Students are being told not to go to pubs, parties or restaurants in a bid to stem a spate of coronavirus outbreaks at Scottish universities.

Hundreds of students have tested positive at campuses across the country, with many more self-isolating.

Universities have now pledged to make it “absolutely clear” to students that there must be no parties.

Students have also been warned that any breaches of the new rules “will not be tolerated”.

The stricter guidelines were announced after opposition leaders accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of a “basic failure” to anticipate the problem and provide more testing on university campuses.

Universities Scotland said the new guidance that had been agreed with the Scottish government was a “necessary step at this crucial moment of managing the virus in the student population, to protect students and the wider community”.

The new rules state that all universities will “make absolutely clear to students that there must be no parties, and no socialising outside their households”.

They go on to say: “This weekend, the first of the new tighter Scottish government guidance, we will require students to avoid all socialising outside of their households and outside of their accommodation.

Extra staff will be brought into student accommodation to watch for any breaches of the guidance and to support students who are self-isolating.

The guidance 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 first want to advise students about breaches of discipline, we will not hesitate to escalate this to disciplinary action including potential discontinuation of study.”

Most students were already set to learn mostly online, but the university experience is a social one as much as an academic one.

Perhaps the most significant move is to appeal to students not to visit bar or hospitality venues.

However, universities know they also have to appeal to the individual’s sense of responsibility and common sense.

It will still be a big ask. Homesick students won’t usually be able to go back inside the family home they lived in until a few weeks ago.

Starting university can be a difficult experience – a student may not like their course or may find it hard to live away from home or make new friends.

This year it will be even tougher so for that reason, it will be more important than ever to consider the wellbeing and mental health of students.

Wages will be topped up for six months, but chancellor says it is “impossible ” to say how many jobs will be saved.

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News – Scottish students banned from going to pubs