Students across Scotland are being urged not to go to pubs, parties, and restaurants in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus at universities.
This comes after hundreds of students from universities across Scotland have tested positive for COVID-19, and many other are self-isolating.
Also, universities have pledged to students to make it “absolutely clear” to students that there must be no parties.
While also, they will not be able to socialise with anyone outside of their accommodation.
This comes are stricter guidelines were announced after opposition leaders accused the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of a “basic failure”, with the problem and to provide more testing on university campuses.
The convener of Universities Scotland Gerry Mccormac who is also the Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Stirling has said that the new guidance which has been agreed with the Scottish government was a “necessary step at this crucial moment of managing the virus in the student population, to protect students and the wider community.”
The new rules say that all universities will “make absolutely clear to students that there must be no parties, and no socialising outside their households”.
They go on to say: “This weekend, the first of the new tighter Scottish government guidance, we will require students to avoid all socialising outside of their households and outside of their accommodation.
“We will ask them not to go to bars or other hospitality venues”.
Additionally, extra staff will be brought into student accommodation to watch for any breaches of the guidance and to support students who are self-isolating.
Police Scotland will also be helping by monitoring student behaviour off-campus and in private accommodation. Students have also been warned, breaches to the new rules, “will not be tolerated.”
In a tweet from the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon she said: “I’m so sorry COVID is making this special time of your lives so tough.”
The first minister also added that the advice to “stay away from pubs/hospitality completely is just for this weekend – it’s an attempt to stop current outbreaks spreading further.”
The advice which has been set out for students will just be for the upcoming weekend, to try and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Commenting on the recent announcement which will impact students Vice President Communities Josh Muirhead said: “The joint announcement by Universities Scotland and the Scottish Government has turned into a farcical disaster.”
“The poor usage of coherent language in the announcement has led to many students becoming panicked and in fear of isolation.”
“As we’ve seen time and time again, students are being used as a scapegoat by the Scottish Government and Universities Scotland to effectively show tokenistic action during a pandemic at the expense of students.”
“This poorly communicated weekend ban is a pathetic symbolic gesture claiming to being combating the recent outbreaks in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.”
“Students usually have to work in the hospitality industry so as to be able to subsidise their education and survive while studying, with many going to bars and restaurants to break the monotony of everyday routine.”
Josh continued to say: “Even more so since the return to university with many having no physical in person classes. Instead they will most likely be expected to work while the rest of society benefits from their labour usually for low wages in poor working conditions.”
“With the use of statements that breaches to the new rules, “will not be tolerated” then I expect there will be a zero tolerance approach by the Police and Government to the non-student population of Scotland who since this begun in March have also broke guidelines and rules. It can’t be one rule for them, another for us.”
“If one thing is clear from todays message: you are banned from going to your parent’s, banned from hospitality venues for this weekend (for now), and banned from socialising with anyone outside your household. It’s a disgrace and the entire Higher Education sector and Government need to up their game.”
Responding to the announcement Matt Crilly NUS President Scotland said; “Tonight’s announcement by Universities Scotland and endorsed by the Scottish Government unfairly blames students for the spread of coronavirus and takes the unjustified step of applying different rules to students over and above the rest of the adult population.
“These measures are deeply concerning- not least to those students who rely on income from hospitality jobs. Having different rules for students makes it even more confusing to stay within guidance which could make things lesssafe. And the rules show a complete disregard for students’ mental health and wellbeing. We need better.
“To protect students, and communities, we’re calling for targeted support for students who are isolating, for online learning to be the default position, and for students to be given the opportunity to return home without penalty when it is safe to do so.
“The recent outbreak is extremely concerning and like everyone we students must comply with the public health guidance. It is important to remember that students were strongly encouraged to return to campus, leaving families and support networks behind. Like everyone else, students are anxious. We would ask the university principles and the Scottish Government to refrain from singling out students and to provide urgent clarity on these measures and their impact on students.”