Manchester's two largest universities will only teach students online from tomorrow to help curb the rising number of coronavirus cases.
The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University will detail the move to staff and students later today.
The decision was made in conjunction with the City Health Department and Public Health England and will last until at least October 30th.
It happens that nearly 4,000 students at more than 50 universities across the UK have tested positive for coronavirus – with Durham seeing the most recent surge in cases.
Breakouts have swept campus, forcing students to isolate themselves, even though the new semester only started weeks ago.
Other universities reporting an increase in infections include:
- Newcastle universities have around 850 positive students and all are now self-isolating.
- Nearly 500 people tested positive for coronavirus at Sheffield University.
- More than 400 students and eight staff have it at the University of Nottingham;
- Queen & # 39; s University in Belfast is closely monitoring 166 students and staff suffering from the disease.
- And 177 Liverpool University staff and students have tested positive since last week.
Nearly 4,000 students at more than 50 universities across the UK have tested positive for coronavirus – with Durham being the last to see cases rise
The University of Manchester, which has had 382 cases of Covid-19 since September 21, apologized for "conflicting information" given to students by some residential staff about isolation
Nearly 4,000 students at more than 50 universities across the UK have tested positive for coronavirus as Durham (pictured) sees an increase in cases at the latest
The only courses at the two universities in Manchester that are taught in person are "accredited and professional programs for laboratory, clinical and practice-oriented teaching on campus".
David Regan, Director of Public Health at Manchester Council, told MeN: “This is the right thing to do and supports our approach of using data and a local approach to contain outbreaks to reduce the possibility of further infection.
“More online teaching protects employees, students, and the wider community about what we want and need.
“As people will no doubt know from the news, our current Covid numbers are high – and in particular the infection rate over the past seven days for our 17-21 year old category is nearly six times higher than the rest of the community.
"Today's announcement and compliance with all of our local restrictions means we're taking a unified approach."
Which UK universities have the 4,000 Covid cases?
- Stirling: 14
- Glasgow: 172
- Salford: 56
- Liverpool University: 177
- Nottingham University: 425
- Swansea: 32
- Oxford Brookes: 47
- Kent University: 11
- De Montford: 9
- Manchester University: 382
- Newcastle / Northumbria: 850
- Sheffield University: 500
- Queen & # 39; s University Belfast: 166
* Some universities have not published figures
Durham University released their numbers as part of their weekly update of the number of cases reported by students or staff through their own system.
A total of 69 students and one employee had the virus in the week leading up to October 4th at the prestigious institution.
The total number of cases since the beginning of the semester is 79, consisting of three employees and 76 students.
A spokesman for the university said: “Since the beginning of the first semester there has been a small but growing number of positive cases treated in collaboration with colleagues from Durham County Council Public Health.
& # 39; All affected staff and students are self-isolating as per NHS guidelines and receive our full support.
"When we are notified of a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 by students or staff, or when someone needs to self-isolate due to close contact or in the same household as someone else with a confirmed case of Covid-19, we follow detailed processes and procedures to ensure their health and wellbeing and to reduce the spread.
“When a member of the university community tests positive, they isolate themselves with their household according to government guidelines.
"We are in regular contact with Durham County Council, Public Health England and other partners to ensure we are sharing information (not personal information) about the local situation and responding to the latest guidance."
It comes from the fact that more than 850 students at the universities of Northumbria and Newcastle were ordered to self-isolate after testing positive for coronavirus.
On October 2, Northumbria University confirmed that 770 of its students had developed Covid-19, 78 of whom showed symptoms.
All students who tested positive were asked to self-isolate along with their roommates and anyone they had contact with, the university confirmed.
Another 94 confirmed Covid-19 cases have also been recorded among Newcastle University students, bringing the total number of cities to 864.
The University and College Union (UCU) warned Northumbria University that it was "far too early for a mass return to campus".
More than 850 students at Northumbria (pictured) and Newcastle Universities have been instructed to self-isolate after testing positive for coronavirus
In a statement, UCU said, “We have notified Northumbria University that they have a civic duty to put the health of staff, students and the local community first, and we are not excited to see another preventable crisis now .
"We warned last month that given the current restrictions in the area, the direction of the infection rate and the problems with Test and Trace, it is clearly far too early for a mass campus return."
Nearly 500 people at the University of Sheffield have now tested positive for coronavirus in a mass outbreak of the disease.
474 students and five staff have tested positive for Covid-19 since September 28, according to an online tracker on the university's website.
Sheffield University employs around 8,000 people and typically accepts 29,000 students on campus each academic year.
A spokesman said those affected by coronavirus are following government guidelines and that support is available.
It goes without saying that no entire student apartment blocks are currently blocked.
Nearly 500 people tested positive for coronavirus in a mass outbreak of the disease at the University of Sheffield (pictured)
The spokesman said: "We are realizing how difficult it is for students who are new to Sheffield and are faced with self-isolating due to Covid-19 cases.
"To ensure that we are providing the best possible support to students, we will contact all students who are self-isolating to review their well-being and offer practical and emotional support."
The weekly coronavirus rate in Sheffield for the seven days ending October 1 is now 233.1 new cases per 100,000 people.
There were new fears of tighter restrictions in Sheffield after nearly 300 Covid-19 cases were recorded in a single day.
Last night the University of Nottingham announced that it had recorded 425 cases of the fatal illness among staff and students.
A staggering 400 students and eight East Midlands Institution staff are now self-isolating.
A spokesman said the number was "higher than other universities" because of its unique asymptomatic testing regime.
Most of the students who had the virus lived in private accommodation, but 106 were in dormitories and 93 in purpose-built student accommodation.
Last night the University of Nottingham (pictured) announced it had recorded 425 cases of the fatal illness among staff and students
The spokesman said: “In addition to the national second pillar test regime for people with symptoms of Covid-19, the university is also running its own asymptomatic testing program that identifies cases earlier and faster.
"While this means our case data is higher than that of other universities, we can identify cases that would otherwise go undetected, thereby reducing asymptomatic transmission and the number of future cases."
Institutions in Northern Ireland are also bearing the brunt of the crisis as Queen & # 39; s University Belfast "closely monitors" an increase in coronavirus cases.
It has been reported that 166 students and staff at South Belfast University have tested positive for Covid-19.
Around 25,000 students started the new academic year last month.
A statement from the university said the safety and wellbeing of staff and students are a top priority and that a number of measures have been taken across campus.
"The university works daily with the Public Health Agency (PHA) to ensure that the university continues to apply the correct measures to limit the spread of infections," said a spokesman.
“While the number of staff and students affected remains a minority, the increase in the number of positive cases is worrying, and the university fully understands that this can cause anxiety among students, staff and their families .
"Queen's is closely monitoring the situation and will not hesitate to take additional measures to further protect members of our community if this is deemed necessary in discussions with the PHA."
Institutions in Northern Ireland are also bearing the brunt of the crisis, with Queen & # 39; s University Belfast (pictured) "closely monitoring" an increase in coronavirus cases
The university went on to say that evidence gathered through contact tracing suggests that the virus is spread in social settings or in shelters.
Sinn Fein MLA John O & # 39; Dowd has urged university authorities to make sure their messages are clear.
"The Queen & # 39; s University must do everything in its power to ensure that students at their accommodation are informed of all existing procedures to ensure the safety of students and others," he said.
"Effective communication is key and I would urge university authorities to ensure that their messages are clear and received and understood by students."
Mr O & # 39; Dowd also urged Secretary of Commerce Diane Dodds and Secretary of Health Robin Swann to provide Covid-19 advice for students through the Public Health Agency.
Back on the Irish Sea, Liverpool University saw 177 staff and students test positive as of last week.
At Liverpool University (pictured) 177 employees and students have tested positive since last week
The University of Manchester, which has had 382 cases of Covid-19 since September 21, apologized for "conflicting information" given to students by some residential staff about isolation.
The BBC reported that students were told that a member of an insulating house could go to the stores to buy groceries if they couldn't get deliveries and that they could use the laundry service while they were wearing a mask.
A university spokesman said, “The safety and wellbeing of our students is our primary concern. We pride ourselves on the work of our Residential Life Team, who live in halls alongside our students.
& # 39; If any members of this team have provided conflicting information, we apologize. All students have now received one clear message. & # 39;
Most of the cases among students and staff appear to be in northern England cities, as well as Scottish universities, which were the first to reopen. However, there have been cases at facilities across the UK.
There have been 47 cases among Oxford Brookes University students while at Sussex University a staff member and 10 students self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19. This was the result of a survey.
But not all cases among students and staff have been reported "on campus". Some have performed in local communities or in private dormitories.
Over 4,000 Covid-19 cases have now been identified among students and employees.
Around 56 universities across the UK had at least one confirmed case of Covid-19, an analysis of university responses and media reports proposed this week.
The analysis found that more than 2,600 positive cases of Covid-19 had been identified at these universities before more cases were confirmed today and yesterday.
Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, Vice President of Higher Education at the National Union of Students (NUS), said: "The rise in Covid rates in universities now requires drastic action.
"It is deeply irresponsible to continue doing business as usual and the government and universities must be honest with students about what the pandemic can mean for their university experience."
She said, "Fully accessible online education needs to be an immediate reality, and we need digital investments nationally to make it happen."
Speaking at an independent Sage meeting on Friday, Professor Christina Pagel of University College London (UCL) said, "I think we have to recognize that students at university need support and that it shouldn't be a blame game."
She added, "If you put me in the house with seven strangers, I'll get covid a lot more often than where I am now, and I think that needs to be recognized."
Nick Hillman, Director of the Institute for Higher Education Policy (Hepi) said: “It's a stressful and difficult time for students right now and no one would have wished for this special start to the academic year.
“But we also need to recognize that the number of students who test positive and the number of self-isolating students make up a tiny fraction of the total UK student body.
"Universities need to support students who are self-isolating, and that support seems a lot – but not always – to get where it's needed."
Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), said, "It's outrageous that ministers and universities have spent the summer talking about a student experience that academia and staff said was never likely."
She added: "The priority for ministers now must be a support package that will cover lost income for universities and provide critical protection for staff and students."
A spokesperson for Universities UK (UUK) said: “The priority of all universities is to promote the health and wellbeing of their students, staff and local communities, and to ensure that students can continue their education during this pandemic.
& # 39; This is a very challenging time with Covid-19 cases increasing in many communities.
“All universities work in partnership with their local government and public health authorities to adapt to changing local conditions, effectively implement outbreak control plans to protect their communities, and continue to ensure that mitigation measures are in place.
"When students isolate themselves, universities take care of both their physical and emotional wellbeing, including access to testing and health care, mental health support, online learning, safe social interaction, delivery of Food, laundry and financial support. "
A government spokesman said, "We recognize that this has been a really challenging time for students, especially those who need to self-isolate at the beginning of their university trip. We asked universities to ensure that those who isolate themselves get the support they need.
"Universities are well prepared for a local outbreak and we have worked with them to develop action plans in the event of positive cases on campus or an increase in local cases."
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