According to the latest scientific advice, students could be told to stay away from their families over the Christmas holidays.
The warnings are expected to be published in the latest minutes from meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
And it was reported that larger outbreaks are anticipated at the end of the academic term as students move around the country to journey home during their two-week break.
It comes as the University of Liverpool this week confirmed 87 cases, while the University of Dundee told 500 students to isolate after an outbreak in a halls residence as students returned to the city for the new term.
Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Unit and former government special advisor to the universities minister, confirmed students could be asked to remain on campus over the holidays.
Nick Hillman said ministers will have to tell students that it’s best that they stay away from home this year.
Meanwhile, there were calls to discontinue lectures at Liverpool University after 80 students and seven staff caught coronavirus, while 500 undergraduates are now isolating at halls in Dundee after a single confirmed case.
NHS Tayside in Scotland contacted other students who had come into contact with the infected cases at Abertay University, with all residents of halls being told to self isolate until tracing was completed.
Dr Daniel Chandler, associate director of public health, said that they knew from outbreaks in other university settings across Scotland that the virus could spread extremely fast in student accommodation.
Therefore, as a precautionary measure, they were contacting all residents of Parker House and advising them to self isolate immediately, and that further investigation and contact tracing were continuing and that they would review the advice in the coming days.
Union members in Liverpool were seeking assurances they will not have vulnerable staff arrive on the campus and Martyn Moss, a UCU regional official, said Liverpool’s universities have to immediately heed the call from the staff and have halted unnecessary in-person teaching and that the safety of staff, students and the local community has to be the number one focus.
More widely, the university sector and the Government must address this public health crisis immediately. It’s just not enough to plan to manage COVID outbreaks when they need to work to stop them.
It would have been a better idea to have told them to remain at home and to access courses via the internet, but of course, universities would have lost millions so they filled up the halls of residence and now they want to keep them captive so that they can charge them rent.
The majority of courses are entirely online with zero on-campus learning and all they’re offering is access to the library, but as you have to study with a mask on it’s not going to be the most favoured place to spend time.
Perhaps this year it would be best to just cancel Christmas and focus on dealing with this virus – it’s over-commercialised anyhow and if we can’t even get together with our loved ones then what’s the point.
Maybe we can kill the turkey and have 15 over for the funeral – but on a more sober note, UK students largely get a raw deal anyhow. Currently, distance learning, then tuition from educators who often don’t turn up and the final reward, a degree to stack shelves in supermarkets because there are no jobs.
What people don’t realise is that lockdown after lockdown and compulsory mask-wearing will deplete our immune system, but it’s a pretty good way to paving the way for a cashless and controlled society with scared mask-wearing sheep who are walking straight into the quagmire.