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VC defends students over Covid-19 spike

Professor Jeffery appealed to the public not to blame students for spikes they may not be at fault for.

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Image Credit: University of York

The City of York has been subject to numerous controversies recently regarding individual’s conduct and a lack of attention being paid to coronavirus prevention regulations. With two large universities servicing around 40 000 students, an influx of new people and potential virus outbreaks have been raised as areas of concern and potential causes of the local spikes in cases of Covid-19.

However, Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, Professor Charlie Jeffery, has appealed to the public not to blame any increases or spikes on students, defending them from potentially unjustified criticism. Highlighting the disruption that university students have faced to their education and life-styles, he emphasised that students become part of their communities when they move to live in the University and are aware of the responsibilities that come with that in regards to being Covid safe.

The chancellor’s statements coincide with spikes in COVID-19 infection rates in young people between the ages of 20-39, the majority of which are significantly older than most freshers or university students that would be typically associated with social gatherings in cities like York.

In deflecting criticisms against students returning to university, Professor Jeffery gave a heartfelt message stating “we need them. “They are our doctors, our engineers, our teachers,our scientists of the future and we are going to need them to get out of the long-term effects of this crisis.”

Professor Jeffery was also clear that the University was ready to adapt to any further regulations or restrictions that might hit York, as they have done in places like Liverpool and Manchester, though he was quick to state that if those measures were necessary they would be handled with“compassion” to ensure that student well-being is assured. For many students, who face unique difficulties this year, the reassurance and care that their university Vice-Chancellor plans to support them, their well-being and their reputations will be a positive as they progress their university careers.

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