COVID-19 & THE RETURN OF STUDENTS:
HAS LITTLE ATTENTION BEEN GIVEN TO RESIDENTS' CONCERNS?
Under the headline: Universities 'ignore locals' over return of students', Camilla Turner, Education Editor of the Daily Telegraph wrote on Tuesday 28 July 2020 ...
Universities have been accused of ignoring residents’ pleas over students returning to towns and cities en masse during freshers’ week.
Vice-chancellors have drawn up plans for the safe return of students at the start of next academic year which include grouping undergraduates into “bubbles”, operating one-way systems on campus and moving lectures online.
But residents claim that universities have paid little attention to their concerns about the influx of youngsters and the impact this will have on the local community.
“Residents feel pushed to one side and ignored.” Said Alan Hayton, chairman of the Whinney Hill community group in Durham. “the university seems to have put lots of things in place for the students returning to the campus, but once they step off campus there doesn’t seem to be anything in place. We have quite an elderly population here who are at risk.”
The community group has written to Public Health England to raise its concerns. Their letter said that some students had already begun returning to Durham to move into houses in the town, adding that their “indifference” to social distancing rules has been “quite staggering”.
Residents’ groups across the country, including in Chester, Exeter, Canterbury, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield have been in contact with each other to share their concerns.