We’re being told “it’ll be a bumpy road” over the next few months in Sheffield as universities in the city attempt to control coronavirus outbreaks
Last updated 12 minutes ago
As face to face teaching is suspended at the University of Sheffield, due to a spike in student and staff coronavirus cases, the city’s public health boss says it was “inevitable” a lot of young people would get the virus.
Almost a thousand have tested positive across the two universities.
Sheffield’s Director of Public Health, Greg Fell, tells us it was always going to happen: ” It is what it is. The spread in every town, or the fastest age cohort, is the 17-30’s.
“It was inevitable that we would see a lot of students – or a lot of young people – test positive.
“This isn’t something where I am blaming students. We have welcomed tens of thousands of them back to Sheffield, because Sheffield is a really, really big university town.
“The bottom line is students are welcome in Sheffield and long may that continue – we will manage the consequences.
“Both universities are very well prepared, and both have good, robust plans in place.”
Teaching at the University of Sheffield is being held online until the 19th October, while Sheffield Hallam says more lectures there are also going virtual.
The city’s health chief has, however, raised concerns about young people missing out on education, as a result of the moves. Mr Fell says, while a lot of thought will have gone into the vital changes, it is just as important to make sure students don’t fall behind.
“I suspect both universities have thought pretty hard about what needs to be face to face and what needs to go online.
“In going further, it is important that we don’t disadvantage the educational opportunities of young people – particularly those who are least advantaged. The last thing we want to do is widen the education gap.”
Sheffield also saw general Covid-19 cases soar earlier this week. The rate of infection more than doubled, from 91.8 cases per 100,000, to 233.1 per 100,000.
It came after the addition of 16,000 cases nationwide. They initially went unreported because of a technical error.
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