COVID-19: Concerns raised for student’s human rights

Date: 19th November 2020
Category: COVID-19, Education, including vocational education, Mental health

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A statement from the Scottish Human Rights Commission has expressed concerns around accommodation that is poorly-suited to quarantine, inadequate information and reduced support.

The Statement highlights that human rights concerns have also been raised by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland in relation to students who are under 18, or  under 21 and care experienced.

The Scottish Human Rights Commission (the Commission) raises concerns for all students, particularly those living in student residences. It says “student residences are extremely poorly suited to quarantine arrangements, with multiple occupants living in close proximity, and sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities.” Subsequently, while legal restrictions apply to the whole population, those living in student residences feel the impact of these more acutely. 

The Commission calls upon Scottish universities to ensure adequate support is provided to students who are required to self-isolate and that students themselves are involved in determining what this support should be. This is particularly important, as many students who have recently moved to a new city will not be able to rely on the help of their traditional support network.

The Commission welcomes the First Minister’s announcement that a public inquiry into all aspects of the handling of the pandemic will be held in due course. It urges scrutiny as to whether it was appropriate to allow students, both Scottish and international, to take up places in student residences at this point in the pandemic.

  • Read the statement in full here.