THOUSANDS of students are set to start at Winchester University in the coming weeks amidst coronavirus fears.

The pandemic has raised many questions as to how education will be carried out safely.

Most lectures will be held online and those on campus will be socially distanced – but what about issues outside of the classroom?

Local resident Ron Frampton says he lives next to a home of multiple occupancy (HMO) which will house students.

He told the Chronicle of his fears: "I am very concerned that there is the very real possibility that there will be a flare in Covid 19 in Winchester if these HMOs are allowed to be used unregulated, and Winchester has very many such homes.

"The fact that six students that don’t initially know each other will be allowed to move in next door to me from all parts of the UK, some of them covid hotspots is frankly quite alarming.

"I have suffered noise, all night parties and all the rest of the stuff that goes with having students living next door and the fact that the HMO next to me was initially a two bedroom house and I’ve had upwards of 12 students partying until all hours next door to me doesn’t fill me with confidence that the upcoming term will be any different.

"The universities may well be taking care of social distancing on campus but they are doing it appears nothing when these students are let loose on our community."

On the flipside, freshers will have a largely different experience to the one they were expecting.

Edwin van Teijlingen, the parent of a student set to start this year, is asking locals to "spare a thought" for the new arrivals.

He said: "I can’t stop thinking that my daughter’s start at the University of Winchester this month must be a very different experience for her than that of her brother starting at the University of Bangor a few years ago before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This difference is not just because of their gender or the different courses they selected at different universities. Social distancing is the new norm.

"This year their social life is, by necessity, much more restricted to avoid a second wave of COVID-19. I would like to ask the good folk of Winchester to spare a though for the new arrivals.

"Many are probably leaving home for the first time. Spare a thought for some who are perhaps coping a little less well than they would like."

Unilife has still not finished Sparkford House, meaning some students will have to live in a hotel for a few weeks.

This was also a problem last year and 15 people were forced to stay in temporary accommodation.

Grainne Tims said: "Unilife have done exactly the same to students this year. They offered hotel rooms which we went to see but they were so dirty that we had to leave.

"There were bloodstained mattresses and pubic hairs all round the floor in the bathrooms. Facilities that were promised last week were not available. It is disgraceful.

"I wish I had seen it before we booked a studio at Sparkford House."

The Chronicle has asked Unilife about the situation and awaits a response.