The SAMS facilities are officially closed until further notice. Only our student residence remains open. Most of our teaching, research and enterprise activities continue as many staff work from home.
Our buildings remain operational, as we provide some essential services, for example monitoring for food safety and to give access to the emergency recompression chamber. We also have to continue our care for the living organisms in our aquaria and algal and microbial collections. Any building issues should be reported to the maintenance manager, Iain MacCorquodale. For health, safety and environment issues, please contact our business continuity officer, Christopher Clay. The security phone number is 07767 245 164.
The following measures have been taken to help reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus within our community and will remain in place until further notice:
1.) All face-to-face undergraduate teaching has ceased and teaching is delivered online.
2.) Staff and research students work from home.
3.) The Ocean Explorer Centre is closed.
Email is our main form of communication with staff, students and tenants regarding Covid-19 and SAMS. We thus expect you to check your emails regularly.
For the latest information from the University of the Highlands and Islands on Covid-19 please visit https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/students/support/coronavirus-covid-19/.
The SAMS Covid-19 response is coordinated by our deputy director, Prof Axel Miller (Mob: 07824 777732).
For the latest information from the university on Covid-19 please visit https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/students/support/coronavirus-covid-19/.
LATEST UPDATE (26 May 2020)
The university has today declared their intension to start the next academic term as planned, with induction starting in the week of 31 August and teaching from Monday 7 September 2020. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will thus ensure that this return will be safe and planned in line with Scottish Government health measures and guidance. We will draw on the university's 20 year experience and knowledge to deliver our course in the autumn term using a blended approach to teaching. This includes video conferencing, inventive remote learning technologies and some face-to-face teaching where it is safe and important to do this. Your course leader will be in touch with you directly nearer the time with the details for the BSc Marine Science programme.
Please also note that the university has made the difficult decision that there will be no graduation ceremonies, either in person or virtually, during 2020. Students finishing this year will have their awards conferred and graduating in absentia. We are working to mark your achievements and to arrange special events in 2021 when it is safe to do so.
Most communication between UHI, SAMS and our students will be sent by e-mail. It is the students' responsibility to check their e-mails reguarly.
If you, or someone you live with, has symptoms, you must ALL remain at home in isolation for 14 days. After 14 days without symptoms you can return to following the general government advice. If someone in 'group isolation' develops symptoms during the 14 day isolation period, they must remain at home for 7 days from the start of symptoms, consequently they may be isolated for longer than 14 days. Please inform Polly Crooks (undergrads) or Anna Kane (postgrads) if you develop symptoms or are self-isolating. More on self-isolation...
Current undergraduate students including Erasmus students at SAMS UHI
Face-to-face teaching of the BSc Marine Science BSc and its associated streams in Arctic Studies and Oceanography and Robotics has stopped, but the programme continues to be delivered making use of distance learning tools and methods. Your learning will continue via the Brightspace Virtual Learning Environment. Your module leaders are in touch through Brightspace run the module including assessments.
If you normally access student support, this will also continue via Polly Crooks and / or your Personal Academic Tutor. This will be through telephone or Skype.
Students can stay at home in Oban or elsewhere. Please inform John Howe, Polly Crooks and your PAT should you plan to leave the area before the end of term.
Any potential incompletion of data for final year dissertations caused by the measures to manage Covid-19 will not be affecting students' marks for this module. Please discuss your circumstances with your supervisors.
We are making alternative arrangements for your May exams and are being communicated via Brightspace and/or e-mail.
We work hard to ensure that this pandemic is not detrimental to your education and grades. You will receive module grades and degree classifications that represent your achievements fairly.
SAMS UHI students on exchange at UNIS or VHL
Please follow the arrangements and advice of your host university.
Current Erasmus Mundus ACES+ students
Face-to-face teaching of the Erasmus Mundus Masters Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society Plus (ACES+) has stopped, but the programme continues to be delivered making use of distance learning tools and methods. Your learning will continue via the procedures put in place by your respective Programme Leader/ Dissertation Supervisor(s). Your module leaders will be in touch through email, or Brightspace/ email, in the case of the Dissertation module.
If you normally access student support, this will also continue via Helen Bury and / or your Personal Academic Tutor. This will be through telephone or Skype.
Students can stay at their residence in Crete or elsewhere. Please inform the ACES+ Programme Leader at your host institute, plus Helen Bury and your PAT should you plan to return to your home country before the end of term.
All students in the Dissertation phase of their degree, must by now have switched to a ‘desk-based’ study. Please discuss your plans for switching to a desk-based project with your supervisors and inform the module leader of the new title (if required) as soon as possible. Alternative arrangements for submission of the written and oral components of the Dissertation Module will be communicated via Brightspace and email.
Alternative arrangements for assessments at the University of Crete (Semester 2) will be communicated via email.
We are all working hard to ensure that this pandemic is not detrimental to your education and grades. You will receive module grades and degree classifications that represent your achievements fairly.
Postgraduate research students
Please follow instructions for staff. Keep your supervisor and the SAMS graduate school (rather than line-manager and HR) informed about any issues and changes in cirucumstances.
Student accommodation will remain available for our students at the current rate and in line with existing agreements. Accommodation in the Margaret Barnes Building can be made available over the summer should students not be able to return home. Please contact the accommodation team at SAMS for more details regarding accommodation in the Margaret Barnes Building.
Students at Distillery Apartments in Oban should contact West Property if they have any queries regarding their accommodation, as this is property not owned or managed by SAMS.
Students with private rental agreements will need contact their landlords, if any issues should arise.
We welcome enquiries from students interested in booking accommodation for the next academic year 2020/2021. To register your interest, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Whilst the current situation means all accommodation is under review and we are unable to allocate any accommodation at this time, we are continuing to monitor the situation and will contact applicants once this is possible.
Our main communication avenue with staff is by email, and email updates supercede any information given here.
If you suspect you or someone you care for might have contracted Covid-19, you must follow NHS advice. Please inform HR and your line manager and add sick leave to Ciphr. You must not return to work until you are fully healthy.
Staff who are feeling well should protect themselves against infection by following government advice.
Since the closure of the building all staff are to work from home. If you have not already done so, please discuss your circumstances with your line manager and HR.
All overseas business travel for SAMS staff and students is suspended and any UK travel must only take place if deemed essential.
Tenants share the facilities with SAMS and if you require acceess for essential maintenance or service delivery please let us know.
Please inform your liaison person and the facilities manager if your needs for accesssing the facility change.
See the front tab for emergency contact details.
Our stores remain open for deliveries.
Essential contractors will be able to access the site - please liaise with your host.
Our Ocean Explorer Centre is closed.
Our teaching and facilities are closed and we thus cannot host visits from academic colleagues and research students at this time. Please contact your host to make alternative arrangements.
Our subsidiary company SRSL continues its operations and can be contacted through email.
We understand that for some, self-isolation at home may be an extremely difficult and challenging time. During the Coronavirus pandemic, there has sadly been increased national focus on mental health and domestic abuse. Tragically, authorities and charities have seen considerable increases in emergency interventions and those seeking help.
Please know that help is available and SAMS is here to support our staff and students in every way possible.
From Welfare Officers and Student Support Services to listings of support organisations and resources, SAMS is here to help where we can. Please click the relevant links below to visit our new mental health and domestic abuse support web pages:
Gender-Based and Sexual Violence
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, help is available.
You should not delay seeking help or reporting domestic abuse because of the current Coronavirus situation. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse and needs help, call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse 24hr helpline on 0800 027 1234 or visit www.safer.scot
If you feel someone is in immediate danger call 999. #YouAreNotAlone.
The UHI gender-based and sexual violence webpage also has an extensive list of local and national support organisations.
Advice for people who are abusive to their partners
If you recognise that you are hurting your loved ones and are worried about your behavior, there is support available that can help you to take control of your actions and become safe around your family.
Freephone: 0808 8024040
Respect is an anonymous and confidential helpline for those who are harming their families. They offer help for domestic abuse perpetrators who want to change, giving confidential advice & support to help you stop being violent. A webchat service is available Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10am to 11am and 3pm to 4pm.
Mental health charity Mind also has a web page offering help and advice for abusive and violent behavior and links to support organisations.
Experiencing such rapid change in our daily lives can be overwhelming and affect how we feel. We understand that for some, self-isolation at home may be an extremely difficult and challenging time.
Please know that help is available and SAMS is here to support our staff and students in every way possible.
From Welfare Officers and Student Support Services to listings of support organisations and resources, SAMS is here to help our staff and students manage their mental health during such uncertain times. Please click the relevant links below to visit our new mental health and domestic abuse support web pages:
Big White Wall
All of our staff and students now have access to Big White Wall, a digital mental health support service which is available online, 24/7, and is completely anonymous so you can express yourself freely and openly.
Professionally trained wall guides monitor the community to ensure the safety and anonymity of all members. In addition to Big White Wall’s online community, you will have access to a wealth of useful resources and can work through tailored self-help courses covering topics such as anxiety, sleep, weight management, depression and many more.
For information on how to register, head to bit.ly/2K0N22j
We are complying fully with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. This includes using risk assessments to carefully plan and enable key activities to resume across all aspects of our work.
Managing the return to work
We are managing a phased return-to-work to allow staff and postgraduate students to resume key activities that they cannot complete at home.
We shall ensure social distancing by continuing to use technology to replace face-to-face meetings.
Temporary offices will be created to provide greater space for those who share rooms.
We shall continue to ask workers to respect others and to avoid the unnecessary use of the cafes and gathering in shared spaces, including corridors.
An enhanced cleaning schedule is being put in place covering common touchpoints across the site like corridor doors and lifts. We shall encourage doors (not including fire doors) to be propped open to reduce the need to contact potentially contaminated surfaces and ensure good air circulation.
We shall continue to promote handwashing as one of the most effective tools to control the virus and shall ensure stocks of hygiene supplies are maintained. We will endeavour to maintain adequate stocks of hand sanitisers where handwashing facilities are not readily available but recognise there are prioritised sectors in the UK which may have a greater need.
Maintaining the health and safety of homeworkers
We shall continue to help people to work from home where this is possible. This includes making resources available to support the physical and mental health of workers and providing IT support.
Staff and students are regularly reminded to remain in touch with their colleagues and to report any concerns or difficulties.
Enabling work in the laboratory and the field
With the backing of senior management, Laboratory Managers, the Ships Master and the Ships Operations Manager will put in place procedures to allow their spaces to be used safely.
This will include implementing booking systems to manage worker numbers, using designated workstations that maintain 2m distance between colleagues and carefully managing shared resources across the site.
Only where the risk of infection cannot be maintained by other means will consideration be given to the use of additional PPE, which may include the need for respiratory protection.
Extra cleaning materials will be made available for workers to use on shared equipment. Laboratory Managers may introduce additional measures to reduce cross contamination with equipment such as the use of disposable PPE and temporal spacing where other controls are not suitable.
Maintaining health and safety standards
SAMS will ensure that the risks on site through fire, water hygiene and equipment safety are managed through the normal inspection, maintenance and testing of systems. Additional maintenance measures will be put in place for the little used areas of buildings.
The impact that reduced staff numbers may have on the management of fire safety, first aid and other critical areas such as radiation safety will be assessed on an ongoing basis.
Additional guidance and PPE will be made available to reduce the possible risk of infection where a first aider may be required to attend an injured person.