University of Sunderland’s riverside St Peter’s campus.
THE University of Sunderland Students’ Union (SU) has expressed disappointment, after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said students may not be able to travel home for Christmas.
Mr Hancock refused to rule out a “student lockdown” when asked about the movement of students around the country.
SR News contacted the SU, which also stressed that students should follow any guidelines set by the government.
SU President Chris Davison and Education President Georgios Chnarakis issued a statement which said: “It is disappointing to hear that students may be unable to travel home for Christmas, but we strongly urge all students to follow government guidance as it is issued.
“At Sunderland, a lot of our students are based in the North East and do not live in student housing, and so the idea of ‘travelling home for Christmas’ will not apply to them.
“For our students who are living away from home, we are really disappointed for them that they may be unable to be with family at Christmas, but the Students’ Union will do as much as possible to support them.”
Mr Hancock stressed the importance for young people, specifically university students, to adhere to social distancing and play their part in stopping the spread of the virus.
He said: “Young people don’t just spread the virus to each other, they spread the virus to their parents and their grandparents.
“They spread it to those they come in contact with and to others who they love.”
He added “Now, I know social distancing can be hard, and how it can be extra-tough for students who will be starting university, but please stick with it and play your part in getting this virus under control.”
The possible Christmas home-visit ban is just another potential blow to students, with the Chancellor offering little protection to student jobs in his recent economic briefing.
Earlier pub closing times and nightclubs being closed are just some of the changes, and that has had a knock-on effect for students who rely on hospitality jobs. Click here for previous coverage touching on this.
The SU statement said: “There has undoubtedly been an impact on students with part-time jobs, particularly for those on zero hours contracts who have not benefited from the furlough scheme or the newly announced Job Support scheme.
“Many students do work in the hard-hit hospitality industry and so students are likely to now be forced to look for jobs elsewhere.”
In what will undoubtedly be one of the toughest years to be a student, the SU is encouraging students to try and avoid zero-hours-contract jobs.