Bristol Mayor says students unfairly criticised for not following COVID-19 rules


By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees applauded on Monday students' efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, as the pandemic continued to sweep through the country with renewed vigour.

In a letter to Bristol’s student community that was co-signed by Deputy Mayor for Communities Asher Craig, Rees also defended student conduct, blasting the 'tendency of some media to criticise students during the pandemic, occasionally with little or no basis.'

However, he highlighted the fact ‘the vast majority of students have acted responsibly and compassionately by complying with government guidelines and local restrictions.’                                                    

Noting that ‘Bristol’s students are an integral part of the fabric’ of the city, Mayor Rees asserted that it is ‘times like these [which] really bring home the importance of acting as a community, with everything that entails.’

Mayor Rees and Dep. Mayor Cllr Craig stated they have been ‘extremely impressed by how many students have given their time and energy to support both fellow students and the wider public.’

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor reiterated that students’ efforts to follow the guidance, with many going ‘beyond simple compliance with national and local guidelines’ is what has ‘helped to protect [the] NHS and save lives.’

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Expressing his hope that ‘we will begin to see a change’ to what he acknowledges has been a ‘deeply troubling time for everyone’, Marvin Rees concluded the letter to students by saying he is ‘looking forward to welcoming [students] back when this becomes possible.’

The open letter comes as students have been told to remain where they are, amidst the UK’s third national lockdown, which for many has involved staying home and not returning to campus.

The situation recently resulted in the announcement from Bristol University that students who have been unable to return to their University-owned halls of residence between 1 February and 26 March will receive a 100 per cent rent rebate for the period.

Featured image: Bristol City Council

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