Students are being asked not to go to bars, parties or restaurants in an effort to stem the tide of the coronavirus outbreak in Scottish universities.
Hundreds of students have tested positive at universities across the country, with many of them self-isolating.
Universities have now pledged to make clear to students “categorically” that there should be no parties.
They will not be permitted to socialize with anyone outside of their place of residence.
Students were also warned that any violations of the new rules “will not be tolerated.”
The stricter guidelines were announced after opposition leaders accused Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon of a “fundamental failure” to anticipate the problem and offer more testing on campus.
Universities in Scotland said the new guidelines agreed with the Scottish government were “a necessary step at this crucial moment to manage the virus among students, to protect students and the wider community.”
The new rules state that all universities “will unequivocally make clear to students that there should be no parties, and no socialization outside their homes.”
“This weekend, the first of the new Scottish government’s stricter directive, we will ask students to avoid all socialization outside of their homes and outside of their residence,” they say.
“We will ask them not to go to bars or other hospitality places.”
Additional staff will be brought into the student residence to monitor any violations of guidelines and to support students in self-isolation.
“We are punished for living here.”
Elise, a student at the University of Glasgow, told BBC Scotland that she is outraged by the new rules that place severe restrictions on their social life.
The first-year student is currently in isolation in the halls of Murano Street, after one of her roommates tested positive.
She described the new restrictions as “extremely absurd” and said it was a mistake to blame students for spreading the virus.
She asked why the university required them to move into the halls when they could follow their courses online from home. .
“We were asked to come to university halls – 48 people from all over the country in one building – it was bound to spread,” she said.
“We are being punished just because we live here but we are told to come.
“There is no reason to be here because everything is online.”
The Police of Scotland will also monitor student behavior off campus and in private accommodations.
Private student housing service providers will also be urged to strictly apply the guidelines.
Students will also be required to download the Protect Scotland app.
The directive warns: “We will take a strict ‘Yellow Card / Red Card’ approach to breaches of student discipline that put students and others at risk.
“While we would first wish to advise students on discipline violations, we will not hesitate to escalate this into disciplinary action including possible discontinuation of studies.”
Incidence rates between age groups
Numerous universities across the country are dealing with the major outbreak of the virus, with many students in halls of residence in Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh asked to self-isolate.
A total of 124 University of Glasgow students have tested positive so far, with 600 in isolation, while all of the 500 residents are at Parker House halls in Dundee. They were told to quarantine.
A total of 120 cases have been identified in an outbreak at Edinburgh Napier University.
Opposition parties argued that the Scottish government should have been better prepared for the outbreak when college students returned for the new semester.
Ms Sturgen said the number of positive cases was likely to increase at universities, but she claimed that this showed that the testing and protection system “is working, and we must continue to have confidence in it.”
She urged students to follow the latest guidelines and expressed regret that the epidemic “makes this special period of your life very difficult.”
The life of university students was actually very different by this term.
Most of the students are already set to learn online, but the university experience is as much a social experience as it is an academic experience.
Perhaps the most important step is asking students not to visit bars or hospitality places.
Ultimately, students who break the rules on campus or in dormitory face expulsion.
However, universities teach that they also have to resort to an individual’s sense of responsibility and common sense.
It would still be a great request. Homesick students will usually not be able to return in the family home they used to live in until a few weeks ago.
Starting a university can be a difficult experience – a student may not like their studies or find it difficult to live away from home or make new friends.
It will be more difficult this year, and for this reason, it will be more important than ever to consider students’ well-being and mental health.