Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Vice-Chancellor Edward Peck says he is “disappointed” in a lack of Government guidance regarding the reopening of campuses.
The vast majority of students have continued their courses online, with only a handful of practical courses allowed to return to in-person teaching.
It means that some students have not been on campus since teaching finished for Christmas in early December.
In an email sent to students on the day that outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail reopened, the Vice-Chancellor criticised Government officials.
He said: “Whilst we welcome the positive steps towards a return to social normality, we are disappointed by the lack of guidance from the Government in relation to the return of in-person teaching for those of you studying courses that continue to be delivered wholly online.
“I want to reassure you that we, along with other UK Universities, have written to the Government seeking clarification on this matter. We have asked for a clear date by which our remaining students can return to campus.”
The latest easing of lockdown allows students to return to work in retail, outdoor hospitality or gyms. Some of those same students, however, will not be allowed to return for on-campus teaching.
On April 7, Conor Naughton, President of Nottingham Trent Students’ Union, said: “They [the Government] have said nothing about the return to in-person teaching over 2.1 million university students still studying online only. This is unacceptable.
“They have once again shown a total disregard for students who have been continually forgotten by the government, all while young people work front line jobs from care work to supermarkets with no thanks.”
In the Government’s latest briefing there was no mention of when the majority of students could return for in-person studies.
Vanessa Wilson, chief executive of the University Alliance, told the Guardian: “It seems deeply unfair that students may be able to go to the pub or hairdressers and even work in these industries from 12 April, yet will not be able to access the facilities and opportunities on campus to support their learning and career development.
“The prime minister committed to education being the first sector to reopen, and while schools and colleges have been permitted to return, this has not been the case for all university students, raising real questions over equity.”
By Matt Lee
Lead Image: Nottingham Trent University (inset: Nottingham Trent University)