Borders students feel like they're being 'punished' by new Covid restrictions

Credit: PA / ITV Border

The First Minister has insisted students shouldn't feel they are to blame for coronavirus outbreaks at Scottish universities. 

Nicola Sturgeon said she was “so heart sorry” for the situation students are now in and said she felt “especially for those of you starting university for the first time”.

It comes as hundreds of students in Glasgow and Edinburgh are having to self isolate due to Covid clusters within halls of residence.

Students at the Heriot Watt campus in Galashiels are among those being urged to stay in this weekend and not visit pubs, restaurants, or have parties.

An undergraduate student told ITV Border: "A lot of peers, like my friends, find it a bit unfair because we can't go to restaurants and it feels like we're being punished for going to uni when we were told it would be fine."

Another student said: "It's not really bothered me as I have a lot of work to do. However, I would like to have a university experience while I'm at uni as well.

"It just, kind of, sucks because it's hard enough to make friends. Now we're doing group projects online, which is just really awkward to do."

Addressing students, Sturgeon said: “I am so sorry, so heart sorry, that this time of your lives is being made as tough as it is just now.

“I really feel for you, but I feel especially for those of you starting university for the first time and, of course, living alone for the first time.

“This is an exciting time in your lives but I remember from my own experience… that it’s also a time of adjustment and it’s also a time of home sickness as well, and that’s the case for students every year without Covid-19 but it is much more difficult given the circumstances you are all facing right now.”

She acknowledged some students feel they are being blamed for the spread of Covid-19 but declared: “That is not the case… it’s not your fault.”