Image: Wikimedia Commons / Immanuel Giel

Enhanced security to check students are following social distancing guidelines

Universities are set to pay tens of thousands of pounds for security teams to check whether students are following social distancing guidelines. 

According to The Telegraph, if students are caught breaking the guidelines they could be fined, suspended or even expelled. 

Community protection officers are supplied by the local council and can patrol the local area, not just the halls of residence on campus. 

Nottingham and Nottingham Trent Universities already spend £60,000 a year on community protection officers. 

While their usual job involves dealing with noisy neighbours or parties getting out of hand, they will now be responsible for checking if students are sticking to social distancing guidelines.

If the officers find students to be breaking the guidelines they will need to collect evidence and report this to the university. 

Prof Shearer West, University of Nottingham’s vice-chancellor, said: “We already spend between the two universities something like £60,000 a year on community protection officers and supporting that consideration of how we keep discipline in the community.

We have to think about the students that we don’t have immediately under our sites and we can ensure that the students are aware and have signed up to the discipline expectations of how they should behave in a public health pandemic

– Prof Shearer West

“We are looking at how we reinforce that and what those protection officers may be looking for may not just be loud parties, which is one of the things they obviously do look at, but also if there are some real offences to the discipline code in terms of public health.

“We have to think about the students that we don’t have immediately under our sites and we can ensure that the students are aware and have signed up to the discipline expectations of how they should behave in a public health pandemic.”

Some measures already announced by universities include banning overnight guests, which University College London have implemented, and the wearing of a face mask in all indoor communal spaces at the University of Oxford. 

Universities are also implementing fines for breaking social distancing rules. Bristol University has said that the fines could be up to £800. 

The Boar asked the University of Warwick if similar measures would be implemented on campus.

A spokesperson said: “While almost everyone already has access to face coverings, the University is also procuring them for our students and staff.

“The maintenance of community life and good order in student residences remains with the Residential Life Team in the first instance as in previous years.”

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