Students told 'keep to the Covid rules' or risk getting thrown out

  • Report by Richard Payne

Students arriving at university are being warned to keep to strict Covid rules or risk being thrown off their courses. 

With teaching yet to begin, much of it online, the University of Bristol says it has already received complaints about loud and late parties in the city. It has drawn up a new code of conduct students must sign before they start studying.

The University of Bristol has drawn up a code of conduct that students have to sign. Credit: ITV West Country

Reacting to the increasing coronavirus R rating, students will now have to wear face coverings on campus, especially indoors, with lecturers wearing visors.

Around 7,000 first-year students will join another 20,000 when the academic year starts in early October and, with less opportunity to meet new people on site, the concern is some will try to do so elsewhere and potentially breach the government's Rule of Six.

Phoebe Walder and Naomi Fallon are final year students and think restrictions will be harder for new arrivals. Credit: ITV West Country

Phoebe and Naomi are back at Bristol for their final year and will live in a bubble of seven off campus. They feel temptations may be harder to resist for those away from home for the first time.

Final-year biochemistry student Phoebe Walder says, "A big part of your first year is going out and having fun and socialising so I definitely think for those guys it's going to be difficult to want to stick to the rules."

Naomi Fallon agrees: "I think it's impossible that the students will follow the rules. I do worry for the freshers who are mingling with new people. It's hard to make friends, they may not be friends with the first people they meet, they may want to wander off, so a lot of trust has got to be put in those first years, I think."

The University of Bristol has had to introduce a host of measures because of Covid-19. Credit: ITV West Country

The majority of learning will take place online with lectures recorded and only small numbers allowed into the same room for seminars.

Director of Student Life and Well-being, Claire Slater, says the vast majority will take responsibility for their own actions but there will be consequences for those who don't.

Posters have gone up in residential areas encouraging students to be considerate. Credit: ITV West Country

Bristol University pays for a police officer on site and spent around £25,000 last academic year to fund police operations to shut down house parties. 

To try to avoid a repeat, they're targeting streets popular with students with signs pleading for consideration for other residents.

Student representatives say changing Government advice risks giving young people mixed messages.

Julio Mkok from the Students' Union claims, "One minute they're encouraging us to go out, the next minute they're telling us 'actually the reason we're telling you to go out is the reason the numbers are peaking'. So the discrepancy in information is quite confusing, especially for international students.

"Some international students are opting to come back in January when the face-to-face teaching is more on board as compared to how it is now and the uncertainty."

The hope is that after months of being locked away, those heading to university don't take any new sense of freedom too far.