It’s ‘too early to say’ what the plan is for universities, says the government

It’s only been eight weeks, no rush lads

It’s “too early to say” what the plan for universities in September will be, according to the government.

Asked by a parent of a Durham student at today’s press conference, transport minister Grant Shapps said it was a “wait and see”, and that he’s “interested to hear” guidance on students returning to uni when it is eventually provided by the education secretary.

So far, students have complained about feeling abandoned. This week’s easing of lockdown measures made no mention of students or universities, whilst the government’s £2.7bn “uni bailout” didn’t actually include any new money for students.

Universities going back to normal depends on the infection rate lowering, said Shapps.

“It will be the case that if we can get those numbers down, different parts of the economy will be able to reopen,” he said.

“It is a wait and see, but we’re absolutely aware of the concerns and we want to make sure we beat this virus in a way that can allow parts of society – including higher and further education – to get going again.”

Meanwhile, Manchester has become the first uni to confirm lectures for the first term will be online, whilst Lincoln has pushed the start of term back by a month.

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