Uni­ver­si­ties join forces in stu­dent Covid warn­ing

Western Daily Press - - News - SO­PHIE GRUBB so­phie.grubb@reach­plc.com

BRIS­TOL stu­dents have been warned they will face pun­ish­ment if they con­tinue to “risk lives” and ig­nore so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules.

In a rare joint state­ment, the vice-chan­cel­lors of both the Univer­sity of the West of Eng­land (UWE) and the Univer­sity of Bris­tol have re­minded stu­dents of their “moral duty” to com­ply with mea­sures to pre­vent coron­avirus.

Steve West of UWE and Hugh Brady of Bris­tol re­leased the state­ment on Wed­nes­day fol­low­ing com­plaints about stu­dents’ be­hav­iour.

They stressed the ma­jor­ity of stu­dents had ad­hered to the rules, and said their re­sponse had been “heart­en­ing” to see.

But they con­tin­ued: “In re­cent weeks we have re­ceived some re­ports of stu­dents breach­ing pub­lic health guid­ance, par­tic­u­larly as it re­lates to so­cial dis­tanc­ing.

“We would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to be ab­so­lutely clear to you all this be­hav­iour risks lives.

“Fail­ure to [com­ply] risks not only your own health, but the health and safety of the com­mu­nity around you, your fel­low stu­dents, lo­cal res­i­dents and staff who are work­ing hard and at their own risk to sup­port you.

“It also en­dan­gers the NHS and its staff, and in­creases the risk of a se­cond lock­down.”

Stu­dents were warned that both in­sti­tu­tions are “com­mit­ted to tak­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against any stu­dent found to be in breach of the rules”.

They did not spec­ify any ex­am­ples of breaches but said it re­lated to “be­hav­iour in res­i­dences and the wider com­mu­nity”.

The state­ment con­cluded: “At this cru­cial time where some re­stric­tions are be­ing eased, please don’t put your­self or our wider com­mu­nity at un­nec­es­sary risk.

“We all have a moral duty as good cit­i­zens to sup­port each other to limit the spread of Covid19. We have the abil­ity to limit or ac­cel­er­ate the spread in our com­mu­ni­ties – please work with us to do the right thing and help limit it.”

UWE’s aca­demic year of­fi­cially ended on June 26 and Bris­tol Univer­sity’s the week be­fore, al­though both halted teach­ing much ear­lier in re­sponse to the pan­demic.

Many stu­dents will want to make the most of liv­ing with their house­mates and stay on for longer than usual, be­cause the set-up in Septem­ber could be very dif­fer­ent.

The Univer­sity of Bris­tol has al­ready said it will be mov­ing lec­tures on­line un­til Jan­uary 2021, while UWE has said the first four weeks at least of the next aca­demic year will be on­line.

There have been con­cerns na­tion­ally about a slump in the stu­dent hous­ing mar­ket as a re­sult of uni­ver­si­ties mov­ing teach­ing on­line.

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