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Nicola Sturgeon has apologised to the hundreds of thousands of students banned from socialising at their universities. The Scottish First Minister admitted she had “got things wrong” amid a mounting backlash from furious students. She was quizzed about mistakes the government had made after university representatives accused Ms Sturgeon of trying to shift the blame to students.
A reporter from STV asked the First Minister at Friday’s coronavirus briefing: “I was wondering what mistakes you think have been made by university or by government around the return of students to university generally?
“And if any consideration was given, as suggested today, to a mass testing programme for students at the time of their return?”
In response, Ms Sturgeon said: “I hope people who have watched these briefings over the last six months have seen I have tried not to be defensive about getting things wrong.
She continued: “But this situation is so difficult that almost anything we do will have unintended consequences.
“We have got to recognise that nothing will be perfect. We will have issues in some way whatever we do.
Despite this, student union representatives have said that the SNP’s move disregards mental health and “applies different rules from the rest of the adult population”.
The president of NUS Scotland, Matt Crilly, condemned the announcement, saying that it showed “a complete disregard for students’ mental health and wellbeing”.
Scotland’s University and College Union official Mary Senior said it was “astonishing” that students seemed to be blamed for spreading the virus.
She said the Scottish government should be introducing “remote learning and not threatening students with red cards and banning them from going out”.
The strict crackdown at Scottish universities means that students will not be allowed to socialise outside their households.
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The new rules include a “yellow card/red card” disciplinary system which could lead to students losing their places at university.
The strict crackdown comes after thousands of students UK-wide were forced to go into isolation within days of campuses reopening.
UK ministers like Matt Hancock have even refused to rule out keeping students at university campuses over Christmas to stop the spread of COVID-19.
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News – Nicola Sturgeon forced to apologise for SNP lockdown mistakes: ‘We have got things wrong’