The surge in coronavirus cases in universities across the UK has caused thousands of students to be barred from socialising outside their households.
Scottish university leaders have urged all students to avoid going to bars, pubs and other public venues this weekend. Universities have adopted a “yellow card/red card” disciplinary system to discourage students from breaking the rules.
The police will assist Scottish leaders in dealing with rule-breakers and students who break the new rules could risk losing their places.
Following a meeting with the higher education minister, Richard Lochhead, Universities Scotland said: “All universities will make absolutely clear to students that there must be no parties and no socialising outside their households… Breaches will not be tolerated.”
Parents with children in Scottish universities had raised concerns over the lack of support when hundreds of university students were told to self-isolate on Wednesday, following an outbreak of over 100 confirmed cases at the University of Glasgow.
They feared that the experience would affect their children especially the first-year students trying to adapt to the new environment. Students received emails telling them to self-isolate without any further support. Most students are self-isolating in numbers as there is limited accommodation to self-isolate individuals.
An increase in the number of confirmed cases and students being told to self-isolate reflects that test and protect is effectively functioning. “That’s a difficult thing when numbers are as they are but it does show that system is working,” the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said.
Scottish universities should adopt online teaching to avoid the risk of infections until adequate measures are in place to keep students safe.