A STUDENT from the University of Edinburgh has warned that restrictions facing young people in Scotland will “push social gatherings underground”.

Students across the country have been told to self-isolate and banned from visiting pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues over the weekend, after coronavirus cases surged in student communities.

Universities have put in place strict regulations for students, preventing them from going home to visit their families or mixing with other households.

However, Tizzie Robinson-Gordon, a student at the University of Edinburgh, has told The Herald that the rules have “merely pushed social gatherings underground” as some students attend private parties and ignore social-distancing.

This behaviour could mean risking suspension or even expulsion from university.

However, it doesn’t appear to have deterred some students judging by a video submitted anonymously to The Herald - allegedly of a party that took place this weekend.

The footage, taken at an ‘illegal’ house party in Edinburgh where freshers and other students were in attendance, shows a crowd of at least 30 people in an indoor party setting - which would mean a breach of university and national coronavirus-related regulations.

According to Ms Robinson-Gordon, this sort of occurrence is inevitable, despite her opinion that many students are following the rules.

She said: “This weekend was potentially the most quiet so far, and I think it was arguably a turning point in the student attitude.

"Having said that, I think the pub ban for students simply ostracised the student support and respect further, and the hospitality industry didn't prevent entry to students and therefore I would question its effectiveness.

READ MORE: Universities Scotland outlines reasoning for tough restrictions on students and claims 'it was never a ban'

“Equally I would say it merely pushed social gatherings underground.

“When students were going to pubs, we were forced to distance, no music and whilst exclusive, the sterile environment I’m sure was safer. The parties that are going on now are on a whole different level - not quite raves, but not dissimilar.”

Universities Scotland has now said students were simply requested to stay locked down this weekend, and not banned from visiting hospitality venues. 

However, a statement from Universities Scotland released on Thursday stressed that universities would not tolerate breaches of the new regulations, which were in place to prevent further transmission.

That included a ban on parties and socialising outside their own household.

The current Scottish Government advise that if you are able to you should remain in your student accommodation and not visit family at home.

HeraldScotland: Student Tizzie Robinson-Gordon, University of EdinburghStudent Tizzie Robinson-Gordon, University of Edinburgh

For Ms Robinson-Gordon, 19, going home would have been a welcome option had she not now needed to wait for Covid-19 test results.

She said: “It is very easy to say I should have followed some of my friends and got out whilst i could, but for obvious reasons I would have been concern of the university enforced repercussions as well as the challenges placed on my family who too would have been facing a two- week quarantine just for simply going home.

“Many, many, many have left, and whilst there is no physical barrier, I can tell it isn’t supported by the university.

“Friends of mine even stayed in a hotel on Saturday evening before leaving late Sunday because they were concerned a student hall lockdown may occur for us overnight, meaning they wouldn't have been able to leave should they have wanted to."

In Glasgow, a series of measures to help students forbidden from leaving their student flats included a four-week rent rebate "in recognition of the difficult circumstances" they were facing.

READ MORE: Scots react to University of Glasgow's measures to support students self-isolating

The announcement from the University of Glasgow was met with praise from students, parents and The National Union of Students Scotland (NUSS) - with President Matt Crilly suggesting all universities and providers of student accommodation should follow suit. 

However, Ms Robinson-Gordon is frustrated at the lack of similar measures at the University of Edinburgh.

She said: "The uni has established some support mechanisms and I empathise with universities across the country. They are establishments who have found themselves in unknown territory.

"However our university specifically has failed to catch up with the likes of the University of Glasgow who are providing rent reimbursement and meal support, for example.

"We have nothing like that and can only expect greater restrictions, so the disparity is arguably causing mounting frustration for us as students at the University of Edinburgh.

She added: "The scientific modelling was there in March to suggest this would occur. Universities - and the government for that matter - had the ability and knowledge to postpone or pushback the start of education.

"They have failed us."

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson said: “We are working hard to ensure all of our new and returning students are aware of the importance of following Scottish Government guidance - both on and off campus - to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

"As well as our Student Code of Conduct, we have created a Good Citizen Guide, which sets out clear guidelines for our community during this time.

"The wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider community is an absolute priority.”