NUS Scotland has responded to new guidelines published by the Scottish Government on student accommodation.
Commenting, NUS Scotland President, Matt Crilly said:
“Today’s guidance provides welcome clarity to the students in halls who will be considering their next steps.
“We welcome that students will be able to return home on a permanent basis. However, we are disappointed that the government continues to talk up in-person teaching, which may keep students on campus and increase risks unnecessarily. We continue to call on the Scottish Government to strengthen teaching guidance so remote learning is the default, and a reality for as many students as possible.
"We recognise that some students may want to return to halls at a later date. We would welcome this opportunity to be open to them, so long as it is safe to do so.
“Students can, by law, end their student accommodation contracts by serving notice for Covid-19 related reasons. We’re calling for institutions and private providers to go further. This isn’t what students signed up for. If students want to end their contracts and return home, they should be fully refunded. And if they wish to defer study, they should be supported to do so.
“For those who wish to remain in halls, they must be provided with first-class support from their institutions – including practical support like food deliveries, as well as mental health and wellbeing support. They deserve nothing less.
“We also welcome guidance for students who may need to return home because they require the support of a friend, family member or other supportive person, to allow them to comply with the requirement to self-isolate.”