The Scottish Government's lack of plans for a safe return of students in January risks another Covid outbreak on the scale seen in September, Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP has said.
The Government’s shambolic handling of students arriving on campus in September led to a huge upsurge in community transmission of the virus and forced thousands of young people into isolation in cramp student halls. Despite this, universities minister Richard Lochhead admitted to Mr Greer at parliament's education committee this morning that he has no plan in place yet for the expected return of students to campus in January.
Ross Greer MSP said:
“The Scottish Government’s failure to plan for students arriving on campus in September played a significant role in the resurgence of coronavirus in our communities. It is disgraceful that ministers still haven’t bothered to develop a plan for the potential return of students to campus in January. The complacency is staggering given what happened just two months ago.
"It very much looks like the Government has failed to acknowledge just how serious its failure in September was and how important it is that we don’t see a repeat.
“We need to see comprehensive testing for those returning, wrap-around support for those requiring to isolate, a significant improvement to on campus mental health support and preferably an overall reduction in student halls population. The lack of forward planning by the minister is extremely concerning.”