Coronavirus: Students in England warned they could be kicked out of university for breaching Covid-19 rules

Warnings come amid outbreaks on several UK campuses

Zoe Tidman
Tuesday 29 September 2020 21:50 BST
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(AFP via Getty Images)
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Students in England have been warned they could be kicked out of university for breaking coronavirus rules.

Some universities – including Manchester Metropolitan University, where two halls are in lockdown amid an outbreak – have said serious cases could result in expulsion.

Others have said students who do not follow rules aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus could also face disciplinary action, which could range from a warning to being excluded.

A University of Newcastle spokesperson told The Independent: "Students who fail to follow important safety measures will be subject to university disciplinary procedures, from a written caution through to expulsion."

In an email to students seen by The Independent, the University of Surrey warned students that not following the law or complying with requests from University staff “will be dealt with robustly and may result in your immediate exclusion from the University”.

The email – sent last week – said security patrols had also been stepped up on campus. 

“In any year at the University of Surrey, the vast majority of our students come here to learn and live together in a way that respects one another. This year is no exception," a University of Surrey spokesperson told The Independent

“We do have a Code of Conduct – this year supported by a Covid-secure policy that applies across our campus. Where a small minority breach our Code of Conduct, as always they may be investigated and potentially face sanctions.”

University of York students were also sent an email from the vice-chancellor about coronavirus last week, which said: “Any student, however, who does not follow the rules - many of which now have legal force - may find themselves facing University disciplinary action including sanctions ranging from warnings up to exclusion from the University.”

The email reminded students they were not allowed to host or attend house parties, and must follow the government’s “rule of six”. 

Universities have issued guidelines for students to follow to ensure Covid-19 safe campuses, including government and university rules over socialising. 

Students have been reminded of the rule of six - that it is currently illegal for people in England to meet in groups larger than six people - and of local measures in place, which can ban people visiting others outside their household at home. 

On Monday, the University of Exeter also asked students not to meet indoors with anyone who is not part of their household for the next 14 days.

According to university statements and local press reports this month, at least 30 institutions across the UK have seen confirmed coronavirus cases.

Students in Scotland – where outbreaks have been confirmed at Glasgow and Edinburgh Napier universities - have been told they could be kicked out of university if they repeatedly break rules.

Another university which has seen an outbreak is Manchester Metropolitan, who have told students they could face disciplinary action or fines for breaching guidance found on their coronavirus safety page.

“Students who commit serious or repeated breaches can be suspended or expelled from the University,” according to their website.

More than one thousand people have been told to self-isolate in two of the university’s halls after 127 tested positive for the virus.

The University of Manchester has also told students “serious cases” of breaching Covid-19 guidelines could risk expulsion.

Restrictions in the city mean no house parties or meeting up with people you do not live with in pubs or restaurants, it website says. 

Additional reporting by Press Association

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