Shock, students weren’t mentioned yet again in Johnson’s press conference yesterday
Students still don’t have a date for when they’ll be allowed back in lecture theatres
Students were yet again not mentioned in a Covid press conference yesterday, as Boris Johnson confirmed pubs would be reopening next Monday.
The government had previously said a decision would be made on the return to campus over Easter, but one Vice-Chancellor, calling the omission “frustrating”, said “the reality is students have been pushed aside to open pubs!”
UWE boss Steve West said universities had been led to expect a decision over the Easter weekend, rather than at the end of the Easter holidays, and added “I hope that we won’t have to wait much longer to provide clarity and certainty for tens of thousands of our students.”
After being sent home before Christmas, most students have been kept away from campus without face-to-face teaching.
Johnson gave a press conference in the new Downing Street press briefing room yesterday to confirm that gyms, shops, and outdoor dining will be reopening next week – but made no mention of universities.
Frustrating that the PM did not set out plans for university students who looked to return to our Covid Secure campuses on the 12th April. I hope that we won’t have to wait much longer to provide clarity & certainty for tens of thousands of our students.
— Steve West CBE, DL (@VCUWE) April 5, 2021
With the government saying it would give at least a week’s notice before any return to face-to-face teaching, April 12th is now ruled out. Hairdressers, pub gardens and non-essential retail will be back – but not widespread face-to-face teaching.
Last month, Boris Johnson warned it could even be delayed until September.
The Department for Education didn’t say exactly when students could expect a decision or an announcement, but did say in a statement: “This has been a difficult time for students, and we are committed to getting all students back into university as soon as the public health situation allows.
“Students on practical and creative courses started returning from the 8th of March, and we will be reviewing options for the timing of the return of all remaining students by the end of the Easter holidays. Decisions will take into account the need to protect progress across the wider roadmap out of the pandemic, including the spread of the virus in communities and pressures on the NHS.”