Scottish Students face being stuck in halls of residence over Christmas if Covid-19 is not contained!

Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney has warned that Scottish students face a ‘realistic possibility’ that they may not be allowed to return home over the Christmas break if the virus is not ‘contained’.  He stressed that the Scottish Government ‘want to avoid that at all possible cost’.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, Mr Swinney said the return of students at Christmas depends on the coronavirus infection rate being reduced.

Asked if that means students could be forced to remain in halls of residence, he said: ‘We want to avoid that at all possible cost because we want students to return home.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing that she understands students will be ‘worried and anxious’ about the prospect of being unable to return home at Christmas but she does not want to give them ‘false assurances’.

‘We will do everything we can over the next few weeks to set out a path that sees you able to return home for Christmas, that is what we all want to see,’ she said.

She confirmed that phased term dates were a possibility.

Ms Sturgeon added: ‘We will set that out as early as we can, with as much certainty as we can, but the really difficult thing in all of this is that we are living through an inherently uncertain and unpredictable pandemic.

‘That means we can always give the absolute cast-iron certainty on anything right now that I know people desperately want and I desperately would like to be able to give.’

The policy has been criticized by both Labour and Conservative politicians at Holyrood.

The academic year has already seen thousands of students locked down in their halls of residence. The action was taken to attempt to reduce the rate of infection. Students in Glasgow , Dundee, St Andrew’s and Aberdeen were forced to self isolate in September after outbreaks on campus.  Global247News Twitter

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