UoM students could face exclusion if they break social distancing rules

‘We’re very strongly stressing to students that they must behave differently’

University of Manchester students who fail to follow social distancing rules could be excluded from campus.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, the University of Manchester’s vice-chancellor, said initial warnings could lead to “more significant” action for those caught breaking the rules.

Leaders at UoM, Manchester Metropolitan, the University of Salford, the University of Bolton and the Royal Northern College of Music have outlined a wide range of measures that are being brought in to try and keep the spread of the virus under control.

Dame Nancy, who is also chair of the Russell Group, addressed the Science and Technology Committee on September 9th.

When asked what sanctions may be imposed on those students who break the rules, she said: “Initially a warning of course, potentially something more significant, and ultimately – and I hope it doesn’t come to this – it will be exclusion from the university if they fail to adhere to what is an important safety issue.”

University leaders have said they do not believe coronavirus outbreaks would occur as a result of academic lessons restarting this term, but they expressed concerns about student activity off campus.

Dame Nancy said: “I’m very confident that there will not be any spread of infections through teaching in our universities. We’ve taken every measure imaginable.

“Of course one concern for all of us is off-campus behaviour. And I think we’re all imposing quite strict codes of practice with sanctions if students do not adhere to those.

“Because it’s not just the safety of the students and the staff, we’re also concerned to protect the safety of our local residents and our communities.”

Universities are still awaiting guidance from the Department of Education on how they can safely reopen to students.

Boris Johnson recently told a press conference that updated guidance will include a “request not to send students home in the event of an outbreak so as to avoid spreading the virus across the country”.

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