Royal Holloway University has said it will be introducing “new COVID fines and penalties” after Surrey Live reported on video footage apparently showing students partying outside one of the University’s halls of residence. That party is apparently one of a number that have taken place on campus in breach of COVID-19 rules. The parties have not been organised by the Students’ Union and are believed to be more impromptu and spontaneous events. According to a final year student who spoke to Surrey Live and wished to remained anonymous witnessing a party was the tipping point them deciding to study off campus this year saying they just did not feel safe:
“I thought one or two 20-people parties might happen. I didn’t think people would be so blasé about it especially because we are meant to have 24-hour security and I thought they would be patrolling more than they used to.”
“I understand it’s annoying to miss freshers’ week but it is a lot more heart-breaking to miss a good half of your university experience because people can’t just stay inside”
Both returning and new students have received a lot of communication from the university, all of it encouraging them to “play their part”. On campus, measures such as heavily encouraging cashless payments, the deployment of hand sanitiser, encouraging the wearing of face coverings, and developing a flexible learning program have been just some steps that the college has taken to minimise the risk posed by the university environment. Principal Paul Layzell said:
“The health, safety and well-being of students, staff and our wider community is a priority at Royal Holloway. We have engaged extensively with our students to outline our expectations of them both on and off-campus. In doing so, we have reinforced the part we each have to play in helping to reduce the spread of Covid-19 by following the government’s coronavirus guidelines and legal restrictions and respecting each other. The majority of our students are playing their part. Unfortunately, some students are not. We are taking action to address this by introducing new specific Covid-19 fines and penalties. These will sit alongside our existing Code of Conduct, which applies both on and off campus.”
Just what the fines and penalties that the University will decide on will be communicated to students later this week, but this news comes in the context of general anxiety over students heading off to university all over the country and follows news yesterday of approximately 500 students being told self-isolate at Abertay University in Dundee after an outbreak in one of their halls of residence.
IMAGE CREDIT: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0