NUS questions legality of pre-Christmas Covid lockdown plan for English universities

15 October 2020, 10:34

By Sam Sholli

The National Union of Students is "questioning whether there's legal precedent" for a planned pre-Christmas lockdown for universities in England.

NUS President Larissa Kennedy made the union's position clear in response to ministers wanting to place universities in England into coronavirus lockdown for a fortnight in December.

Under the plan, universities would go into lockdown from 8 December until 22 December, with students told to stay on campus and all teaching to be carried out online.

Read more: Covid alert level: What is a tier 2 lockdown and what areas will be included in it?

Local lockdown postcode checker: How to check your area's Covid-19 alert level and restrictions

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari, Ms Kennedy said: "We really are questioning whether there's legal precedent to do this and to treat students differently than the rest of the population, largely because students just aren't the homogenous group that the Government seems to think they are.

"There are students of all ages, students who are parents and carers. I mean what would this mean for students with jobs that they can't do remotely?

"It just doesn't feel like this is thought through if this is still where the Government are at this stage."

When asked by Nick about concerns over students spreading the virus if they return home for Christmas, the NUS President replied: "The onus is with the Government to create a safe plan for exit for these students because this is a mess of the Government's own making.

"They ignored the advice from the Sage meeting on September 21st where the science indicated that we needed the immediate introduction of online teaching unless face-to-face [teaching] was absolutely essential.

"In ignoring that, this is a mess of their own making. Students should not be bearing the brunt of the Government's own shortcomings..."

Last month, Ms Kennedy also spoke of how students are "close to the brink" financially due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her remarks came after the NUS published a survey showing that 73% of students are concerned about being able to manage financially and now half plan to have a full or part-time job alongside their studies.

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

The Care Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'Where is Maggie Throup?!': Nick Ferrari asks why the Vaccines Minister is AWOL

'How extraordinary': Nick Ferrari reacts to Universal Credit photo-pose rules

'Dear god': Nick Ferrari reacts to Universal Credit photo-pose rules

The Business Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Kwasi Kwarteng says UK can be 'world leaders or laggards' in net zero quest

Kwasi Kwarteng has "categorically" ruled out bringing back lockdown restrictions

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng: Another Covid lockdown is 'not going to happen'

The lawyer was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Dennis Hutchings death: Northern Ireland veteran's lawyer hits out at trial

The International Trade Secretary was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Cabinet member reveals online troll 'threatened to burn down my house with my kids inside'

Dominic Raab said it was "wrong" to use anonymous social media accounts to abuse MPs

Dominic Raab: It's wrong that people can post abuse anonymously online

The Deputy Prime Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Raab: Giving Southend city status would be 'fitting tribute' to slain MP Sir David Amess

Christmas saved but pig farmers at their “wit’s end” over butcher shortage

Christmas saved but pig farmers at their 'wit’s end' over butcher shortage

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Transport Secretary savages 'pathetic and dangerous' road blocking eco mob

The Shadow International Trade Secretary was speaking to Nick Ferrari

Emily Thornberry calls for 'a bit of grown-up politics' in Brexit negotiations

Nick Ferrari gave his take on the issue

'Why the hell are we calling off the fireworks? Why is the Mayor such a killjoy?'

The Tory Party Chair was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'We are very sorry': Tory Party Chair apologises after damning Covid report

The caller was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'Why isn't there a student loan scheme to train HGV drivers?' caller asks

Nick Ferrari quizzed the Cabinet Office minister

Nick Ferrari savages minister who has not read damning Covid report

The Security Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Minister denies Business Secretary lied about extra support for firms amid energy crisis