Fears of ‘crazy’ freshers’ parties in UK as cooped up students return to campus

Universities ask students to sign Covid pledges as residents’ groups fear new infection wave

Universities in the UK have spent the summer struggling to create socially distanced timetables and make their campuses Covid-safe. But as many thousands of students start to arrive this month, vice-chancellors admit they now face a much bigger challenge: can they persuade young people who feel they have been “locked away” for too long not to party and to stick to the rules?

As Boris Johnson announced the new rule of six, which will make it illegal for more than six people to gather either indoors or out in England from 14 September, invitations to “crazy” unofficial freshers’ parties in towns and cities including London, Gloucester and Northampton, continued to circulate on social media. One Facebook invitation to a freshers’ house party next Friday, posted by a student at the University of the Arts London and given to the Guardian, said: “Everyone deserves a fucking crazy intro to the new study year,” and added: “If you’re uptight about social distancing/masks etc then don’t show an interest.”

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