The Scottish Government has issued new guidance for students this evening urging them to remain in isolation where possible - however they can return home on a long-term basis.
Richard Lochhead, the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, has addressed university principals and student accommodation chiefs with new guidance on measures.
The guidance still encourages students to remain on campus if they are able to do so.
It comes after our sister title, the Sunday Mail, revealed that hundreds of Scots students were returning home, flouting Covid-19 guidelines.
They were asked to quarantine in their accommodation following a number of outbreaks on campus.
But it has emerged droves of students escaped halls of residence to return home with many using public transport.
Mr Lochhead has published 'additional guidance' this evening urging Scots to stay in isolation where possible.
However, it says students can visit their parents if there is a "reasonable excuse" such as a family emergency. The rule of no indoor gatherings remains.
Those who have been advised to self-isolate can return home if they require help to do so for mental health or financial support. However, the whole household you are returning too should also self-isolate.
And students wanting to return home on a permanent basis can do so under existing rules which allow the formation of a new household.
Mr Lochhead said: “Our priority is to try and keep people safe from a virus that, even for young people, can do a lot of damage to physical health.
“We would encourage students to remain living in their current accommodation where they are able to, so they can continue to benefit from both a blend of digital and in-person learning, where that is possible and the opportunity to engage with others, within the restrictions, to build new networks and to make new friends.
“However, we know that many students may be struggling with the prospect of not being able to return home to visit family and other support networks, especially if is the first time in their life they have been away from home.
“Knowing what to consider in deciding whether to return home will help support wellbeing and enable students to make informed choices, but it is important to stress that adjusting to life away from home is always challenging.
“And, as the First Minister has made clear, we are strongly advising that students do not visit pubs and restaurants for the remainder of this weekend.
“I’d like to thank students for playing their role at this very difficult time when they are trying to benefit from further and higher education against a backdrop of a global pandemic.”
Covid-19 has claimed the lives of almost 5,000 Scots.
In the past 24 hours one person has died from the deadly bug, while 344 new cases were recorded.