Universities are facing two week Covid-19 lockdown before end of term in ...

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, above, last month revealed the proposal to lockdown students for two weeks (file photo)

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, above, last month revealed the proposal to lockdown students for two weeks (file photo)

Universities are facing a two-week lockdown before the end of term in December in a plan to save students' Christmas.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson last month revealed the proposal to self-isolate students between 8 and 22 December.

He earlier told the Commons: 'We are going to work with universities to make sure that all students are supported to return home safely and spend Christmas with their loved ones, if they choose to do so.'

Universities' minister Michelle Donelan is expected to hold talks today in an effort to raise support for the plan, which will involve students staying on campus while being taught online, according to The Guardian.  

But vice-chancellors are said to be concerned about the plan, with higher education bosses expressing doubt over sending a high volume of students home together on public transport in one day. 

It follows Boris Johnson pledging to 'get students home safely for Christmas', despite the rising number of Covid-19 cases at universities.

Sheffield University reported 588 student infections in the week ending 8 October, which is equal to an infection rate of 2,028 per 100,000 people – the standard measure for analysing outbreaks. 

A sign seen at a halls in Manchester earlier this month. Boris Johnson has pledged to 'get students home safely for Christmas', despite the rising number of cases at universities

A sign seen at a halls in Manchester earlier this month. Boris Johnson has pledged to 'get students home safely for Christmas', despite the rising number of cases at universities

Students Lauren Watson (left) and Olivia Austin at The Forge student accommodation at Sheffield Hallam University which has seen a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases

Students Lauren Watson (left) and Olivia Austin at The Forge student accommodation at Sheffield Hallam University which has seen a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases

Outbreaks in student areas are significantly worse than in other parts of the country and in one part of Manchester one in 20 people were proven to be carrying the disease. 

Local positive test data from earlier this month showed that per-person infection rates of Covid-19 were up to seven times higher than in the worst affected towns and cities overall, and up to 45 times higher than the England average. 

Known for living in large households, mixing with strangers and having very active social lives, students create arguably the ideal environment for a Covid-19 outbreak.

Data analysed by The Times shows in Fallowfield in Manchester - a thriving student suburb of the city - five per cent of people tested positive for the disease in the week ending October 2.

This is equivalent to a weekly coronavirus infection rate of almost 5,000 cases for every 100,000 people. 

A per-100,000 rate is the standard way of measuring Covid-19 infections, although Fallowfield's population is only around 15,000 people. 

Students draw at Quayside in Newcastle during their first contact with Newcastle University since they joined over a week ago amid the spread of coronavirus

Students draw at Quayside in Newcastle during their first contact with Newcastle University since

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