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Quarantine rules and information on the process for people entering Scotland.

At 4am on Tuesday 8 June, some countries are changing position on the red/amber/green list for international travel.

If you arrive back in Scotland from one of the affected countries on or after 4am on Tuesday 8 June, you must follow the new rules. 

Visit international travel and managed isolation (quarantine) for more information 

If you are a student and have further questions or need advice please raise these with your Academic Supervisor in the first instance. Similarly, if you are a member of staff, questions should be raised with your Line Manager.

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, of managed quarantine for all international travellers; there are ​currently no specific exemptions for student travellers within the regulations and guidance. 

If you arrive in Scotland from a red list country, you’ll need to quarantine at a hotel in Scotland for 10 days (11 nights) as soon as you arrive. 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.

Student Quarantine advice on arrival

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.

How and where do I get a Covid Test?

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

Each Monday (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.

Travelling by

  • Plane: Partnered with Edinburgh Airport for the #LetsFlySafe campaign to ensure the safety of students travelling across borders. More details on getting from Edinburgh Airport to campus will be shared here soon.
  • Bus: Buses to the Edinburgh campus will continue and increase their services; dropping you direct from the city to main reception in 20 minutes.
  • Bike: A cycling friendly campus with Bike Bothy to rent bikes, bike shelters to look after your own, Just Eat Cycle hire points and networks to cycle from city centre without using the main road.
  • Other: All Transportation in the Edinburgh, Galashiels and Orkney area, including Trains, Taxis and Trams have increased their services in line with travel safety guidelines. 

Face coverings travelling to and from Campus

The University follows the Scottish Government Guidance on the Use of Face Coverings.  A face covering must be worn by all passengers and staff or operators.

You must wear a face covering before travelling by any means of transport and must keep it on until you leave unless an exemption applies to you.

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

For more information if you're taking the train to go to or come home from university visit - www.LNER.co.uk/Students

Travelling to our Orkney campus

For applicants who have an unconditional firm offer and are planning on travelling to Orkney for postgraduate study, you may find the following links helpful in assisting you with your travel arrangements as you plan your journey. 

The Scottish Government have announced, as of April 2021, that all visitors to the Northern Isles should undertake lateral flow tests before travelling. If students are planning on visiting the Orkney Islands, they are encouraged to take 2 tests before embarking on their journey to Orkney. One test should be taken 3 days before departure, and then one on the day of departure. If you test positive, you should book a PCR test through NHS Inform.

Please note that Northlink operate a service from Aberdeen-Kirkwall (a 6 hour crossing) and another route from Scrabster in Thurso to Stromness (90 minute crossing). It is important that you book in advance and adhere to the Coronavirus guidelines stated on the Northlink website

Additionally, there are regular flights leaving Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen which fly direct to Kirkwall in Orkney. Please check out these links for further information: 

https://www.loganair.co.uk/destinations/scotland/orkney/

https://www.hial.co.uk/kirkwall-airport/

If you are planning on coming to Orkney and are from a country on the quarantine list, then you will require to quarantine for 10 days due to Covid-19. As it is likely that you will arrive directly to Orkney (eg your incoming flight will arrive likely in Edinburgh or Glasgow or London,) then it makes sense for you to quarantine in your first UK arrival destination for 10 days before coming to Orkney, although this may vary depending on your circumstances.  If you are an overseas student, the Admissions team will have been in touch about your CAS and VISA. Please ensure you leave plenty time to get this in order before leaving your home country. 

We look forward to seeing you! Stay safe, and don’t forget we are here to support you, every step of the way.