A BOURNEMOUTH mother has launched a petition calling on the government to work with universities and landlords to allow students to end tenancy agreements early due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Sara Armstrong set up an online community group, Covid in UK Universities and Colleges, to allow parents from across the country to share their concerns and share information about how university students are coping under the current restrictions.

She said: “As a mother of two teenagers I have begun to feel increasingly concerned for their futures, and indeed the future prospects of all the young people in our country, following the handling of the A level and GCSE results and now the fiasco around the opening of the universities.

“There has been a lot of discussion in the media but nothing on the latter led by parents have not had their own means to express their concerns.

“I really feel that our young people have had a raw deal this year during these unprecedented times and it's really vital that we support the future leaders of our country as much as we can, so they can thrive not just survive this pandemic.”

Now with 175 members in the online support group, Sara has also written an open letter to the government calling for a more generous approach regarding the cost of student accommodation and the implementation of exit clauses as seen in universities in Scotland.

However, the petition, which is yet to be approved by central government, has been delayed due to a three-week backlog of Covid-19 petitions.

Sara added: “We have written a petition and have started emailing universities and MPs around the country asking for better support for students and universities due to Covid- 19.

“Our initial campaign Fees4what is raising awareness of the costs of accommodation and hall fees still being charged despite Covid.

“It’s fantastic that the group is growing steadily and now includes students, university staff as well as parents.

“Exposing students unnecessarily to the virus and then keeping them cooped up in their accommodation away from home, with a mixed offering of support for their wellbeing and, in some areas, a lack of access to testing, is unacceptable.”

To sign the petition, click here.