STUDENTS at Oxford Brookes University have been divided over whether the university should fully reopen following a rise in coronavirus cases.

The university has now reopened for the new year with a mixture of online and in-person teaching. But while some students believe it was right to open, others argue more could be done to reduce the spread of Covid.

See pictures of hundreds of selfish students partying here. 

Sudents have been criticised for potentially spreading the virus by partying in large groups. Earlier this week, hundreds of Brookes students were caught on camera having a party in the Cheney Hall courtyard.

The scenes sparked concern within the community as well as condemnation from other students.

Fresher, Thomas Stainer, 18, said: “I feel like the strategy has been carefully thought about and planned among many people at Brookes.

“I am really happy with how it’s all being handled and I’m really happy to be back on campus so I can be part of interactive university experience.”

Post-graduate student Jim Lambroghni, 27, also praised the university’s strategy, saying: “I think they’ve got a good balance. What they’re doing is putting all the lectures online and holding some seminars in person. They’ve booked big enough rooms so everyone can sit socially distanced.”

He said, however, that he empathised with international students who were unable to come back to Oxford.

He said: “All their teaching is online, and while a lot of the teaching is online here too, they cannot access a computer room, so they have to pay for software that’s not easily accessible.”

But for some students, face-to-face teaching is no longer an option.

Rhiannon Parker-Nicholls had to opt for full online teaching as she is considered high-risk.

The 21-year-old English literature student, said: “I’ve stayed off campus as I’m in the high-risk category for Covid.

“I think it would have been advisable to put online teaching for everyone in place, but I think some face-to-face is a good idea for the time being.

“Some students, like myself, have been offered the first semester online, which I’ve accepted.

“I think we will have the same level of quality of teaching online. It’s just that people won’t have the socialising side which causes the problems as it promotes students to go out partying more, and to me that’s the real concern more than anything else.”

Other Brookes students expressed concerns about lack of social distancing by campus partygoers. Fresher, Alexandra Knapper, from Leeds, said: “It spiralled out of control. People forget in the moment, when alcohol fuelled, that there is a global pandemic.”

Matylda Kuczynska, another first-year, said: “Brookes might be branded as the partying, coronavirus spreading uni.”

A second year student, however, told The Oxford Mail that social gatherings on campus were inevitable.

She said: “The problem with a lot of Brookes accommodation is that there is no main reception – so you can easily get in without wardens being aware.

“That makes it a lot harder for them to track who lives there and who doesn’t, so I think a lot of people were expecting what happened in Cheney halls to happen.”