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Students enjoying a welcome fair. This year, freshers will be online. Photo: Markus Arnold

Opinion: The University must enforce its face mask rules

Following the publication of this article on 4th of September 2020, the University Of Manchester asked The Mancunion to make clear that face masks are obligatory at the university and that the University will be providing students with masks when they return in September. The author believes the University must enforce this rule to keep students, staff and the wider community safe. 

The last thing we want is a second wave of Covid-19 in Manchester.

The city is already on the ropes following the local lockdown, and with students returning, residents fear they could spread the virus. 

Each year, the University of Manchester welcomes one of the largest international students’ population in the UK.

While we might see some activities change, such as a virtual freshers fair, this year is going to be no different.

With a total of 40 thousand students from 160 countries, the University needs to ensure it is putting measures in place to keep students, staff and the wider community safe. 

Two of the largest incoming student communities in Manchester will be from China and India. The former being where the virus originated and the latter being a country where it’s still spreading like a wildfire

Bosses have made face masks compulsory for all its students and staff members when they are on campus and using university services. 

But the university needs to make sure it is backing this up with action.

While the United Kingdom is not one of them, over 50 countries have made face masks compulsory to fight the pandemic. 

In a study published on by Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, they confirm that face coverings, and even homemade masks made of the correct material, are effective in reducing the spread of coronavirus. 

The World Health Organisation and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing a face mask too. 

Students might be relatively low risk and think they can get away with catching the virus, but coronavirus can still be deadly regardless of age. 

And it’s the larger Manchester population, especially those who are at risk, who are put in danger by the irresponsible behaviour of several students. 

Making masks compulsory on campus – and, crucially, enforcing this rule – will also reduce the pressure on the NHS by reducing the spread of the virus. 

Manchester should take the lead in keeping the community safe. Where we lead, others will follow. 

This article was amended on the 7th of September 2020 to say that the University has made face masks compulsory on campus. 

Tags: face masks, Manchester SU, students, university, welcome week

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