Students in various parts of the UK have been told to self-isolate in their accommodation, as coronavirus cases soar among the student population in cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester.
Many students are now quarantining in their university halls or private student accommodation, after spikes were seen across the UK, but Scottish students have now been told they can return home from university accommodation on “a long-term basis.”
Students in Scotland can permanently move home
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The Scottish Government has updated its guidance regarding what students in higher education can do if they want to change households.
Although they have been encouraged to remain living at university, students in Scotland can move home permanently if they wish, but they have been asked to still follow coronavirus self-isolating rules and not use public transport in order to get to classes.
Students have also been told that it is an “offence” to go home for a short period of time, as the country currently has a ban on more than two households mixing.
This comes after students were asked to not visit pubs or restaurants last weekend, and not to mix outside of their household or accommodation.
Higher Education Minister, Richard Lochhead, said, “We would encourage students to remain living in their current accommodation where they are able to, so they can continue to benefit from both a blend of digital and in-person learning, where that is possible and the opportunity to engage with others, within the restrictions, to build new networks and to make new friends.
“Knowing what to consider in deciding whether to return home will help support wellbeing and enable students to make informed choices, but it is important to stress that adjusting to life away from home is always challenging.”
New guidance in place
Mr Lochhead has written to principals and student accommodation provider networks in order to set out the new guidance, which has been developed in consultation with NUS Scotland and Universities Scotland.
The guidance makes it clear that a change of household is possible, but that a change will then become the person’s main or only residence on a long-term basis.
The new guidance also explains that students should “consider how you may benefit from in-person learning where your college or university are offering this,” if they decide to return home on a permanent basis.
Gov.scot adds, “You should consult your institution to find out more about the support available and implications of your decision.”
NUS Scotland president, Matt Crilly, explained, “Today’s guidance provides welcome clarity to the students in halls, who will be considering their next steps.
“We welcome that students will be able to return home on a permanent basis.
“However, we are disappointed that the government continues to talk up in-person teaching, which may keep students on campus and increase risks unnecessarily.”