Clear plan needed to allow universities to safely reopen

West of Scotland list MSP Pam Gosal is supporting calls from Universities Scotland for the Scottish Government to urgently outline a safe reopening plan to allow students to return.

West of Scotland list MSP Pam Gosal
West of Scotland list MSP Pam Gosal

Universities Scotland are concerned that talks have stalled since the Cabinet reshuffle which saw Shirley-Anne Sommerville replace John Swinney as Education Secretary.

They are also seeking urgent clarification over what social distancing measures will be left in place in universities as they seek to reduce social distancing from two metres to one metres to allow more students to experience learning on campus.

Ms Gosal met with Universities Scotland to directly hear their concerns, and then raised the matter with Ms Sommerville.

She said: “It was clear from meeting with Universities Scotland they are seriously concerned by the lack of any sort of plan as to how they can safely re-open to more students and staff.

“Universities are huge institutions and need sufficient time to plan ahead, but the answer from the new Education Secretary to me was non-committal.

“My own son completed a intercalated degree at Glasgow University last year without stepping foot on campus. While I’m obviously proud of his achievements, I’m keen to avoid that happening for students going forward.”

Ms Sommerville told Ms Gosal: “We are working carefully with the sector to ensure that universities can safely reopen for students and for staff, bearing in mind the public health limitations that we are under.”