The principal of Aberdeen University has issued an apology to students after staying with his son on a trip to Wales.
Professor George Boyne, who is also vice-chancellor of the institution, said he had “since learned” that his decision over the weekend might not have been “in line with local guidance”.
Though he said police in Wales assured him that no further action would be taken, university bosses have launched an inquiry into the matter.
Prof Boyne made the 480-mile journey south on Friday for a “private health matter” before taking residence at his family home, which is currently occupied by his son.
The stay came just weeks after people across the UK were banned from visiting other households in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.
Large-scale outbreaks have been reported at university campuses across the country since reopening, including at Hillhead student village in Aberdeen where scores of students have been placed into lockdown to prevent clusters growing.
In a written apology emailed to students and staff yesterday, Mr Boyne wrote: “On Friday I travelled down to Wales for a private health matter, to see a consultant I have been seeing for some time.
“For the purposes of the visit I have been staying at our house in Wales which is occupied by our son. As I have reduced immunity, it felt like the safest option to be in our house, rather than in a hotel.
“It has been suggested to me that this may be not be in line with local guidance. I have checked the position with South Wales Police and have been advised that they will not be taking any action.
“However I sincerely apologise for any concern this may cause. I have informed the Senior Governor of the University of Aberdeen.”
The email, sent out after 5pm last night, made reference to the possibility of the situation “appearing in the media shortly”.
Esther Roberton, senior governor of the university, distributed the message along with the statement from the principal.
She added: “The principal has informed me of this matter and I will take advice and consult with fellow trustees to consider the full implications of his actions.”
Anttony Numminen, a third year politics and international relations student who edits the Gaudie student newspaper, said Mr Boyne’s actions had “undermined the university’s authority”.
He added: “Some people are angry about it because of how aggressively the university has been threatening us with fines and possibly even suspension or expulsion for breaking rules, whereas it seems that if you are the principal you can just say you are sorry about it.”
Student George Taylor last week blamed university chiefs for delivering “mixed messages” on the campus outbreak which had led to “rising anxiety”.
Mr Taylor, a member of the Aberdeen University Labour Students Association, last night accused the principal of double standards.
He said: “It really is one rule for us and another rule for them at the moment; especially with the way they have been treating students put into self-isolation.
“We are disappointed and angry.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We note the University of Aberdeen is proposing to discuss this issue with the Principal and that is the correct course of action.”