THE Welsh Government should ensure students can return home for Christmas Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS has said.
Last week, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh Government would “contemplate” students saying on campus over Christmas due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said universities had opened their doors at the same time that the testing system was “failing”.
Mr Price called for a coordinated outbreak response strategy to be put in place between Government, HE institutions and local public health teams and for a “clear plan” to support students and the higher education sector before Christmas.
On the 4th of September the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies warned that there is a significant risk that Higher Education could amplify local and national transmission of Covid-19. They said the risk requires “national oversight”.
Meg, a first year law student at Bath Spa University from Brecon has been living at her halls of residence for just over a week and says regulations have already changed since she’s arrived.
She said that the messages from the Government were “really confusing and should definitely be communicated better – particularly for students who have moved to a different country with different regulations.”
Earlier today, England’s Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said students will be able to return home for Christmas and that ministers and officials would draw up plans on how this would be done safely.
The First Minister said he was not prepared to treat young people differently to any other citizen in Wales. .
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said,
“Having arrived on campus last week, students will now worry whether they will be allowed to return home for Christmas. Universities are opening their doors at the same time as testing is failing.
“There is no clear plan to support students and there is no plan to support the higher education sector.
“The advice from SAGE is clear, a coordinated outbreak response strategy should urgently be put in place to like between Government, HE institutions and local public health teams. Christmas is only 12 weeks away.
First year law student Meg from Brecon said,
“So far things have been okay, but it’s definitely a very worrying time. We’ve received next to no information from the university nor any officials, so I’m mostly finding out about things either on the news or through hearsay from other students.
“I understand why certain measures have to be in place and want to make sure I keep others safe, but the messages from the Government are really confusing and should definitely be communicated better – particularly for students who have moved to a different country with different regulations.
“The idea that I might not be able to go home for Christmas is really horrible. I’m happy to keep to regulations so not to endanger others, but at the same time it’s really frustrating that government failings in keeping numbers low could result in me not seeing my family potentially for months.”