Manchester University students say ‘I don’t feel safe’ because of ‘unfair’ rules

Students criticized the “unfair” exam rules which they said could put them at risk of catching Covid.

In-person exams at the University of Manchester are expected to resume in the coming weeks after months of distance learning and testing.

Science and engineering students have said they “don’t feel safe” on exams and fear it will fuel an increase in the number of cases and force them to repeat the academic year.

READ MORE: ‘This is woefully unfair’: Manchester United student who failed exam while self-isolating must repeat YEAR

However, university bosses reassured attendees that rooms will be well ventilated and people will be asked to wear face masks.

Chemistry student Matthew Robinson, 21, described the decision to have in-person testing as “bordering on recklessness.”

He told the Manchester Evening News : “It’s understandable that the university chose not to take exams online, thinking in terms of collusion and cheating.



A photo of Matthew Robinson, a University of Manchester student
Matthew Robinson, University of Manchester student

“However, as the cases of Covid worsen, I don’t understand how the university expects students to perform to the best of our ability.

“Between worries about missed exams due to isolation and not knowing whether our resit grades will be capped at the passing grade or not, and potentially infecting family members and friends of must travel for an in-person exam.

“The chances of a person having Covid in the exam room are probably quite high, given the large number of students who will be present, the distance they were able to travel for the exam and the number of people with which they may have been in contact with.

“Combine that with a difficulty getting lateral flow tests, this could be the most stressful exam time for my cohort.”

“The most stressful exam time ever”

A third-year environmental science student, 22, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Examinations alone are stressful, but now it’s the uncertainty of whether you catch Covid , you have no choice but to go back to college all year.

“We are concerned that people with Covid may still show up for the exam.

“Because the other option is to delay your graduation for a year – who would want to do that?”

“The cases of Covid are so high right now.

“Over the next few days, students are returning to Manchester from all over the world, so Covid cases are likely to rise again.

“I don’t feel safe at all- I can’t imagine how someone with an underlying health condition would feel.

“I was really upset and it is having an impact on my mental state.”

A petition calling for the return of online exams was supported by more than 800 students.



Photo of the University of Manchester Fallowfield campus.
The University of Manchester Fallowfield campus.

Computer science student Jeremy Roe, 20, said undergraduates are required to take the exam this summer if they test positive before this month’s test.

He said: “It seems unreasonable not to have the opportunity to take exams online because m y the exams are done on a computer.

“My asthma makes me vulnerable

“The university ignores people who can’t make it to campus, like international students whose countries are stranded and clinically vulnerable people who don’t want to sit in a room without social distancing.

“It seems totally unfair.”

Chemistry student Mia, 21, who declined to give her last name, said: ‘I caught Covid recently, but if I caught it during exam time I would have to repeat the year and delay graduation, or graduation with missing credits, which would negatively affect my overall grade.

“I imagine a lot of students who catch Covid would still show up for exams because that would mean they wouldn’t have to repeat the year.

“I don’t feel safe because students are traveling to Manchester and could be carrying different strains of the virus, which makes it scarier.

“A big problem for international students is that flights are canceled.

“Even if they didn’t have Covid, they would be forced to repeat the year – that’s not very fair.”

A 21-year-old international student said his parents were “very worried” about their return to the UK because of Covid.

The mechatronics engineering student added: “I explained to the university that it is very difficult for students to attend exams on campus, especially when students are not even required to test before the exam. ‘examination, which makes it very likely that at least one person will have Covid.

“The university told me to apply for extenuating circumstances and that due to the shortage of lateral flow tests, many students will not be able to take the tests before the exams.

“If they’re not ready for such an opportunity, why are they insisting that our exams take place on campus, when other universities have decided that online exams are the best choice right now? “

A spokesperson for the University of Manchester said: “The safety and well-being of our students is always of the utmost importance to us.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have followed the advice of the UK government and public health experts, and are continually reviewing our safety guidelines.

“We have put everything in place to make our campus as safe as possible.

“The vast majority of our students and staff are now vaccinated (including booster vaccines), free Covid test kits are available to everyone, and face coverings remain mandatory on campus for now.

“We understand that some students may feel anxious and we encourage them to contact our support and wellness services. ”

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