In response to the news that students could be told not to return home at Christmas if the spread of the coronavirus has not been controlled, the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association have once again called for the blame on students to stop.
The Scottish Government is working with the universities, other governments across the UK and with the National Union of Students to ensure the safe return of students at Christmas, but the stay in place order has also been branded as a ‘realistic possibility’.
HISA believes that the current escalation of cases in Scotland was inevitable given the decisions made across the sector.
HISA President, Florence Jansen (pictured) said:
“Many of our students would not have returned to their accommodation if they had not been encouraged to do so by the Government, and especially if they thought that they would not be allowed to return home for Christmas as a result.
“While many students across the University of the Highlands and Islands are already engaged with online learning, this decision could be detrimental to those that are on campus and shows a complete disregard of the unique demographic of students studying in the Highlands and Islands.
“Currently, we’re also seeing a lack of clarification on term two teaching requirements, which is only adding to the uncertainty of our students and staff.
“We need to protect our communities now more than ever, and it’s not just up to our universities and colleges to provide this additional support to our students.
“We believe that if this possibility becomes a reality, the Scottish Government should provide financial care packages to those students told to stay on campus.
“We’re also calling for asymptomatic testing prior to traveling away from student accommodation to be explored as a possible solution and for increased mental health support should that option fail, especially in the cases where student support teams are on leave.”