Unis will reopen on 17th May – but these students will have finished by then

‘It really makes me question where my money is going’

After airing students for weeks, the government finally announced the return of face-to-face teaching. Universities will be fully reopening no earlier than 17th May.

It should have been welcome news – students who had endured a year of being blamed, cooped up, and Zoom lectures could at least get some of that good old uni experience before summer. Except there’s one big flaw in that idea – a vast number of students will be completely finished by that date.

We spoke to a bunch of students from around the country to find out exactly how much teaching they’ll be getting after 17th May.

Sanj – Politics and IR, Southampton

Sanj’s last day of term is on 14th May – three days before the earliest date in-person teaching can resume. After that, she has two essays due on the 21st May before she’s done with uni for good.

“The 17th May announcement is just so stupid, I literally have not been in a lecture theatre or in uni for teaching since 13th March 2020,” she told The Tab.

“It’s just a joke, the government and unis told us to move back to uni at the beginning of this academic year with the promise of ‘blended teaching’ but most people I know haven’t had that – it’s all been online.”

Nat – Politics and Sociology, Bristol

Nat’s last day of teaching will be in three weeks, well before the May 17th date. As a first year, Nat’s only been on campus five times since starting uni and says an earlier announcement was “our last hope”.

“I’m just completely exasperated,” Nat told The Tab. “I don’t know how they expect us to be fine without any acknowledgement whatsoever.”

Hannah – English, Nottingham

For Hannah, teaching stops on the 9th May. With an assessment due on 27th May, Hannah says she has a “ten day slot to have my second year of uni in uni”.

“I’m glad that they’ve finally spoken about uni students and returning to teaching as we’ve kind of been ignored in the announcements,” she said.

“I’m happy for other courses and people who’s teaching does resume, but frustrated because I won’t get any teaching for the rest of the year”.

Anna – History and Politics, Lancaster

Anna’s last revision lecture is on 29th April, and only has exams after 17th May. These will all be online, and she hasn’t had any face-to-face teaching since February 2020. Given she graduates this summer, that’s almost half of her degree.

“I’m quite pissed off,” Anna says. “They’re starting to test 3,000 people in stadiums for sports events but can’t have less than 50 people in a lecture theatre? Highly frustrating.”

Olivia – English and Theatre, Bristol

Olivia will have submitted all of her work by 13th May and be done with her second year of uni – nearly a week before face-to-face teaching might be allowed again.

“I know a lot of it is out of the uni’s control, but I really feel like a lot of arts and humanities students are completely overlooked,” she said.

“People forget that very often we don’t have exams.”

Sophie – Communication, Nottingham Trent

Sophie’s teaching finishes on 11th May, and she’ll have handed all her work in by 21st May.

“I’m supposed to have quite a hands on element of my course in the form of media production and for this whole year we haven’t been able to do any of this,” she told The Tab. “It really makes me question where my money is going”.

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