Thousands of students are due to arrive in Portsmouth from across the country ready for a term start date of October 5. Worries are compounded by Public Health England data recently showing the highest rates of cases are in young people aged 20 to 29.
With the government limiting gatherings to six people from Monday September 14, the University of Portsmouth has announced its expectation that students will comply with the new rules, including in halls of residence. The limit does not apply to lectures.
A university spokesman said: ‘Students are expected to take personal responsibility for their own safety and the safety of other students, staff and the wider community by adhering to the university’s student contract and code of student behaviour, safety measures put in place, and by following government guidelines.
‘As with other members of our local community, students are advised of a £100 fine if they break the law banning social gatherings of more than six people, and this amount doubles for any subsequent breaches. This applies to halls of residence as well as private accommodation.’
The new regulation will have strict implications for students’ social life, including house parties and the traditional Freshers Week, when students would ordinarily take part in events where the aim is to meet and interact with new people.
However, university officials are ‘encouraging’ students to only have online parties and have even devised a number of online virtual activities.
The spokesman added: ‘The university is working with the Students' Union to encourage students to keep parties online. We've put together a programme of virtual social activities and, where guidance allows, physical activity so that students can still meet other students safely and build connections within government regulations.’
Any student who sees government guidelines being flouted and is concerned for their welfare or the welfare of other students is urged to contact the University’s Residence Life Team.
Those students found breaking regulations have been warned they will also be subject to the university’s own disciplinary procedures.
The spokesman said: ‘The vast majority of our students adhere to requirements. However, if they do not, penalties for student misconduct range from temporary suspension to permanent exclusion.’
Complaints about students behaviour in private accommodation should be sent to [email protected]