'No evidence' of Covid transmission from university education, says lecturer

28 September 2020, 18:17 | Updated: 28 September 2020, 19:25

By Sam Sholli

A university lecturer has told LBC there is "no evidence whatsoever" of coronavirus transmission through educational activity where she works.

Her words come as thousands of students at universities across the country are currently in lockdown in their halls of residence.

At least 30 universities have had Covid-19 outbreaks after ministers told students, in the face of warnings about the spread of infection, that they should relocate from their permanent residences to their student homes at the start of term.

Sarah, who lectures at a university in the South West, told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty: "We've just received an email from our university. We have our own testing and tracing system here and we've been told that the data that they've looked at shows there is no evidence whatsoever of transmission through any of our educational activity.

"It's clear that the main cause of Covid transmission is through students meeting up in multiple households. For that reason, we've been advised to carry on with face-to-face to teaching..."

However, there are students who, for the time being, have had their lectures moved online and face little or no prospect of face-to-face teaching.

Read more: Manchester police say enforcing university quarantine is 'not a policing issue'

Read more: Which UK universities are locked down?

Sarah warned face-to-face teaching at universities should continue because it's "massively important for the mental health of the students".

Shelagh agreed with Sarah on the importance of face-to-face teaching and suggested if students being "given a load of notes" wouldn't be an effective substitute.

Sarah also said that lecturers at her university were still trying to get their heads around "a whole raft of interactive tools".

She added: "When you're an older academic like me, it's actually quite hard when you're trying to make lectures sound exciting and you're trying to conduct seminars with little pictures of people rather than being in a room and having their body language..."

Read more: James O'Brien questions: "Did universities allow students to return to get money in the bank?"

Read more: 'It's a breach of their human rights' - lawyer warns over students in quarantine

Earlier today, the president of the National Union of Students (NUS) told ITV shocking stories of students having to go without food in "disgusting conditions" as security guards watch exits to ensure they stay indoors.

Sarah also expressed concern over the plight of students under quarantine.

"Students are now being locked away like we lock the elderly away and I feel that they're going to be scapegoated for going to go out and enjoy themselves," she said.