Students are not to blame for tougher restrictions in York say health leaders

The University of York Heslington East campus. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

Students are not to blame for tougher restrictions being imposed in York, health bosses have said.

Only about half of cases among people aged 25 or younger are from students, a council question and answer session heard.

The city is seeing an increase in cases among all age groups, director of public health Sharon Stoltz said, adding that some students will “inevitably” become infected.

“Inevitably we’re seeing cases in students, but it would be wrong to say that students are the sole cause of an increase in our numbers,” she said.

“Even though it is true that when you look at the demographic of cases of Covid across the city it’s young people aged under 25 that we’re seeing the largest number of cases – we estimate that only about half of those cases are actually students.

“We’re seeing an increase in cases across all age groups.”

Patrick O’Donnell, University of York student union president, said students have been “discouraged” from going to bars in the city centre and Covid-safe venues have been set up on campus.

Cllr Darryl Smalley said students “bring so much to our city”, adding: “Not just to the economy but also to all of our communities – from volunteering, working and then hopefully eventually living in our city long term.

“Students are an integral part of what makes York so special.”