STEVE Brennan (Letters, October 11) seems oblivious to the campus outbreaks and disruption of autumn 2020, and the rationale for a cautious, blended approach to university returns this year.

With Scotland still averaging 2,500 new Covid cases a day, around 100 people dying daily across the UK, and unknown consequences for the predominantly-young people with long Covid, the pandemic is far from over. The safety-first approach right now protects Mr Brennan's daughter, staff and the rest of the student population, and is the best way to get us back to some form of normality in the future.

Let’s remember that university employees shifted learning, student support and research online overnight when the pandemic hit. Ever since, they have been working even harder to deliver high-quality education, with hybrid, blended and digital learning adding to workloads and far from the easy options Mr Brennan implies. We know students want online learning choices, giving them more accessibility to learning at a pace and time that suits, which together with live discussion provides a complete learning experience.

Universities aren’t nightclubs. It’s crucial that they are safe spaces for students and staff with underlying health issues or vulnerabilities too. This means continuing with a cautious and safety-first approach, which puts the health and wellbeing of your reader’s daughter, staff and the rest of the student population first.

Mary Senior, University and College Union, Glasgow.

* I NOTE with interest Steve Brennan's letter. I have friends currently supporting student children on courses asking themselves if the current arrangements are adequate and provide the high-value education they are paying for. Our students have been having a hard time of it over the past 18 months and now on top of Covid there is a shortage of accommodation. This is particularly acute around Glasgow due to the upcoming COP26 conference, and some have nowhere to stay.

I’m sure that there are many parents who will be thinking that this might not be a good time for their child to embark on a university course, but the reality is we need a steady supply of young people with a broad base of skills to keep our economy going and our employers provided with adequate numbers of skilled people. Universities have a role in ensuring that they can provide these people. Believe me, you don’t want to phone the dentist when you have toothache to be told they don’t have a dentist, as “there is a shortage as none graduated this year”.

It would appear to me that the world will have to live with Covid-19 for some time to come; indeed this may be as good as it gets, so it would be good to hear if there are plans for the universities to return to some semblance of normality. If not now, then when?

Ian Higgins, Airdrie.


HAVING attended my consultant at an eye clinic in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, my prescription for eye drops was changed. I duly explained this to my GP surgery receptionist, when requesting a new prescription. I collected the packet, and discovered when home that I had been given the former, and not the new drops.

I phoned the surgery and was told that as they hadn't received notification of the change, I would need to contact the hospital and chase up the required letter, which I did. I then contacted the chemist, and advised them of the change and offered to return the mistaken prescription, which they said I could do, but the drops would have to be destroyed. As it happens, they are single-phial drops, in sealed "envelopes", in unopened boxes, and I only collected them two days ago. No matter, for the tiresome "health and safety" mantra, they have to be destroyed, and no, they cannot be donated to a third world country.

I believe a similar situation pertains with, for example, urine and blood sample bottles. When a box is opened, and is discovered to contain the wrong type of bottle, the whole consignment is destroyed. I am sure there are many other examples of such profligacy. It's akin to burning pound notes. It wouldn't matter how much money is thrown at the NHS, it still wouldn't be efficient.

Lesley Mackiggan, Glasgow.


WILLIAM Shatner, aged 90, wants to travel to space in order that he can see what he needs to do to save the planet. Perhaps not burning up tonnes of fossil fuels to blast off and staying on Earth would be a start. All this “space tourism” is one of the worst things imaginable; billionaires with nothing better to do.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.


SO after beyond-ridicule suggestions that a woman should be cast as testosterone-fuelled James Bond we are now told that a non-human superhero from the planet Krypton is bisexual ("Issue of the Day: Superman comes out", The Herald, October 13), announcing the arrival of Peak Virtue-Signalling. This dreadful libel can only be the work of that evil Mastermind Lex Luther. Or perhaps the Joker? Sadly not.

How about portraying James Bond struggling to pay the electricity, or a homeless and out of work Clark Kent sofa-surfing on Jimmy Olsen’s couch? Or a world where Harry Potter has to walk two miles every day for fresh water to survive? The reality of life for millions.

Stepping back waiting for the onslaught of abuse.

John Dunlop, Ayr.