JUST small numbers students have returned to Falmouth University during the lockdown, Cornwall Council has said despite claims that over 200 have returned in the past week.

Falmouth University has told students not to return to campus until January 25, but last week one worker on the campus claimed as many as 230 had turned up at the Tremough Campus in violation of Government guidance and the universities' own instructions, it has been claimed.

Read Here: 230 university students ignores rules to return to Falmouth and Penryn - claim

But Cornwall's health chief told the Packet in a media briefing that only a small number of 'priority' students had returned to campus and there had been no infections linked to the university.

She said: "The guidance around university students is that there are some priority students who should be returning to continue their studies involving clinical training and other care work particularly."

She said there was guidance on the phd.gov.uk website, about which student groups are encouraged to return and supported to return.

Clearly if people are moving to their accommodation, which they may have done, they should just stay within that accommodation rather than going between their home and student accommodation.

"I know there is messaging to students around that from the universities across the board but I think it is small numbers. We haven't had currently infections linked to the universities and the offer of testing is still there for them to use if they are engaging with their studies formally at the university and we'll continue to support the university around that

A statement from the university told students that following Government advice on December 30, the return to its campuses at Tremough and Woodlane had been paused until January 25 "at the earliest", in order to help minimise the movement of people and slow the spread of the virus.

Staff and students were emailed warning them not to return yet, with further information posted to the university's website.

This stated: "The Government has announced that, in order to minimise the movement of people and limit the spread of the virus, only a very small number of students should currently be allowed to return to campus.

"Therefore, no Falmouth University students are permitted to return to campus until January 25 at the earliest.

"We hope that we will be able to begin teaching for Study Block 2 in a blended way as planned on January 25, but you should wait for this to be confirmed before arranging your travel.

"All face-to-face enhancement activity planned for January, including the physical events as part of the Workshops Festival, has, unfortunately, been cancelled."

Students were also warned: "You should not travel back to Falmouth until the Government has announced that this will be permitted."

The latest government guidance now is that the vast majority of students should remain where they are and start the term online, until at least mid-February.

The only exceptions to this are students in medicine and dentistry, subjects allied to medicine/health, veterinary science, education (initial teacher training), social work and courses which require professional, statutory and regulatory body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity scheduled for January and that cannot be rescheduled – which the university will notify students of.

In these circumstances students must be tested twice, upon arrival, or self-isolate for ten days. Students on other practical courses not listed should remain where they are.