The Department for Education (DfE) expects all remaining students to be able to return to in-person teaching on campus when further easing of restrictions on social contact indoors is confirmed, which will be no earlier than May 17. The decision came after university leaders in England intensified calls for students to be allowed back to campus as soon as possible as seminars and lectures finish at many universities from mid-May.
University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady said: “Restarting in-person activities in mid-May, with only weeks of the academic year left, makes absolutely no sense as most lectures and seminars will already have finished.”
Most students in England – apart from those on critical courses – were told not to return to campus as part of the lockdown unveiled in January.
The Daily Express Fair Deal for Students campaign, which aims to support young people struggling during the pandemic, has been calling for a speedy return to campuses.
In a written statement, universities minister Michelle Donelan said: “The movement of students across the country poses a risk for the transmission of the virus.
“Students who have returned to higher education settings should not move back and forward between their permanent home and student home during term time unless they meet one of the exemptions.”