University students to return to in-person learning and activities on campus

17 May 2021, 17:45

Students will be able to return to campus, after having been studying at home for most of the academic year
Students will be able to return to campus, after having been studying at home for most of the academic year. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

University students will be returning to teaching on campus after months of working from home.

Students will be expected to have two Covid tests a week once they return, via home or community testing.

On top of this, students are encouraged to get three supervised tests every three or four days at an asymptomatic site on campus.

Aside from those on critical courses, students were told not to travel back to accommodation for the third national lockdown, which took place in January.

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Students on practical courses were allowed to return from 8th March in order to get access to equipment and facilities.

That said, it has been estimated that over half of students, including many studying arts or humanities subjects, have been unable to return until now.

This comes after universities minister Michelle Donelan said in April that a full return to in-person learning would not happen before mid-May at the earliest This was because students moving around the country could cause "a risk for the transmission of the virus".

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that most students had already returned to their accommodation for the final term of the year.

Over a third of students were still living with their parents and more than four in five people were at the same address in April as they were at the beginning of the autumn term.

Students in need of mental health support, or without the space for studying at home, were allowed to return to university accommodation during the third lockdown.

Most Russell Group universities, however, have completed teaching and begun exams for students to carry out remotely.

Cafes and bars on their campuses are still set to be reopened, following the ongoing social restrictions that have been in place.

The government previously saw criticism from university leaders for delaying the return to in-person learning so late in the academic year.