County council urges Herts students to observe Covid-19 restrictions
The University of Hertfordshire and the county's further education colleges have joined the nationwide call to students to observe Covid-19 restrictions.
About 40 universities around the country have reported coronavirus cases, including the University of Essex, and thousands of young people are self-isolating as the new term begins.
Cllr Tim Hutchings, cabinet member for public health and prevention at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "We know it's been a tough year for young people, and we understand how unsettling it has been for the students who are adjusting to the impact of Covid-19.
"Universities and colleges have worked extremely hard over the summer to make their premises as Covid-safe as possible. But, as we know, it is everyone's responsibility to follow the government guidelines to help prevent outbreaks of Covid-19 in the county. We all need to play our part to avoid a local lockdown."
At Manchester Metropolitan University around 1,700 students are in lockdown after 127 tested positive for the virus and fears are growing that if cases continue, young people will be confined to campus over Christmas.
Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "We are pleased to be welcoming students back to the university this September. We have worked hard over the summer to put a wide range of measures in place to reduce the risks associated with Covid-19, informed by the latest government advice and working in collaboration with Hertfordshire Students' Union, Hertfordshire County Council and the NHS.
"As a campus-based university, we are well placed to deliver a blend of small-group teaching alongside live, interactive online lectures. We have provided all staff and students with a reusable face-covering to wear on campus and in the local community and have adapted our teaching, learning and social spaces so that everyone can follow social-distancing guidance and keep safe. We are also supporting our NHS by hosting a Covid-19 mobile testing unit on our College Lane campus.
"Our Student Charter has been updated this year to include a new Campus Community pledge, which reminds our university community that they have an obligation to protect others.
"There will undoubtedly be more challenges ahead as the pandemic evolves, but the University of Hertfordshire remains dedicated to keeping our community safe while delivering an exceptional higher education experience for its students."
As well as the university, Herts is home to the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield; Oaklands College with campuses in St Albans and Welwyn Garden City with a further provision in Borehamwood; West Herts College in Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Kings Langley; North Hertfordshire College which operates in Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth Garden City and Hertford Regional College.