Public Health expert confirms universities haven't dealt well with Covid outbreaks

27 September 2020, 11:45 | Updated: 27 September 2020, 13:39

By Seán Hickey

This professor admitted universities haven't dealt well with Covid-19 breakouts on campuses, but maintained that some people are better off being on campus than learning remotely.

Linda Bauld is Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh and began her conversation with Andrew Castle by noting that the uncertainty around coronavirus means that no predictions can be made on whether students can return home amid outbreaks in uni halls.

"It's not just about death," she said, "it's long Covid too." Professor Bauld went on to note that although students might not get severe Covid-19 symptoms, they can still spread the virus to vulnerable people if not isolated.

Andrew argued that "you have to weigh up both sides of this argument," and maintained that this sort of lockdown will have lasting effects on the mental health of the students involved.

Professor Bauld acknowledged there are issues in how students are treated at the moment, but noted that "many of them can't learn online," and felt that it is crucial that students have face to face learning.

"Unfortunately we are in the middle of a pandemic and that is the place we're in."

Students across the UK have been locked in their halls after outbreaks on campuses
Students across the UK have been locked in their halls after outbreaks on campuses. Picture: PA

"You're saying it's the right thing to send them back to university," Andrew argued.

Professor Bauld insisted "some of those students are better off on campus," as they may not have access to strong internet connection or learning materials at home.

"We're living in the middle of this and we're just going to have to get on with it," she added.

The public health expert insisted that "universities aren't dealing with this very well."

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