Freshers’ events such as Welcome Week and YUSU Fairs could be cancelled as the Government announced a ban on gatherings of more than six following a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The new measures which come into effect on Monday, will not apply to schools, workplaces, or organised sports teams, but, while the University and YUSU have not yet confirmed this, it is expected that large scale Freshers’ events will need reviewing.
Sky News has reported that a full list of exemptions to the new rules will be published on Monday. Support bubbles and households are unaffected by the rule change, so accommodation is expected to continue as planned.
When York Vision spoke to Goodricke JCRC President, Stephen Stanley, he commented that he doesn’t believe it would be possible to host “ a welcome week of any credibility anymore”.
Stanley stated that the sudden change in regulations meant that STYCs, second and third year students who supervise Freshers’ Week events, had “essentially been voided”.
Despite the dramatic turn of events, Stanley said he was “still determined to put on some form of a welcome for the new students” though stopped short of offering tangible plans.
The ban comes after the highest daily COVID-19 death toll in six weeks on Tuesday, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock telling MPs that the first ‘credible’ reinfection cases were starting to be seen.
Previously, COVID-19 guidelines allowed up to 30 people from two households to socialise with each other.
A failure to meet these regulations could result in a fine of £100, going up to £3,200 after each repeat offence.
In a statement from their Twitter account, YUSU said: “Whilst we remain of the view that carefully managed events, activities and venues are an important part of University life, we want to ensure that we can offer these opportunities in a safe way that is compliant with guidelines and laws.
“As always, the safety of students and staff members is our top priority. Thank you for your patience, and once we know more we will update you via our website, social media accounts and via emails to student groups.”
Langwith College Committee has already informed STYMs that they are “looking into the impacts this has on Arrivals, Welcome Week and further into the term”, urging honesty in dealing with incoming freshers as more details come in.