"numbers of student cases surged in induction week"
It has emerged that 770 students from Northumbria University have tested positive for Coronavirus.
Seventy-eight students at the university, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, were displaying symptoms. All of them are now self-isolating.
A spokesperson for the university said:
“As of Friday, October 2, we can confirm that we are aware of 770 Northumbria University students who have tested positive for Covid-19, of whom 78 are symptomatic.
“These students are all now self-isolating. Their flatmates and any close contacts are also self-isolating for 14 days in line with government guidance and have been advised to contact NHS119 to book a test as soon as possible should symptoms appear.”
In a statement, the university said it was supporting those affected by providing food and other essential items like laundry and cleaning materials.
It is also offering “welfare support including 24/7 online mental health support and one-to-one support from our wellbeing teams”.
The university spokesperson added:
“The increase in numbers comes in the week after students returned to university and reflects the good access to and availability of testing, as well as rigorous and robust reporting systems.
“In parts of the UK where universities started term earlier, numbers of student cases surged in induction week and then reduced.
“We are making it clear to students that if they break the rules they will be subject to fines from police and disciplinary action by the universities which may include fines, final warnings or expulsion.
“Both Northumbria and Newcastle universities have Covid response teams on call that are working closely with NHS test and trace, Public Health England North East and the city to identify and get in touch with anyone who has been in close contact with those affected.”
Students now will remain in halls of residence. They will continue to learn remotely with “additional academic support in place to make sure they are not being disadvantaged” if they miss some face-to-face tuition.
Students have been urged to download the NHS Covid-19 app.
Councillor Irim Ali said the city and university had gone to “incredible lengths” to create Covid-secure environments for students but “sadly, a small number of students are undermining these efforts”.
“While work continues to control ongoing outbreaks, we need all students to comply with the regulations and guidance.”
“If we are to beat the virus, we need a collective effort.”
Northumbria University is among more than 50 universities to have confirmed Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, as thousands of students returned to campuses.
Glasgow University has had 124 confirmed cases while 221 have been recorded at the University of Manchester.