University students in England will be allowed to return to in-person teaching from May 17 (Picture: Getty Images)
All university students in England will be able to return to face-to-face teaching from May 17 at the earliest, the Government has confirmed.
Students will also be offered Covid tests before they return, the Department for Education (DfE) said today. The date of May 17 is when further Covid restrictions will lift across the country in accordance with Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, allowing for people to meet indoors in limited groups.
Progression to this step of the roadmap will be dependent on a review of the latest data and the impact of other restrictions being eased this month, the Government has said.
The date of May 17 means that many students will likely have finished their teaching year before they are back on campus.
Only students completing practical, hands-on courses have been allowed to have in-person teaching since the start of 2021.
Many university leaders and members of staff have urged the Government to lift the restrictions on higher education learning. Most children in England returned to school in March, while gyms, non-essential shops and hairdressers reopened on Monday.
Students will be able to have Covid tests before they return to their campuses (Picture: Getty Images)
Only students with practical or hands-on courses have been having in-person learning (Picture: Getty Images)
Graham Galbraith, vice chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, described delaying the reopening higher education campuses as ‘unfathomable’.
He told the BBC: ‘That this date is after many universities will have finished their teaching year shows a government with a cavalier disregard for details. This isn’t good enough.
‘Students can now buy a book on British history in Waterstones and discuss it with a tattoo artist, – but still they could not go into a university and discuss with their lecturer.’
In Wales, university students returned this week, with a mixture of in-person and remote teaching, while those studying in Scotland will see a ‘more blended model of learning’ begin on May 17 as well.
Students in Northern Ireland are expected to continue their learning online for the rest of the term, except for where courses are practical or hands-on.
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