Students banned from pubs as more than 1,000 isolate due university Covid outbreaks

STUDENTS have been banned from going to pubs in Scotland as more than 1,000 self-isolate due to coronavirus outbreaks at universities.

Students have been warned that those who repeatedly flout Covid guidelines could be thrown out of university under new rules.

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Higher education chiefs met to discuss a range of measures which would be introduced amid concerns over a number of outbreaks since term started.

Students have now been asked not to attend bars and restaurants this weekend and are required to download the Protect Scotland tracing app.

Universities have also now agreed to introduce a "yellow card, red card" system to breaches of student discipline that put students and others at risk, which could result in an end to studies.

Scots students display ‘send drink’ & ‘send weed’ signs as they self-isolate in uni halls

Nicola Sturgeon has urged students to abide by new measures introduced by universities.

The First Minister tweeted: "To all students – I'm so sorry COVID is making this special time of your lives so tough.

"But it won't be forever and the more we get the virus back under control now, the sooner you'll get a bit of normality back. So, please do what's being asked of you."

It comes after a number of outbreaks at universities across the country emerged this week.

More than 1,000 students are self-isolating after coronavirus outbreaks in a number of unis – including Aberdeen, Glasgow and Abertay.

A fresh cluster of cases emerged tonight after 120 students at Edinburgh Napier tested positive for the virus.

Smaller clusters have also been identified at Edinburgh and Queen Margaret Universities, but the numbers remain unknown at this time.

Gerry McCormac, convener of Universities Scotland, said: "University leaders share the Scottish Government's complete commitment to keeping the student population and the wider community safe.

"We have already implemented strict measures to ensure the safety of the university environment, both for teaching and for student residences.

"We have seen the majority of students live up to our expectations of responsible behaviour, but a minority have not.

"Everyone across the nation shares the concern at seeing students in residences test positive for the virus and we will act decisively to deal with this.

 

"The additional actions we will take to drive down the transmission of the virus in student accommodation build on the wide-ranging measures already agreed with Scottish Government.

"Taken together, we are confident that these will help significantly to control the virus in student accommodation and impact on the number of positive cases; after the inevitable time-lag caused by some existing cases not yet being symptomatic.

"Our top priority is making sure that students that have tested positive and those quarantining are well-supported and ready to return to their studies.

"We appreciate this isn't what students would have expected from their first few weeks at university, but it is critical that they play their part in suppressing the virus."

Universities have also agreed to increase staff presence in student accommodation.

They said they will be "vigilant" against any breaches of guidance and will also offer welfare and practical support to those experiencing isolation.

The meeting was made up of university principals as well as Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead.

He said: "This is a welcome package of additional actions, building on the clear guidance that is already in place, to support all students and staff adhere to the rules and stay safe as they make a welcome return to study.

"We expect everyone to comply with public health advice and, as new laws come into force tomorrow, it's even more important institutions make every effort to ensure the rules are understood and followed – and appropriate actions are taken if not.

"We know that these are difficult times for many students and we are grateful to them for the sacrifices they are making to protect themselves, their fellow students and the wider community."

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