Nicola Sturgeon warns universities 'no excuse' to not support self-isolating students

Nicola Sturgeon has warned universities there is “no excuse” for treating students poorly while they are self-isolating.

By Conor Matchett
Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 2:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 3:23 pm

Reports on social media showed students in university halls such as Pollock Halls, owned and run by the University of Edinburgh, provided with unsuitable or out-of-date food while they were being told to self-isolate.

Others have described being in ‘prison-like’ halls with limited to no direct support from universities, with some saying all that had been done was a notice pinned on their front door asking them to self-isolate.

There has been several outbreaks of Covid-19 in student halls, including in the University of Edinburgh, with hundreds self-isolating in Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow University and Aberdeen universities.

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Universities have been warned there is "no excuse" for not supporting students who are self-isolating

Speaking at her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said she had made it clear that universities would be expected to “look after the welfare of students” who are self-isolating.

The First Minister said there was “no excuse” for universities not getting that support right.

She said: “I’ve made clear, I made it clear on Friday and I think I made it clear again yesterday, the responsibility on universities to look after the welfare of students who are in a self-isolating situation is paramount.

"There is no excuse for universities not doing that properly and getting it right.

"When we in government read reports such as those that have been in the media and social media about Pollock Halls in Edinburgh, we follow that up with universities and the deputy first minister has been having discussions this morning with university stakeholders around a number of things, but I am sure these issues are followed up as well.

"Let me be clear again to universities, and to university principals I spoke to directly on Friday, you have a duty to look after the welfare of your students if they are being advised to self-isolate and that is a duty I expect university principles to take seriously and to discharge fully.

"There should be no situations in which students in that circumstance are not getting adequate provision of food, and not food that is out of date.

"There is no excuse for that and I want to be very very clear on that point.”

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