Return delayed until at least mid-February for most students

Louis Mian 4 January 2021
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Following the introduction of a third national lockdown, most students will not be returning until mid-February at the earliest.

The government has stated that the majority of students ‘should remain where they are wherever possible, and start their term online, as facilitated by their university until at least Mid-February.’

Following previous government guidance, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope had outlined, on Thursday (31st December), that ‘the majority of undergraduate and taught postgraduate students should not return before 25th January.’ These arrangements will now have to be changed and it is expected the university will announce its renewed plans shortly.

The only students who will be allowed to return under the national lockdown are those taking medicine, dentistry, subjects allied to medicine/health, veterinary science, initial teacher training, social work, and courses which require Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body assessments (and/or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled).

Any students who do return should ‘be tested twice upon arrival or self-isolate for ten days’.

‘If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.’

‘For those students who are eligible for face to face teaching, you can meet in groups of more than your household as part of your formal education or training, where necessary.’

‘Students should expect to follow the guidance and restrictions. You should socially distance from anyone you do not live with wherever possible,’ the guidance continued.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that this was a ‘pivotal moment’ and that ‘now, more than ever, we must pull together’. He explained that ‘if action is not taken, NHS capacity may be overwhelmed within 21 days’.

Johnson said that the ‘one huge difference’ to the last lockdown is that vaccination is now beginning to be rolled out.

‘I really do believe we are entering the last phase of the struggle because with every jab that goes into our arms we are tilting the odds against Covid’, Johnson stated.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has explained that ‘these measures are necessary, sadly, and therefore we support the packages of measures that the Prime Minister has just outlined.’

‘I think whatever our criticisms of the government we’ve all got to pull together now to make this work over the next few weeks and months.’

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey, meanwhile, has stated: ‘This is the public health policy the prime minister should have announced before Christmas, but yet again, Boris Johnson ducked the difficult decisions, failed to listen to experts and acted too late.’

‘All around the world, the evidence is that acting early is critical to minimising damage to the economy and protecting public health. We need a Prime Minister who can act in time, not one who acts when it is too late.’

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, announced earlier today, in a statement to Holyrood, a lockdown in Scotland for the duration of January.

This news follows increased number of Covid-19 cases, with over 50,000 daily cases for the last seven days. Today, the UK recorded 58,784 new cases, the largest number since the beginning of the pandemic.

Read more: NationalLockdownGuidance.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)