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Students in Lockdown After Illegal Parties

Posted by Richard Ward

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

At least seven universities in the UK are already facing cases of Covid-19 among students, with outbreaks linked to illegal freshers' parties, as well as other isolated cases reported in halls of residences.

This includes four students at the University of St Andrews who tested positive for the virus and 40 more who are facing self-isolation after participating in an illegal party at one of the university's halls.

Other cases have been reported at Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Stirling, Oxford Brookes, Bath and Manchester Metropolitan universities.

With cases beginning to occur, just days into the new term, there are fears that the infection rate will continue to increase as more students arrive on campus and the academic term begins.

In a statement to St Andrews students, Sally Mapstone, the principal and vice-chancellor, said there had been four new positive cases among students, in addition to three "sporadic cases" reported last week. "These new cases of Covid were acquired in St Andrews, and are all linked to one party in a hall of residence in freshers' week. Over 40 students are now in enforced isolation as a result."

Elsewhere, it was reported by Manchester Evening News that cases at Manchester Metropolitan University were traced to a party involving 100 students in a courtyard of the halls at the Birley Campus in Hulme.

At Oxford Brooks it was a similar story, with an outbreak being attributed to partying by students after freshers were filmed gathering in large numbers outside student accommodation in Cheney Lane.

The general secretary of the University and College Union, Jo Grady, suggested online learning should be universities' default position. She commented: "Each day the evidence is mounting that the government and employers need to go much further to prevent a second wave. This cannot be business as usual."