Here you will find frequently asked questions (FAQs) and information for students and staff on COVID-19 which reflect the current position and which we hope you will find reassuring. 

Last updated: 21 October 2020

In addition to the general FAQs, you will find more FAQs specific to you on the following pages:

FAQs for Students

FAQs for Staff

FAQs for International Students

FAQs for Applicants and Offer Holders

Accommodation FAQs

We also have a dedicated - for COVID-related questions from students and their families.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus and what should I do if I have symptoms?

For advice on symptoms and what to do if you think you have coronavirus, visit NHS Inform.

If you suspect you have coronavirus, please stay home. If you experience symptoms while on campus, please tell Security immediately (wherever possible by phone - 0131 474 0000 ext 2222 - rather than travelling across campus to see them in person).

Staff - if you are self-isolating or suspect you have coronavirus or have been diagnosed with coronavirus, it is important that you advise us. Please tell Security (0131 474 0000 ext 2222) and email the Head of Human Resources at Please also advise your line manager.

Students - during semesters, you need to tell us if you are self-isolating or suspect you have coronavirus or have been diagnosed with coronavirus. Please tell Security (0131 474 0000 ext 2222) plus Accommodation (0131 474 0000 x 4902) if you live on campus, and contact the School Office -

Not sure if you have COVID or a cold? See the guidance on the Scottish Government’s student information website.

Getting a Coronavirus Test

You can have a test (swab test) to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a test. You can choose to take the test:

  • at a test site near you today and get your result tomorrow
  • with a home test kit

Book your coronavirus test online

Students can also book a test by calling 0800 028 2816.

If you require assistance in booking a test you can call 0300 303 2713 (charged at your standard network rate).

How do I book a coronavirus test?

You can have a test (swab test) to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) now. Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a test. You can choose to take the test:

  • at a test site near you today and get your result tomorrow
  • with a home test kit

Book your coronavirus test online

Students can also book a test by calling 0800 028 2816.

If you require assistance in booking a test you can call 0300 303 2713 (charged at your standard network rate). 

Students - in the event that you need assistance in arranging transport to a testing site, you should contact either Accommodation services or Security for assistance.  If you live in the halls of residence, speak to the Accommodation Services team as they have a supply of testing kits for use in particular circumstances.

Staff - if you are self-isolating or have been diagnosed with coronavirus, it is important that you advise us. Please email the Head of Human Resources at Please also advise your line manager.

What are the precautionary measures I should take?

Please remember FACTS, ie

More general information is below.

  • washing your hands often - with soap and water, for a full 20 seconds - then dry them. Use alcohol based hand sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. If you don't have a tissue, sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
  • washing your hands:
    • before leaving home;
    • after using the toilet;
    • after sporting activities;
    • before food preparation;
    • before eating any food, including snacks;.
  • use an alcohol based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap, and water are not available.
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Do remember that washing hands with soap and water is the most effective means of preventing a spread and using hand sanitisers can give a false sense of cleanliness, in particular if their use is not followed up by proper hand washing.
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • avoid leaving open food stuffs such as crisps or platters of sandwiches in shared areas
  • ensure any crockery and cutlery in shared kitchen areas is cleaned thoroughly with warm water and washing up liquid, dried well and stored
  • if you are worried about your symptoms or those of a student or colleague, please call your GP or NHS24 (111). Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment but phone.
  • If you are concerned because you have an existing medical condition or disability, please discuss this with your GP in the first instance.
  • If you do not have symptoms and are looking for general information on coronavirus, a free NHS helpline has been set up on 0800 028 2816. The helpline is open:Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 10.00pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 9.00am to 5.00pm
  • see further information on the HPS COVID-19 website and NHS Inform.

When should I self-isolate?

You should self-isolate immediately if:
  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste).
  • you've tested positive for coronavirus.
  • you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive.
  • you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Protect.
If you are not sure whether or not you should self-isolate in any particular scenario, you can seek advice via the NHS WebChat tool. See Test and Protect for more information on self-isolation.

If I need to self-isolate, how long do I have to do so?

All positive cases need to isolate for 10 days from symptom onset date.

All household members/flatmates need isolate for 14 days from the symptom start date of the first symptomatic case.

If any exposed household member flatmates then subsequently become positive then they need to isolate for 10 days from their symptom start date.

What support is the University offering students who are self-isolating?

If you do need to self-isolate, we will support you, and if you live on campus, we will help you access food and medicine. We can help with accessing online food deliveries from our on-campus caterers and can supply essentials in emergency situation. We are keeping in direct contact with all those self-isolating and will ensure that you can keep up with your studies.

Should I self-isolate if I come into contact with someone who has COVID-like symptoms or is awaiting a test result?

If you think you've been in contact with someone who has coronavirus, but you do not have symptoms and have not been told to self-isolate, simply continue to adhere to social distancing rules (unless you share a household with the person with symptoms, in which case you need to self-isolate).

If you are not sure whether or not you should self-isolate in any particular scenario, you can seek advice via the NHS WebChat tool. See Test and Protect for more information on self-isolation.

What is QMU’s route map for returning to normal operations?

Our route map mirrors the Scottish Government’s route map for easing of lockdown and is based on guidance from government and other national sources. It is flexible to allow for any changing circumstances.

Underpinning our route map is our commitment to protecting the health and safety and wellbeing of our students and staff, and our determination to help enable a fulfilling all-round student experience for all students from the very start of the academic year.

We aim to provide a working environment which seems as close to normal as possible.

More information on our plans are available in our updates for staff and students.

Is QMU's campus open?

Yes, the campus is open and fully operational, with COVID-related adaptations.

Where staff are not delivering face to face teaching or services, they are generally working from home, and contactable by email.

What does physical distancing mean for the campus and how is it being implemented?

Timetable planning is central to managing physical distancing on campus as it helps us manage the number of people on campus at any one time for taught, self-development and organised social activities.

We are fortunate in that our modern, airy campus is well suited to enabling physical distancing.

The specific physical distancing measures that we take at any time will be in accordance with Scottish Government guidance and based on a full risk assessment.

Measures nclude access control, one way routing, staggered starts to timetabled classes, breaks to enable cleaning etc.

Also factored into our planning is off-campus activity in terms of staff and student travel.

For more information, see our page on physical distancing, campus life and hygiene.

Do I need to wear a face covering on campus?

The University expects everyone to wear a face covering when moving around the campus and when physical distancing is not possible. This is in line with current Scottish Government advice that face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces where physical distancing is difficult and you might come into close contact with a lot of people. In accordance with Scottish Government requirements, the use of face coverings within the LRC is mandatory. We respect the rights of those who cannot wear face coverings for medical reasons. Face coverings will not be required in classes, unless physical distancing is compromised for some reason. Some staff may opt to wear face visors or face coverings when teaching.

How can I contact University staff and departments who are not working on campus?

Where there are not teaching or delivering services on campus, most staff will continue to work from home for now, and are contactable by email.

We continue to offer the full range of student services (including face to face where possible), with adaptations as appropriate.

Useful contacts 

Disability Advice
Finance Office
Graduate School
Human Resources
International Office
Learning Resource Centre (Library)
Press Office
Research and Knowledge Exchange
School Office
Student Funding
Student Services
Students’ Union

How do I access the Learning Resource Centre?

The Learning Resource Centre is open, with access by student/staff access card. No booking is required, but if you have any specific requirements please contact the LRC staff in advance. The LRC is  open from 8am to 9pm every day staffed 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday and 1pm to 3pm Saturday and Sunday.

The tiered area of the main atrium, with study spaces, will be open 24 hours a day, with vending facilities available. Access is via student card, ie no booking required.



Where can I find guidance on how to look after my mental health and wellbeing?

There are various helpful sources  of information including:.

Coronavirus and your wellbeing - Mind

What do to if you're anxious about coronavirus - YoungMinds 

Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 outbreak - World Health Organisation (pdf)

These resources supplement the University resources available to students through QMU’s Student Services and staff through the HR team (including our Employee Assistance Programme - intranet link).

Our Wellbeing service also has a webpage with useful resources.

What support can the University offer students who are feeling anxious or unhappy because of the current situation?

Please remember that that there are staff across the University here to help when you need it and it is important to talk to someone about your anxiety. Do draw on the support services around you as and when you need them. StudentService's Counselling and Wellbeing teams are providing both face to face support sessions and online/phone support. You can book an appointment either through Student Central or by sending us an email. 

You can also contact your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) (names on the Student Portal)

We are all here to help.

You might also want to sign up for Togetherall which is available to you through the University. This is a digital mental health support service which is available online, 24/7, and is completely anonymous so you can express yourself freely and openly.




Is the ASSIST helpdesk operational as usual?

The Helpdesk team continue to be your one-stop shop for reporting any faults or problems with Accommodation, Facilities, IT and Library Services.

To log a job with the team, please drop them an email (Student queries via and all other queries and a member of the team will be happy to help. They are available from 8am to 7pm on weekdays.  

Is the Sports Centre open?

QMU Sports Centre is open and the Sports Team are looking forward to welcoming you to the facilities.

We have made some changes, guided by industry and Government experts, in order to provide you with a safe and enjoyable environment where you can visit and workout.

Facilities available:

Fitness Suite

Weights Room

Exercise Pods

Outdoor gym


Fitness Classes (coming soon)

All facilities must be booked in advance. To join the Centre and make a booking, please visit our website:, contact the Sports Team at or call 0131 474 000 – ask for ‘sports reception’ when prompted.


is the Finance Office open?

The Finance Office is open and the team can be contacted by telephone on 0131 474 0000 on Monday – Wednesday 9.00am – 5.00pm and Thursdays 9.00am – 3.30pm or email the finance office at

Did all courses start/re-start on 14 September?

 Our Induction Week began for most students on 7th September, with teaching and learning for most beginning on 14th September. There are a few exceptions which will not commence in September which you can find at our applicant FAQs.

More information on our plans for the autumn semester

Can you give some examples of how you are facilitate social distancing on campus?

Drawing on a range of expert advice, we have a wide range of actions in place to facilitating social distancing, including staggering lunch periods, block teaching to reduce on campus circulation and need for hygiene measures between class changes, and staggered starts and finishes for classes. We are also taking into account public transport timetables. For more information, see our Campus Life, Physical Distancing and Hygiene page.

What is the extent of activity in Semester 1?

Induction Week began 7th September and teaching and learning started on 14th September (with a few exceptions as set in the message of 29 May).

We are maximising opportunities for face to face delivery in support of the student experience.

Lectures are being delivered online and recorded (by staff, at home). This means that students can access online lectures at a time that suits them, rather than all students having to “attend” a lecture at the same time. As we will have to allow for social distancing on campus, the removal of lectures from the face to face timetable frees up space and time for the other elements of teaching, such as seminars and tutorials, where students will gain more benefit from face to face interaction.

Most seminars and tutorials are being delivered face to face on campus, with practicals generally postponed to seminar 2.


How is teaching being delivered in the first semester of the upcoming academic year?

All new first year students will receive six hours on-campus teaching per week from the very start of their course, in two to three hour blocks across two to three days a week. All new (full-time) postgraduate students will receive five hours on-campus teaching from the very start of their courses, again delivered in two to three hour blocks across two days a week.

If at any point in the semester Scottish Government health guidelines require it, this activity will be moved online for the required period.

Level 2-4 students will also receive a combination of on-campus and online learning, the balance of which will vary according to programme requirements.

The level of teaching of students in other years (i.e. not first year and PG courses) will be decided by the programme team, working within certain parameters. Where programme teams have questions or concerns about parameters and arrangements, they should contact their Head of Division.

The teaching day will be extended so that it runs from 9am to 8pm, though we will minimise the number of times any student or staff member is scheduled to be on campus in the evening. No student or staff member will be timetabled to be on campus for more than 8 hours on any day. The timetabling team will do everything possible to ensure the best use of space, to avoid, for example classes having to move from one seminar room to another as far as possible.

We will be allowing for physical distancing in our face to face teaching.

What are the University’s plans for teaching in semester two, including for those courses that are scheduled for delayed start in semester two (ie starting in semester two instead of semester one)?

Anticipating a continued requirement for social distancing and other COVID-19 health and safety restrictions for the next six months, we are planning on maintaining our current blended approach to learning and teaching into semester two. Our blended approach involves a mix of on-campus and online activity. The actual number of hours you will be scheduled for will vary by programme and level of study. This variation is to take account of students' different levels of familiarity with the University's approach to learning and teaching, its support systems and the requirements of individual programmes, and the extent to which students have already had the opportunity to form social networks with their peers. Digital learning opportunities (such as online lectures and online live discussion) will be provided to compensate for any reduction in standard levels of timetabled on campus learning.

We can confirm that those courses which have been postponed from semester one to start in semester two WILL start in semester two. The semester two timetable will also accommodate some delayed activity from semester one.

As with semester one, we will not be holding on-campus written examinations at the end of semester two. We will update this page with further details for semester two, including the timetable, when they become finalised.


Are we considering the car parking requirements of those for those who wish to avoid public transport?

Through our timetable planning, we are spreading out activity across the day to spread the load on the car park and other facilities and thus maximise the availability of parking space.

Plus, greater flexibility to increase on-campus parking capacity has been introduced, including options for daily /part-day pay-as-you-go parking as well as seasonal and annual permits.

What health protection measures are in place on campus?

We have a range of campus adaptations in place based on a full University-wide COVID risk assessment.

Specific measures will depend on government guidance at the time, but, for example, we have installed a thermal camera at the main entrance to monitor the temperature of people arriving on campus, one way routes, sanitiser stations, re-arrangement of seating etc. We have also made adjustments to our ventilation systems to optimise air flow.

For more information, see

How are you enabling social interaction for students on campus, and are students encouraged to spend time on campus?

This is the focus of the work undertaken through our Student Experience Business Recovery Work Stream.

We are, of course, acutely conscious that student life is about much more than study. We also know that we must live up to our reputation for providing a friendly learning community, and are determined to do so.

While any requirements for physical distancing are changing the way we operate our on-campus Students’ Union, sports facilities and social spaces, we are doing everything possible to maximise the facilities available to students.

More information on your student experience this autumn.

What access is there to catering facilities on campus just now?

We continue to offer a wide range of catering options, including in the evenings.  More information on catering provision and COVID-related processes.

See below for catering available during the temporary period of tighter restrictions announced by the Scottish Government in October.

  • The 1875 food court will be open as usual.
  • Starbucks will be open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am until 6pm.
  • There will be a delivery service to the Starbucks spaces from Maggie’s, from 11am until 9pm, 7 days a week.
  • Maggie’s will operate as a café selling meals, coffees and non-alcoholic beverages from 11am until 6pm each day. From 6-9 pm, Maggie’s will also be available to students living on campus, on a pre-booking basis only, in line with an exemption in the temporary restrictions which allows on-site dining facilities for students in student accommodation.

More details:


  • Open Monday – Friday 8.30am until 6pm selling usual Starbucks goodies & beverages.
  • Click & Collect will be available from Monday.
  • Delivery service to the Starbucks spaces from Maggie’s is available 11am - 9pm, 7 days a week.
  • Follow Maggie’s Facebook page for details of how to order.



  • Open as normal,  8.30am – 3pm



  • Operating as a café selling meals, coffees & non-alcoholic beverages from 11am – 6pm.
  • Also available to students living on campus from 6pm – 9pm on a pre-booking only basis via the Maggie’s Facebook page. Proof of residence will be required.
  • From 11am – 10pm daily, we will be offering a full shop including essentials, treats and off license options, take-away options and delivery service.
  • Online and contactless ordering is available via the Round App - look for Maggie’s Shop on the App. Details of how to do this will be available on Maggie’s Facebook page.


Are we prepared for any increase in COVID-19 infections?

Our plans are designed to be flexible so that we can react promptly to any developments.

Rest assured  that we have been planning, and continue to plan, for any local outbreak, liaising with Health Protection Scotland, other Edinburgh institutions and council officials. This will help mitigate the impact of any local outbreak on our campus operations and University life, helping us to ensure that we can consistently provide our students with the education and support that they need and deserve.

You can find our COVID incident plan on our intranet.

Looking after one another.

We understand that this is a worrying time and so we ask you to look out for one another. Please also be mindful of how your actions and words, however motivated, may be perceived by others.

Where can I find the recording of the welcome talks for new and returning students this autumn?

Check out the short videos setting out some of the steps we are taking to help ensure a positive and safe experience for all when we re-open.

Teaching and Learning


A Quality Student Experience


Campus Life and Physical Distancing


Travel and Transport



More FAQs

FAQs for Students

FAQs for Staff

FAQs for International Students

FAQs for Applicants and Offer Holders

Accommodation FAQs

QMU COVID Helpline

Our dedicated COVID email and telephone helplines are now open for students who want to speak directly to someone at QMU about any COVID-related questions or concerns. 

Our lines are open:

Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday - Sunday 11am - 1pm

Show Contacts

QMU COVID Helpline

0131 376 1748
Listen to the official QMU Podcast >
QMU Ready to welcome students in September