UNIVERSITIES across the UK have suspended face-to-face lectures and thousands of students are self-isolating. Here in Wales, Aberystwyth University is among the latest institution to suspend in person lectures.
Students arrived for the new term in the hope of attending a mixture of face-to-face and online lectures but instead have been confined to studying online only activities and limited to social interaction. The usually fun packed Freshers Fayres have also largely been staged as an online presence.
Students say that they may now campaign for refunds, but the institutions would have to make that decision, as they are autonomous of Welsh Government.
Lucy Fiola from Llanelli is a student at Portsmouth University. She said: “I’m going to go back even if they close uni because I’m paying rent on a flat there. I don’t actually know if my lectures are online or in person or when they are even because even though we’re supposed to start next week we haven’t got timetables or any real info.
“I don’t really mind staying to be honest because it’s my last year and I want to spend it in the city with my mates even though lockdown rules say it’s fine to see them in lectures but not in their house.”
Elkanah Evans who is studying at Aberystwyth said: “It is a bit disappointing really. I was looking forward to starting the degree and meeting people. We had some social time at the beginning but pretty soon, people were talking about students who had tested positive and then people were trying to get tested. There was no testing available apart from a drive thru and most students don’t have a car. We got an email today, Monday (Sep 28) saying that face-to-face lectures had been suspended.”
Aberystwyth University had launched five ‘community promises’ as part of its plans to ensure the safety of students, staff and the wider community as it prepares to welcome students back.
The ‘community promises’ outline five pledges for students, staff and the wider town community. The five points are:
1. Maintain good hygiene – wash hands regularly
2. Keep our distance – follow guidelines
3. Know who we are with – test and trace saves lives
4. Protect those around us – wear a face covering where advised
5. Respect each other – be kind
The pledges come on top of the comprehensive safety measures the University has already introduced.
Ceredigion County Council is also closing its leisure centres despite not being under local lockdown measures. Here in Llanelli, a town under local lockdown, Carmarthenshire County Council is opening Llanelli Leisure Centre.