SAGE experts tell students they should stay at university over Christmas to avoid spreading coronavirus around the country
- Warnings published in minutes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies
- Students could be told to stay on campus during Christmas holidays this year
- Comes as University of Liverpool this week confirmed total of 87 cases of Covid
Students could be told to stay away from their families over the Christmas holidays, according to the latest scientific advice.
The warnings are expected to be published in the latest minutes from meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
Larger outbreaks are expected at the end of the academic term as students move around the country to travel home during their two-week break, reported Inews.
‘This could pose a risk to both local communities and families, and will require national oversight, monitoring and decision making,’ SAGE warned.
People walk past the entrance to Glasgow University on September 23, 2020. Students could be told to stay on campus during the Christmas holidays, according to scientific advice
It comes as the University of Liverpool this week confirmed 87 cases, while the University of Dundee told 500 students to isolate after an outbreak in a halls of residence as students returned to the city for the new term.
Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Unit and former government special adviser to the universities minister, confirmed students could be asked to stay on campus over the holidays.
‘Ministers will have to tell students that it’s best you stay away from home this year. It is no different from any other situation. If you are following the science then what else can the Government say?’ Mr Hillman said.
Larger outbreaks are expected at the end of the academic term as students move around the country to travel home during their two-week break, reported Inews (file image)
Meanwhile, there were calls to halt lectures at Liverpool University after 80 students and seven staff caught coronavirus – while 500 undergraduates are isolating at halls in Dundee after a single confirmed case.
NHS Tayside in Scotland contacted other students who had come into contact with the infected cases at Abertay University – with all residents of halls being told to self-isolate until tracing was completed.
Dr Daniel Chandler, associate director of public health, said: ‘We know from outbreaks in other university settings across Scotland that the virus can spread very quickly in student accommodation.
‘Therefore, as a precautionary measure, we are contacting all residents of Parker House and advising them to self-isolate immediately.’
A general view of the tower of Glasgow University on September 23. Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Unit and former government special adviser to the universities minister, confirmed students could be asked to stay on campus over the holidays
Meanwhile, there were calls to halt lectures at Liverpool University after 80 students and and seven staff caught coronavirus – while 500 undergraduates are isolating at halls in Dundee after a single confirmed case (file image)
‘Further investigation and contact tracing are continuing and we will review this advice in the coming days.’
Union members in Liverpool are seeking assurances they will not vulnerable staff will have to arrive in campus.
Martyn Moss, UCU regional official, said: ‘Liverpool’s universities have to immediately heed the call from staff and halt unnecessary in-person teaching.
‘The safety of staff, students and the local community has to be the number one priority.
‘More widely, the university sector and the government must address this public health crisis immediately. It is not enough to plan to manage Covid outbreaks when we could be working to prevent them.’
University of Glasgow faces two ‘significant clusters’ as 124 students test positive for coronavirus
More than 600 students at the University of Glasgow were told to self-isolate after 124 tested positive following freshers’ week.
The ‘actual number is likely to be higher’, according to a spokesman, who said there were two ‘significant clusters’ at the university.
The outbreaks have been identified in the Murano Street and Cairncross residences, GlasgowLive reports.
Students are seen at Glasgow University on September 23 after 600 people were told to self-isolate
A spokesman for Glasgow University said: ‘We are aware of two significant clusters of positive cases of Covid-19 in our Murano Street and Cairncross residences, which we believe were largely due to social activity around September 12-14, the start of freshers’ week.
‘We are working closely with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s public health team to manage these.’
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