Students are not to blame for the outbreak of coronavirus at Glasgow University.

While Jason Leitch wags his finger and tells them ‘no parties’ and the universities threaten them with suspension and eviction from their student rooms, it can be easy to say they are a bunch of selfish party animals, flouting the rules and they have brought this on themselves.

The reality is that in halls of residence, rooms are available pretty much only to first year students and international students.

This consists mostly of young people, mainly teenagers, who are living away from home for the first time in a strange city and for some a different country.

Many are anxious about not only the four years of study they are about to take on but about meeting people, fitting in, forming new friendships and the future in general.

That is not just this year, that is every year in every campus in every university town and city across the country.

This year it is different.

They did not have the same Freshers’ Week opportunities when they meet people outside of their own halls, join societies discover the student union bars and find there are many other people are just like them and maybe this student thing isn’t so daunting after all.

Instead of being a heaving, thriving mass of people form all over the world, Glasgow University this year is different.

The lecture theatres are empty, the legendary student social life they had heard about, unrecognisable from years past and a dark cloud hangs heavy over young people who should be looking towards limitless horizons.

What hundreds are facing just now is life in a room with a bed, a desk and wifi and little else.

They can’t go home to their families now, because that would be to a different household and risks carrying the virus with them.

They can’t socialise with people outside those they share facilities with.

And they probably can’t get part time work because the pubs and restaurants that would normally employ them are struggling to survive and pay the current staff .

Instead, they are trapped.

Trapped in very expensive accommodation. Universities, private providers and private landlords make plenty of money from students.

The Murano Street accommodation costs £126 per week.

Glasgow University said there are, just now, around 3500 students in their halls. You don’t to be a maths undergraduate to see it is lucrative and would be costly if they were empty.

That is £440,000 a week into the uni coffers, which itself has taken a huge financial hit from fewer international students.

Students are also in rooms, that are in flats, of either up to five or up to 12 people for larger flats.

So again, you don’t need to be professor material to see that the virus can be spread easily without students rampaging all around the west end having, what Boris Johnson called, ‘Animal House parties’.

Instead, it takes one person to have the virus and then up to a dozen others they are sharing facilities with are exposed to it.

Before you know it there is, what the First Minister said is, a “significant outbreak”.

At a time when the government has been urging people not to travel we have universities bringing in students from around the world.

Yes, they are told to quarantine on arrival but they are not put in a cell with no other human contact.

Also, when non essential domestic travel is being discouraged people are coming to Glasgow’s universities from all over the UK.

Every university needs students from far and wide, so the numbers of young people moving all around the four nations during a health pandemic is in the tens of thousands.

Then they arrive to be told lectures are all online and the university social life is pretty much shut down.

Therefore, you are confined to your halls of residence.

It is any wonder that they will want to mix with other people in the same position.

It has to be asked if, for the first term or semester at least, students could have been told to stay at home and access the lectures remotely.

Many however, would want to be on campus and hope that the university would function more normally as soon as was safely possible.

Like with the schools we have to find a way for education to continue.

These are difficult decisions and balances that are having to be struck by universities and by governments who are dealing with an unprecedented challenge across every aspect of our lives.

The consequences for making the wrong call can be devastating.

The government and health officials are not going to be able to prevent outbreaks happening whenever any activity is allowed.

It can only be managed and contained as best we can.

Students in Glasgow bring so much to the city.

They didn’t cause the pandemic or the outbreak at the University. Let’s not vilify them, let’s support them.