Only six cases of coronavirus in Selly Oak: It’s time to stop blaming students

70 per cent of students are back in Selly Oak and the cases are at their lowest since September

There are currently only six cases of Covid-19 in Selly Oak, this is below average compared to the rest of the UK.

This compares to more than 687 cases of the virus at UoB in October. These numbers led to students being blamed for the spike in coronavirus rates.

In a recent poll on The Birmingham Tab Instagram, 68 per cent of students state they are currently living in Selly Oak.

In September The Times published an article titled ‘The kids aren’t all right when it comes to following the Covid rules’ which claimed students weren’t taking rules seriously enough.

Other publications including ITV News claimed students were likely to be the driving force behind the rising figures. The Birmingham Mail also wrote an article suggesting that the high rates of the virus were due to students not sticking to the rules.

These articles combined with reports of some groups of young people breaking the rules has led to a rhetoric that students are to blame. However, the latest figures suggest otherwise.

Selly Oak’s current rolling rate is 33.7, a huge drop from the 1876.3 rolling rate on October 6.

At the beginning of the academic year, the virus spread quickly amongst the student population as expected. However, many students felt confused by the university protocol and unaware of the number of cases in their halls. 

During October, the RAF were deployed to provide testing kits to students as the virus spread through the student area. It was then revealed that some of these tests had already been used. 

In October, cases in Selly Oak reached a high, and a month long lockdown began in November. Many people blamed students not following rules for the rise in cases.

However, with 366 students reporting they are back in Selly Oak, and only 175 stating they are not, perhaps it is time to stop blaming students for the spread.

Final year English Lit and History student Ellie Jeffery told The Birmingham Tab: “It’s obvious that students aren’t the problem, if you walk around Brum you can see that lots of people are ignoring lockdown rules entirely, students are just an easy scapegoat.

“I live right next to Cannon Hill and the parks are always full of kids running around with zero distancing.”

70 per cent of students are back in Selly Oak and only six cases are currently active in the area. Perhaps the figures last autumn are not solely down to the behaviour of students.

Of course there are a number of people in every age group breaking the lockdown rules. However, it’s time to stop blaming students for ‘fuelling the fire which raged last autumn’ as The Birmingham Mail reported in February.

Other stories recommended by this writer:

• UoB are only inviting students studying practical courses and creative subjects to return to campus for in-person teaching

• ‘There are definitely over 100 cases in selly alone’: Students estimate the number of coronavirus cases

• Nearly 300 coronavirus cases have been confirmed at the University of Birmingham