STUDENTS at Welsh universities must ‘play their part’ in limiting the spread of coronavirus in their community, the education minister has said.

Hundreds of young people will soon descend on areas like Wrexham as the university term begins later this month, posing the worry that more people will lead to a surge in coronavirus transmission and the return of a stricter lockdown.

Speaking with the Leader, education minister Kirsty Williams has appealed to those who are choosing to continue with their education in Wales to make sensible choices and do what is best for the community to limit the chance of coronavirus spreading further.

She said: “The return of universities is a case where we are going to have to work very hard to ensure that return is safe and successful.

“My message to students who are coming to Wales to study at one of our universities is to do the right thing. The more we abide by the rules, the less disruption that there will be to their education in the future.

“The virus has not gone away – that is clear – so we really need people to continue social distancing, not mix in large groups and follow all the hand hygiene rules. If we all do our bit and follows the rules, then we will be able to see university students back successfully.”

Ms Williams also told the Leader that she had sat down with the university vice-chancellors from across Wales on Thursday, September 10, to go over their plans that are in place to ensure the transition back into university will be ready for students later this month.

She acknowledged that it is going to be hard for students, but stresses how everyone’s actions combined will see the rate of the virus spread lessen.

She said: “I know it will be hard, and I know the freshers week will certainly be different this year than it has been in others, but if we want to keep our universities open then we all need to play our part.”

Wrexham Glyndwr University has adapted to ensure that the best use of each space on campus is made – and this work will go hand-in-hand with Glyndwr’s Active Learning Framework, which will combine digitally-enhanced learning opportunities along with the use of these spaces.

Wrexham Glyndwr University's deputy vice chancellor, Professor Claire Taylor, said: “Whilst the learning blend on offer will vary between courses for our students, all areas of our campuses have been modified to ensure a COVID-19 secure environment for staff and students.

“Students who are enrolled with us have received their timetables now and know when they will have on-campus sessions – and they will also be supported with a variety of digital learning opportunities and activity which will help them manage their studies.”

Wrexham Glyndwr University Students’ Union is also helping to prepare students for their return – and for a range of activities both online and face-to-face on offer throughout a Freshers’ Week which will run between September 28 and October 2.

Protocols have been put in place for students – as well as staff and visitors – to follow on campus and all students are being encouraged to follow public health guidance at all times, whether on campus or not.

Student Union President Ebony Banks said: “Activities will be taking place every day during Freshers’ Week and we have been working hard behind the scenes to enable students to take part in events.

“These include those they can join in with from wherever they are staying as well as our socially-distanced Fresher’s Fair, taking place on campus between 10am and 3pm on September 30.

“Wrexham Glyndwr University draws students from across a wide range of ages and backgrounds. We are excited to welcome new students to our campuses and to see old friends return – and we expect all our students to work together to keep both themselves and our wider community safe.”