The National Union of Students Scotland (NUS) has raised deep concerns over thousands of potentially non-vaccinated students who will attend Scottish universities in September this year.
The NUS Scotland President Matt Crilly said that the union is worried about the high numbers of students under 18 who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and many others who have received only the first dose of the vaccine, Erudera.com reports.
Crilly highlighted that the health and safety of students and staff is of particular importance; therefore, NUS Scotland has urged the acceleration of vaccination among students, so they are protected before returning to campuses.
Concerns follow a published guidance by the Scottish government, which foresees higher education institutions in Scotland to restrict the number of students in most attended courses in order to protect those who aren’t fully vaccinated or unvaccinated at all.
In addition, the guidance also points out that international students must self-isolate as set by the “traffic light” travel restrictions system, and some universities will potentially welcome international students from red list countries.
Furthermore, Crilly advised for quarantine fees to be removed for international students, claiming that as the new term approaches, there is still uncertainty on how international students will be supported regarding quarantine once they arrive in the country.
Scottish Higher and Further Education Minister Jamie Hepburn said that universities had received £150 million of additional Scottish Government support for COVID-19, adding that hopefully, student experience in fall will be more normal, yet measures will remain in force to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Most recently, Scotland announced it has decided to expand the national COVID-19 vaccination program to include international students and protect them during their studies in the country.
Several universities in Scotland are expected to start terms after September 12, a deadline set by the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon for all adults to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Edinburgh University is expected to begin its term on September 14, whereas the Glasgow University on September 20. Nevertheless, groups of students are expected to arrive at campuses a few weeks before the universities begin their terms.
Only 67.8 percent of people aged 18-29 have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of July 15. Whereas, the deadline for all adults to receive the first dose is July 18.