Coronavirus Position statement on University ventilation response

On 10 August 2021, the Scottish Government updated the operational guidance for universities, colleges and Community Learning and Development (CLD) to support providers in the planning for and delivery of academic year 2021-22. This covered guidance on ventilation as one of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) mitigation measures.

The summary advice provided in the guidance on reducing the spread of coronavirus outlines the following:

  • let in as much fresh air as possible
  • be aware of and plan for the relevant occupancy level
  • air rooms between uses regularly throughout the day
  • ensure adequate ventilation
  • understand your building's ventilation system - it is important to make sure that ventilation systems and/or extractor fans are used correctly

The University has consistently implemented the Scottish Government advice and that of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and Federation of European Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and will continue to do so.

The measures taken to ensure the safety of all building users (students and staff) include:

  • all the measures that have been recommended in the Government advice have been fully implemented, and have been in place throughout the return to campus activities alongside additional safety measures approved by the Executive Team
  • air-handing units have been adjusted to allow these to operate on full fresh air with no recirculation
  • the building management system controls have been altered to ensure that ventilation air handling units operate 24 hrs per day. This ensures that buildings are continuously being purged with fresh-air before, during and after use
  • all planned maintenance of ventilation, heating and cooling systems has been carried out as scheduled throughout the period of the pandemic to ensure that all of systems have been tested and are working properly
  • all ventilation systems within the University have been designed to comply with building regulations. In addition, teaching rooms have been re-organised to allow continued physical distancing at 1m (with 2m distancing in circulation areas), and occupancy has been capped by the University to a maximum of 50 attendees. The existing ventilation rates in all of our mechanically ventilated rooms exceed the statutory requirements
  • rooms with natural ventilation will be managed in line with Government advice. Rooms that are considered unsuitable will be taken out of use and reassessed prior to use through Estates Services utilisation of CO2 monitors