Students could return to campus in March as Government plan ‘phased return’

Students could begin to return to university as soon as next month according to reports in the national media.

The Guardian claims that Education secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to announce later this month that there will be a phased return for students.

They state that final year students in practical subjects will be the ones likely to return first, while other students will follow “soon afterwards”.

Michelle Donelan, universities minister, has previously admitted that universities will follow the same roadmap as schools for reopening.

That means the Government will be looking at data on death rates, virus rates, the vaccination programme and how the NHS is coping.

On February 22 they will announce the outcome of the review with students possibly returning on March 8 if all goes to plan.

The Guardian states that priority will be given towards students in the final year of their courses, but many may not return until after the Easter holidays.

With teaching often ending at that point, it means many of England’s undergraduate students may not have a reason to return with exams all being held virtually.

It may leave Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in a position of greater pressure to waive rent for the final term.

Earlier this week Platform reported that NTU had extended their rent waiver from February 21 to March 8.

On the university website they said: “We will review the situation again at the end of the current period [of restrictions] and will be in touch to communicate any changes that affect students at that time.

“However you should not assume that further waivers will be applied if restrictions are applied.”

Only students who study future critical care worker courses and those in special circumstances were given a special exemption to the Government guidance and allowed to return to university.

By Matt Lee

Feature image credit: Olimpia Zagnat

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