid Covid-19 test no more than three days before departure to the UK and present a certified negative result in order to board the plane

The Scottish Government has also announced that they are restricting travel further with the introduction, from Monday 15 Feb, of managed quarantine for all international travellers; there are ​currently no specific exemptions for student travellers within the regulations and guidance. 

Managed quarantine involves staying in a designated hotel for the 10 day isolation period at a cost to the traveller of £1,750; details published by the Government here and booking of the hotel quarantine will be through the UK portal

There are strict penalties for anyone failing to comply with the UK and Scottish Government restrictions and it is important that you fully understand these before travelling. 

Students and other passengers arriving elsewhere in the Common Travel Area from countries not on the UK red list and travelling onto Scotland are not required to go to a quarantine hotel.  They will be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in Scotland.  This is being kept under review.  We will provide further details of the quarantine scheme generally as soon as this is available.  If they arrive from a red list country into England, Wales or NI then they will need to go to a quarantine hotel in one of those countries and only be allowed to travel on to Scotland after they have done so.

Further information regarding the current restrictions within Scotland, can be found on the Scottish Government’s website which is updated regularly. The Scottish Government has announced that they will be setting up a welfare fund for those who cannot meet the cost of the managed quarantine, details will be published on their website.

Financial support is available to eligible students through the Student Hardship Funds.

Travelling by bus to and from our Edinburgh campus

Updated details of Lothian bus services and timetables from Saturday 26 December This includes all information for Heriot-Watt services 25, 34, 35, 45 & N25. A pdf map details the revised routes for services 35 and 45 through the campus.

Visit Lothian Buses Student Portal for further information. 

The 63 service has transferred to First, and is extended to Balerno. First have published the timetable on their website.

Student Travel with LNER 

To keep everyone safe and help students return home should they wish to do so, LNER would like to remind those planning on using our services that:

  • You must have a reservation. If your ticket does not have a seat reservation, you must secure one before boarding an LNER service. To make a reservation visit LNER.co.uk/Reserve
  • You must wear a face covering. These must be worn onboard all LNER services and at stations unless you are exempt. Otherwise you could be fined £200
  • You should limit your luggage. Only bring what you can carry as there is limited space onboard, and due to social distancing requirements, our staff members may not be able to assist you on and off the train
  • You cannot drink alcohol onboard. At present we are running an alcohol-free train policy, which means that alcohol is currently not allowed onboard any LNER services

Advice from LNER on travelling back to campus

It is recommended that students wishing to use LNER services should aim to travel between Mondays and Wednesdays when our trains are quieter and less affected by engineering works.

Weekends and peak travel periods in January and February will be affected by planned engineering work for the East Coast Upgrade.

To ensure all passengers can have a seat, reservations remain mandatory on all LNER services.

More information is available on dedicated webpage at www.LNER.co.uk/Students

ScotRail Student Travel Discount 

ScotRail has extended the validity for Christmas return tickets to 19 February 2021. The applicable tickets have ‘Student Discount’ on them and will be accepted by ticket inspectors, even with an earlier validity date. For more information, visit the ScotRail website.

Asymptomatic Testing and Semester 2 — Government FAQs

This guidance covers common questions relating to the student testing pilot programme and returning to university after the winter break.

Student Quarantine advice on arrival

How and where do I get a Covid Test?

Edinburgh Testing Centre – Cedar Suite, Hugh Nesbit Building, top floor 

On Mondays (second test is automatically reserved at the same time 3 days later on Thursday - no need to book again)

How to book an appointment 

To book your first test go to the myHWU portal and select the My Appointments tile.

There is no charge for the tests.

Once you are in the Available Appointment area select ‘COVID Test – this is a lateral flow (quick result) test’ and choose a time slot. 

Your second test will be automatically scheduled at the same time as the first appointment, but three days later (i.e. appointments on Monday will have a follow up appointment on Thursday; Tuesday appointments on Friday;). 

If you encounter any difficulties in booking an appointment, please log an enquiry by going to AskMyHW tile in your student portal.

If you need to self-isolate, please contact the Safeguarding team who can provide support and guidance on the latest Scottish Government rules regarding isolation periods. Our Safeguarding team are available through the SafeZone app or by calling 0131 451 3500.

 

What do I need to do before I return to my term-time accommodation?
You should continue to act responsibly and follow the guidance and restrictions in place in the area where you are living over the winter break to minimise the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19. We are also asking you to voluntarily reduce your social mixing for ten days before returning to university. This means going out only for essential reasons including learning, food shopping and exercise.
 
When you arrive at university, you should also minimise your social mixing for ten days. This is to help minimise the transmission of the virus.
 
We know from the latest public health guidance that by limiting your social activity, you will be helping to prevent the spread of the virus to students, staff and the community you live in.
 
You should continue to follow the guidance and restrictions for the area you are living in and should follow FACTS at all times.
Will I miss out on teaching and learning if my university advises me to return later than my original start of term date?
No, your university is working to move all your teaching and learning online from the original term start date so that you can continue your studies from home. There will be exceptions to this where critical and time-sensitive learning, assessments and work placements that cannot be delivered remotely or postponed will still be delivered in-person.
I am an international student and have already made travel arrangements to return to university at the start of term. What should I do?
You should check with your university in advance to confirm when your course will start and when you should arrive on campus. You should tell your university about your arrival date so that they can support you when you arrive. You must follow the guidance on international travel and quarantine as appropriate when arriving back in Scotland.
I am an international student — should I take any extra measures to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus?
You must self-isolate for ten full days if you arrive in Scotland from a country outside the Common Travel Area (UK, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). This is to protect against the risk of imported cases of COVID-19. Your university will support you during this time.
 
There is a list of exempt countries or territories. Travellers from these destinations are not required to self-isolate. This list is continuously reviewed, and countries can be taken off or added at any time. You should allow for the possibility of such change at short notice in making your plans.
 
If your journey includes a transit stop through a non-exempt country, you will need to self-isolate if you interact with others in that country. For example, if your journey involves a transit through an airport or by exiting your vehicle on a ferry in a non-exempt country, you will need to self-isolate.
 
Guidance on international travel and quarantine is available on the Scottish Government website.
How can I get a test when I return to my term-time accommodation?
Universities will offer testing to eligible students as part of their return.
 
Universities and colleges will be utilising lateral flow devices - a clinically validated swab antigen test that does not require a laboratory for processing.
 
Further information on testing arrangements will be provided by the Scottish Government and on the student portal in due course.
Do I have to take a test when I return to university?
You are strongly encouraged to take two tests when you return to university to help mitigate the risk of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19, but there is no legal requirement to do so.
Can I travel on public transport to go back to university?
Yes, as long as you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 or need to self-isolate because you have tested positive or are a contact. If you are using public transport, you should follow our guidance on how to travel safely. This includes wearing a face-covering unless you are exempt, planning your journey in advance to avoid busy times and routes, washing/ sanitising your hands regularly, and keeping your distance while travelling where possible.
My family home is elsewhere in the UK — can I still return to university in Scotland?
Yes. If you are a student studying in Wales, England or Northern Ireland you will still be able to return to university once your university has advised you to do so.