Students thanked for sticking to Covid-19 guidelines as Stoke-on-Trent prepares for new festive rules
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University students have been given top marks for their response to the Covid-19 restrictions currently in place in North Staffordshire.
PC Simon Stone is responsible for policing Staffordshire University’s Stoke-on-Trent campus – and overseeing the various streets which surround the facility.
And for PC Stone the new term has represented different challenges to those he has experienced in previous years where the influx of ‘freshers’ have enjoyed a different start to their lives as students.
However, he has praised the university and its students for how they have managed with the Covid-19 restrictions which saw the city and then wider county placed into the Very High Alert level.
PC Stone said: “The majority of students have really behaved and I think that is down to the proactive messages which have been put out.
“I work extremely closely with the university and our planning for 2021 started back in March as we want to have everything in place. We have ensured the right signs have been installed and students are aware of the rules.
“The Student Ambassadors have worked very hard too, making sure everyone is aware of just what they can and can’t do.
“I understand this has been very different to how these students may have imagined starting university life and you have to be sympathetic with the situation they are in. But the university has done so much to give them a great experience in what are challenging circumstances.”
The university has a Covid-19 Support and Response team which offers 24/7 support to all students. Their remit includes rapid response, information gathering and tracing to determine potential risks to the community along with coordination of support for all students who are self-isolating, displaying symptoms or who have tested positive for coronavirus.
PC Stone has been quick to visit any on-campus accommodation where there have been reports of breaches along with responding to those in private accommodation in the Shelton area. He added: “They are aware in the student halls that they must remain in their respective bubbles and I have followed up on any reports and provided advice and guidance.”
Concerns were raised nationally over students being tempted to hold house parties to mark the end of term – but PC Stone says that situation didn’t arise in the Potteries.
He said: “We have received reports of gatherings in houses and on attending it has turned out they aren’t students. Any incidents involving students are documented and followed-up by myself and the university. But the vast majority have adhered to the restrictions.
“Even walking around campus you will see them observing social distancing and wearing face masks.
“We look forward to welcoming them back next year and would remind the students to adhere to the restrictions currently in place in their home cities.”
Meanwhile those students remaining in the Potteries are being urged to remain focused on the national guidelines over Christmas as leaders at Stoke-on-Trent City Council have this week issued a stark warning to residents. The local authority has revealed the city is in a vulnerable position if the new strain of coronavirus takes hold with Stoke-on-Trent currently averaging 319.8 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000.
Council leader Abi Brown is also urging anyone – including students – who have returned to the Potteries from London or the South East to get tested. She said: “The virus does not know it’s Christmas, residents of Stoke-on-Trent need to take every precaution at this time. Follow the hands, face, space advice and don’t mix with other households, coronavirus transmission trends across the city continue to be predominantly as a result of household transmission.
“People including any students who have returned to Stoke-on-Trent from London or the South East, we are urging to get tested for the virus, to self-isolate and to not travel unnecessarily.”