Yorkshire news Students hit back after young people blamed for Covid increase MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - The president of one of York's student unions says it's 'deeply unhelpful' to single out young people as students get set to return to universities
Breaking News ! Students in York are preparing to go back to their universities under very unique circumstances. Young people will be going to university with strict restrictions on who they can see and where they can go, all the while dealing with the guilt of being blamed for recent increases of coronavirus cases. The country has been put under more and more restrictions in recent weeks following further outbreaks and rises in case numbers across the UK, including the 'rule of six' and 10pm curfew on the hospitality sector. The new rules have come after an increase of cases across the country, with health secretary Matt Hancock singling out young people as the key culprits for the spread. Young people and students have since hit back, saying that an increase in cases was bound to happen when the government relaxed restrictions on going out. They've also said that highlighting young people is "deeply unhelpful" and has created further divides. Eve Martin, a former Politics, Philosophy and Economics student at the University of York, said she felt "vilified". She said: "If people feel like that and if Matt Hancock is going to blame certain people then they shouldn't have opened bars like they did in the first place. "I'm not saying they should have expected young people to cause the spread but they should have expected young people to go out." She said that when out with her friends in the city she has been sticking to the same place and taking extra steps to mitigate the spread of the virus. She said; "Generally we all respect the rules and recognise that there is a risk for people. We are not selfish enough to put other people at risk through our own actions. All we have to do is abide by their rules." Eve, who has been working at Morrison's throughout the pandemic, said: "I think older people tend to look down on younger people generally and Matt Hancock placing the blame exacerbates this idea that young people are silly. The reality is I have never seen a young person not wearing a mask in the supermarket or on public transport.
YUSU president Patrick O'Donnell outside The Forest - a venue set up on campus specifically to help with new measures
"I think a lot of people are looking for a scapegoat and have done since the pandemic started when we should should be supporting each other and not placing blame." The first term at York University is set to start on Monday (September 28), but rather than the new undergraduates bustling around the campus and meeting new people on freshers week, they will be receiving most of their essential information virtually and coming to grips with university life from their dormitory. President of the York University Student's Union (YUSU) Patrick O'Donnell said that he had spoken to many students in the city, all of which were committed to "the local community and the shared role of all of us in keeping everyone safe". He said: "In my conversations with students, they are very much aware of the expectations of them and their own role and responsibilities to their friends, their lectures, and their neighbours. "It's inaccurate to attribute the recent increase of cases solely on young people, as many Universities are only just returning, and these clumsy statements have been appearing since the end of August." He added that many students had been "very disappointed with the rhetoric emanating from some Government figures and in the tabloid press".
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He said: "Developing an attitude which talks about students as not being members of the local community is deeply unhelpful and does nothing to foster the spirit of cooperation which is vital in working together to defeat the virus." Mr O'Donnell said that the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan MP, visited the campus recently and that he brought up the issue of "tackling statements towards students which do nothing to help bring people together" and that she agreed with the points he raised. He also brought up the "confusing" nature of the government guidance and the issues that it brought to communicating to new students and foreign students what is expected of them.
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He said: "All students I have spoken with recognise the importance of following Government guidelines, in order to keep themselves and wider community safe." The University of York has undertaken a number of measures to help implement social distancing measures, including increasing the capacity for outdoor spaces.
Source = MetiNews.Com