Town v gown tensions rise over threat of Covid infection rate as new terms starts

Alarm rising among locals as they brace for a rise in coronavirus cases with the return of students, say surveys

Read more: Students have been sold lie of full university experience

Fears of a growing “town v gown” divide have been sparked by a new poll showing the majority of residents in university towns do not want students to return because their arrival could trigger fresh local lockdowns.

A survey, carried out by the University and College Union (UCU) and shared with the Observer, shows only a third of university town residents want face-to-face teaching to resume on campus. More than half (57%) think that students coming to their towns will result in lockdowns, and the same proportion think the government’s test and trace system is insufficiently robust to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak.

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