They were probably expecting drinking games, takeaways and a lot of late nights.

However students are set for a whole different experience when they arrive in Newcastle next week.

The city's universities say teenagers must expect tough rules - with even their digs getting disinfected.

Around 50,000 students are to set to start, or resume, their degree courses Newcastle and Northumbria this month.

There are fears that the influx of youngsters could further push up the city's already surging coronavirus infection rate.

However bosses at both universities insist they will go above and beyond to try and stop it spreading.

And at Northumbria, students are being told they will see safety steps in place as soon as they arrive from Monday.

The Lipman Building at Northumbria University
The Lipman Building at Northumbria University

Large hygiene stations will be dotted around the entrance of every building on campus - as well as every floor of the library.

And while anybody who has ever been to uni will know that fresher's week means goody bag after goody bag, the one handed out by the uni itself won't be full of flyers and drinks bottles.

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Instead they will contain re-usable face coverings, while the only alcohol inside will be in the way of hand sanitiser.

"Social distancing guidelines will be in place to ensure a safe learning environment with clearly marked one-way routes and face coverings provided to assist where two metre social distancing cannot be upheld," said Northumbria University in a statement.

Freshers week party at Newcastle University

"Timetabling will be managed to minimise queuing and maximise opportunities for study blocks. The University’s dedicated professional cleaning teams will undertake enhanced and frequent cleaning regimes - in accommodation, throughout learning spaces, and across the campus."

Down the road at Newcastle University, many of the same measures will be in place. One way-systems will be implemented and students will be asked to socially distance.

Face masks will also be "mandatory" in lectures and classrooms, while students will get a thermometer upon arrival to check their temperature.

Shopping safely

They'll also receive bottles to top up with free hand gel from points around the campus.

However perhaps the most unique step taken by the uni is that anybody with symptoms is asked to log it with the student app.

That data will then be analysed in-house "to try and identify trends that may point to an outbreak" on campus.

"Our priority is to make sure we're maintaining the highest level of campus safety, so we’ve put in place targeted cleaning measures and Covid-19 regulations across all our facilities, computer clusters and catering outlets," states the uni's website.

The Armstrong Building at Newcastle University

"Extensive safety measures can be seen across campus, for example screens and barriers will be installed where required to support physical distancing, wipes and hand sanitiser will be available at various locations across campus. We will have an early warning system to detect potential Covid-19 outbreaks in the University community."

Possible outbreaks are perhaps the biggest fear as students return.

Less than a fortnight after they fully reopened, there have already been multiple Covid-19 cases linked to primary and secondary schools across the North East.

The resurgence of the virus has left Newcastle on the Government's local lockdown watchlist. Officials are pleading for more restrictions from the Government as it struggles to contain the spread.

And with around 50,000 students about to start - with many moving from elsewhere in the country - Newcastle's top public health official has warned that could be a "serious problem" in terms of controlling the killer bug.

Coronavirus deaths are falling.

While the institutions claim they can help control movement on campus, packed bars and parties could pose a problem away from it.

"It is going to be a serious problem for us and I won’t pretend that we can predict or know all of those consequences," said Prof Eugene Milne, Newcastle City Council's director of public health.

“At the start of term, registration and Freshers week, they will be receiving packs and advice and support so they understand both the way things need to operate on campus and our expectations of their behaviour in the community as part of the city – and an important part of the city.”

His warning comes as younger, fitter people continue to be the main driver of the virus.

However at Northumbria, where class start on September 28, they are even taking the fight against the virus into lectures themselves - offering them in a "blended" way to try and keep students apart as much as possible.

"Blended means students will continue to engage in taught sessions on campus as well as online," added the uni.

"Crucially, this means that we can ensure teaching spaces follow current guidelines on social distancing.

"Along with this, we are also making sure that we can minimise queuing in busy areas of campus, such as in the cafes and library."

And the statement added: "Northumbria believes we all have a role to play in keeping our students, ourselves and our community safe.

"The University will be adhering to guidance and policy issued by Public Health England at all times - if the guidelines change, the University will adapt its plans to maintain the safety and wellbeing of students."