The government has yesterday (13 April) announced that the return of further students to in-person teaching will not take place before 17 May 2021, at the earliest. Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Universities has also posted an open letter to students.
We absolutely share your frustrations with this news – especially as wider parts of society are starting to open up a little more, yet universities are still severely restricted in the breadth of on-campus teaching that they can offer. We believe that it is in the best interests of our students to see a return to in-person teaching as soon as possible, and it is therefore very disappointing that we won’t be able to do this before we enter the assessment and examination period.
The government guidance up to 17 May remains unchanged, in that only students on practical and practice-based courses or those which require access to specialist equipment or facilities should be on campus. In addition, students can also return to campus if they have exceptional personal circumstances that require them to be here. This may be to support mental health, or not having access to suitable study facilities at home.
For those students that are on campus, the easing of some restrictions from this week has enabled the continued opening of on-campus sports facilities. Further bookable study spaces are available from this week, with the addition of spaces across the Kantorovich Library. The SU building has also reopened and outdoor marquees have been put up for student use.
All students and staff on campus are also strongly encouraged to get tested twice a week. Regular testing is an essential part of the continued easing of COVID-19 restrictions and will be a factor in the government determining when more in-person teaching can resume. You can use our on-campus testing facilities, or order a test to use at home.
All students and postgraduate researchers should continue to follow their current arrangements until notified otherwise. The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider local community is our primary concern. We have a full range of services available if you feel like you need any additional support at this time.
Professor April McMahon
Vice-President for Teaching, Learning and Students