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Sir Anton Muscatelli makes joint statement to ask students to prioritise public health

By Ross McCool

The principles of 19 Scottish universities made the statement in a plea to students to behave and follow the rules as the new academic year begins.

Principal of the University of Glasgow, Sir Anton Muscatelli, has made a joint statement to students to “prioritise public health” as the new academic year begins.

In the joint statement, the principles of 19 Scottish universities, which includes principal Sir Anton Muscatelli, issued an open letter to Scottish students that has addressed the health concerns that have surrounded campuses and the challenges that Covid-19 will place on the institutions of higher education.

This comes after a rise in Covid-19 cases in the past few weeks, with over 200 positive cases being identified per day. 

The statement reads: “Our top priority as universities, in the midst of a pandemic, is to keep you and our staff safe and to contribute to keeping everyone else in our towns and cities, across Scotland as safe as possible. 

“Campuses will look and feel different this term. With a blended approach to teaching in the first semester, there will be fewer people on campus than usual and our spaces will be reconfigured to support physical distancing, enhanced hygiene protocols and the use of tech to support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect contact tracing system.

“As students, we ask you to recognise the important role and responsibility that you have, on and off campus, to keep yourself, and the wider communities around you, safe from coronavirus.”

In addition the plea also comes as Covid-19 rates see an increase in what the UK prime minister called a “second wave”. Lockdown rules have been tightened in Scotland recently, with a cap of meeting six people from two households both indoors and outdoors, as well as a ban on visiting separate households in the Greater Glasgow area.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is also set to announce tighter restrictions on Tuesday or Wednesday to help combat a second wave.

This statement was issued after police were called to disperse a large group of students present on St. Andrew’s beach on 11 September. Police also dispersed a large gathering of students at the University of Glasgow’s Murano halls during Freshers’ Week 2020.


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