COVID-19: advice for staff and students

General Guidance

General information the current Coronavirus situation, including what we know about the virus, signs & symptoms, what we can do to prevent the spread and the University's response & plans.
On this page

What are the signs/symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater).

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual


A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back (you don’t need to measure your temperature). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.

Some people will have more serious symptoms, including pneumonia or difficulty breathing, which might require admission to hospital.


What are the preventative measures to help reduce the spread of infection?

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government has introduced (23 March 2020) three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
  2. Closing certain businesses and venues.
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.


Every person in the UK must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on Monday 23 March. The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

The government will look again at these measures after three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

You can reduce your risk of getting and spreading the infection by:

  • avoiding direct hand contact with your eyes, nose and mouth
  • maintaining good hand hygiene
  • avoiding direct contact with people that have a respiratory illness and avoiding using their personal items such as their mobile phone
  • covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with disposable tissues and disposing of them in the nearest waste bin after use
  • following the NHS stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection if someone in your household has symptoms
  • making sure everyone in your household follows the Government advice to stay at home as much as possible and to stay away from other people
  • following the NHS stay at home advice if someone in your household has symptoms
  • making sure everyone in your household follows the NHS social distancing advice, especially anyone in a vulnerable group
  • helping those at extremely high risk of severe illness with COVID-19 to follow the NHS shielding advice

What is social distancing?

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). They are:

  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) - these symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport - when possible, alter your travel times to avoid rush hour
  • Work from home, where possible - your employer should support you to do this
  • Avoid large gatherings and small gatherings in public spaces - pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently closed as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family - keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services


We strongly advise everyone to follow these measures as much as they can, and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with their friends and family. This is especially important if you:

  • are over 70
  • are pregnant
  • have an underlying health condition


This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.


Caring for yourself

What do I do if I have a cough or fever?

If you’ve developed a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature in the last 7 days, stay at home for 7 days from the start of your symptoms even if you think your symptoms are mild. Do not go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital. Read NHS Inform's stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

You should phone 111 if:

  • your symptoms worsen during home isolation, especially if you’re in a high or extremely high risk group
  • breathlessness develops or worsens, particularly if you’re in a high or extremely high risk group
  • your symptoms haven’t improved in 7 days


If you have a medical emergency, phone 999 and tell them you have COVID-19 symptoms. The Scottish Government has announced that as of 13 March anyone developing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (new continuous cough and/or high temperature), however mild should self-isolate for seven days.

If symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days then you are advised to phone their GP or NHS24 (111). Public Health England (PHE) have produced advice for people who have symptoms and are self-isolating.

Any student who has had their study impacted due to self-isolation/ illness relating to COVID-19, should complete the COVID-19 Deferral form.

These forms should be completed and submitted through your RGU email account to your School at the designated email address.


If you’re a staff member, you should phone your line manager as this will have an impact on your ability to work from home. You can return to work after seven days if you're improving. However, if you are still unwell after seven days or being tested for COVID-19 you must inform your line manager.

If you are a student living on any of the RGU Student Accommodation sites and need to self-isolate we would like you to notify us so we can support you fully. Please call 07801794064 and inform the person who answers the phone of your name, your flat number and the fact you are self-isolating. If you stay in private accommodation, contact the Student Help Point.

If you have to stay at home:

  • plan ahead and ask others for help to make sure you can stay at home successfully
  • ask your friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home
  • stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible
  • sleep alone if possible
  • wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds regularly
  • stay away from the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible
  • consider whether older people and those with underlying health conditions can stay in another house while you need to stay at home
  • make sure that you keep in touch with friends and family by phone or through social media

Caring for others

A member of my close family is currently unwell with flu-like symptoms. What should I do?

If you live with someone who is currently unwell, the person who has flu-like symptoms should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms started. All other household members, including yourself, should stay at home for 14 days even if you don’t have symptoms yourself. The 14-day period starts from the first day the person had symptoms.

If you develop symptoms within the 14 days, you need to stay at home for 7 days from the day your symptoms started. You should do this even if it takes them over the 14-day isolation period.

If you have children, you can find advice about staying at home with them through Parent Club.

Read the NHS stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

If you are a staff member, and you need time off to care for dependants you must contact your Line Manager to inform them of your absence and request leave under either the Dependants Leave Policy or normal annual leave arrangements.

Students who have been required to care for dependents will be given appropriate academic support.


What is the university doing in response to the current outbreak?

The wellbeing of our staff and students will always be our top priority. In response to government guidance, we have taken the decision to close the campus buildings to students from 5pm on Friday 20 March. The includes the closure of the university library, computer labs and RGU Sport. Staff have been asked to work from home and resources have been available to support them.


What plans does the university have in place to deal with cases of COVID-19 arising on campus?

If there are confirmed cases at RGU, primary concern will be for the welfare of those affected, to ensure they receive appropriate support and treatment and to provide accommodation for isolation if necessary. In addition, RGU will observe the normal protocols of patient confidentiality but, with NHS Scotland, will ensure you are given appropriate information and advice to be able to manage the risks.

If public health authorities believe you have been in contact with a known case, you will be informed, and offered appropriate guidance.

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