Shocking footage shows hundreds of students climbing on top of ping pong tables and raving at a Coventry University accommodation block last night.
At least 200 students are thought to have crammed into a common room at Arundel House, close to Coventry University’s main campus, ignoring social distancing guidelines and the rule of six.
Some revellers could be heard screaming, while a group of male students clambered on top of a ping pong table as they sang along to the thumping music.
The accommodation block is just a two minute walk from campus and is also close to the town centre.
A spokesman said Coventry University was aware of the incident and said any students found to be in breach of the university’s code of conduct could face disciplinary proceedings.
An investigation is underway to find the organisers of the party, with police shutting down communal areas in the accommodation blocks and beefing up security in light of last night’s gathering.
The footage emerged despite coronavirus causing havoc at universities across the country.
Up to 4,000 students across Britain are now self-isolating for a fortnight after more than 500 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed across at least 32 universities.
The University of Exeter became the latest to institute a ‘soft lockdown’ on its students yesterday afternoon, asking them not to socialise in other people’s residences and only to mix with people within their household.
It is believed that more than half of the cases confirmed in Exeter over the last week can be traced back to the university.
Elsewhere, 1,700 students are under lockdown at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) campuses of Birley and Cambridge Halls. All lectures, seminars and classes for first-year students at the university will now be online for the next 14 days.
A statement issued from Coventry University this afternoon said: ‘We are aware of an incident in a private accommodation block which was captured in a video that has been shared online.
‘We are deeply concerned by the scenes in the video and strongly condemn the blatant breaches of the rule of six and other guidelines as they risk the health of our students, colleagues and the communities in which we are located.
‘We have introduced a code of conduct for students and shared this widely with them ahead of the weekend.
Some revellers could be heard screaming, while a group of male students clambered on top of a ping pong table as they sang along to the thumping music
The accommodation block is just a two minute walk from campus and is also close to the town centre
‘This code of conduct makes it clear that a failure to follow university and Government health, safety and wellbeing requirements will constitute a breach of the university’s disciplinary regulations and may be dealt with as a matter of misconduct.
‘If any of those involved in the video are found to be students of Coventry University and in breach of the code of conduct, we will take appropriate action.
Government should introduce ‘Nightingale classes’ say teachers
Union chiefs have called on the government to create ‘Nightingale classes’ amid a drop in the number of schools able to fully open due to Covid-19.
The latest government figures revealed one in six state secondary schools could not fully open last week – with most unable to do so because of coronavirus.
Schools are considered to be not fully open if they are unable to provide face-to-face teaching for all pupils for the whole school day and have asked a group of students to self-isolate.
Latest school attendance statistics reveal approximately 84 per cent of state-funded secondary schools were fully open on September 24 – down eight per cent from a week earlier.
Now bosses from the National Education Union (NEU), the largest education union in the UK, have renewed calls on the government to create ‘Nightingale classes’ in a bid to get all of the country’s students back into lessons.
They say the Nightingale class would be similar to the government’s Nightingale hospital system – where pop-up hospitals were set up in conference centres at the start of the pandemic to deal with an anticipated surge in hospital admissions.
Joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: ‘With such a rapid drop in the number of fully open secondary schools in the space of just two weeks, it is clear the Government’s grip on the situation is now in question.
‘It is doubtful the urgency of the situation has yet dawned on either (Prime Minister) Boris Johnson or (Education Secretary) Gavin Williamson, who must now ensure that schools and colleges are equipped to deal swiftly and effectively with any outbreaks that occur on their premises.
‘This does not just begin and end with testing, although that situation is parlous enough.
‘We need to see the drafting in of retired, supply and newly qualified teachers to get class sizes down.
‘Nightingale classes will be necessary to expand school space – we have been calling for that since June.’
A spokesman for Coventry Police said: ‘We attended Arundel House today (September 29) following reports of a large gathering of students in the early hours of this morning. It’s believed around 200 people may have been present in a common room.
‘We will be examining CCTV and will take action if evidence comes to light that this was a planned party.
‘We have liaised with management at the student accommodation block and they have agreed to close some communal areas and to increase security.
‘We have also arranged a Safer Students stall in Arundel House tomorrow to reiterate CoVID-19 regulations and the consequences should those regulations be flouted.’
A spokesman for NIDO, which runs Arundel House, said: ‘We were made aware of a large social gathering in our residence in Coventry last night.
‘Steps were immediately taken to deal with the gathering, including calling the police for assistance. The police were unfortunately unable to attend at the time. We understand that they are under a lot of strain due to the number of similar incidents, both in Coventry and nationally.
‘We are in close contact with FutureLets at Coventry University and are assisting the local authorities with their investigation.
‘In line with government advice, we are reinforcing our zero tolerance policy to different households mixing and have put in place stringent Covid-19 related measures, including the installation of Perspex screens at reception and hand sanitiser stations throughout the building, the posting of social distancing guidance and measures, ensuring PPE is worn by all staff outside of the office and providing residents with regular updates on the latest government guidance.
‘We have also now restricted all visitors to the building, closed communal areas, and have stepped up security across our residences to oversee these policies. We do not want the actions of a few to affect the experience of many.’
Beleaguered Gavin Williamson broke cover today to confirm that some university students will have to cut short their term and self-isolate for a fortnight in order to be allowed home for Christmas.
The Education Secretary said students in ‘specific circumstances’ would have to quarantine before the festive period amid growing anger at the handling of campus lockdowns.
He addressed the Commons after being dubbed the ‘Invisible Man’ by Labour after being notable by his absence as students were locked into halls of residence.
Thousands of students across Britain are now self-isolating for a fortnight after more than 500 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed across at least 32 universities.
Mr Williamson told MPs today was is ‘essential’ that measures were put in place to ensure that students can return home for Christmas ‘while minimising the risk of transmission’.
‘Where there are specific circumstances that warrant it, there may be a requirement for some students to self-isolate at the end of term and we will be working with the sector to ensure this will be possible, including ending in-person learning if that is deemed to be necessary,’ he said.
‘My department will publish this guidance shortly so that every student will be able to spend Christmas with their family.’
Mr Williamson’s disappearance during the crisis so far is likely to raise further questions over his future, after he faces the wrath of parents, teachers and MPs over the return of pupils to schools and the A-Level and GCSE results fiasco last month.