De Montfort University students required to wear face coverings on campus once again

By Luke Williamson

Students at De Montfort University must wear a face covering inside campus buildings again, after new government guidance was released on Saturday [NOV27].

All students in lessons, moving around campus buildings or working in the library must be wearing a face covering, except when eating in the Food Village or library café.

On top of this, people are being encouraged to get their booster vaccinations, scrapping the rule that people would need to wait for six months after their second before becoming eligible.

MANDATORY. Face coverings are mandatory for all students again after the emergence of the Omicron variant

In light of the Omicron variant, first discovered in South Africa, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made face coverings mandatory in shops and on public transport.

Some students are more than happy to oblige by the new rules, which is nothing different to the entirety of the 2020/2021 academic year.

Shivani Maisuria, a third-year Law and Criminal Justice student, said: “We are used to it now, it isn’t for too long at any one time and if it makes life a bit safer then why not?

“My lessons aren’t always socially distanced, so wearing a mask makes you a bit more comfortable being on campus, especially with this new variant around.”

There is little information about the Omicron variant, but there is a general feeling of worry by leaders worldwide which has led to the return of mandatory mask wearing.

The number of mutations on the new variant – which is double the number of the Delta variant which swept the world earlier this year – is the leading concern, with government deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam saying: “The number of mutations present makes us worry about a possible effect on vaccine effectiveness.”

Shivani added: “I will start to worry about it if the vaccine is not good enough to protect me anymore from the new variant.

“I will get my booster jab, though, as it is still the best way to protect ourselves from Covid-19.”

The symptoms are not yet known completely but suggestions from South Africa say that they could differ from the Delta variant, including more aches and pains and no loss of smell or taste.

Besides making masks mandatory, DMU is not adding any more restrictions for the time-being, meaning students will not see a change to their timetables.

Face coverings are available around campus, including Student Advice Centres, the Library and the Students’ Union building.

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