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Welsh Government announces more face-to-face teaching in universities after Easter

Certain restrictions for students are lifting

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Education Minister Kirsty Williams has said that from Monday 12th April blended learning can resume in Welsh universities. To enable a safe return, extra testing for students has been announced.

Although Welsh university campuses have been open since January, this has only been for those on practical courses who need access to facilities in order to continue studies.

Due to the Welsh Government lifting the “stay at home” restrictions on Monday, students can now access campus facilities such as libraries, study spaces, laboratories, and studios.

During the Welsh Government’s briefing on Monday, the Education Minister said: “Our key message for students and staff in higher education is the same: stay local and work or study from home if you can.

“However, in line with our commitment to prioritise education, the rules do allow a person to travel outside their local area for educational reasons.

“From April 12, it is our expectation that all students can return for blended learning for the duration of the summer term.

“Universities have planned for more teaching and learning to continue in the summer term than in a normal academic cycle.”

Dr Chris Jones, Wales’ Deputy Chief Medical Officer, explained at the briefing the science behind Wales’ decision to loosen restrictions for students and referenced multiple scientific papers that have been presented to the Welsh Government.

He said: “For higher education institutions all papers indicate good adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions – washing hands, keeping our distance, and wearing a mask – are the best strategy for minimising cases, especially adherence to self-isolation.

“All universities have implemented robust interventions and we have not seen transmission in the teaching and learning environment.”

He also stated that there is strong evidence that due to the average age of students, students are less susceptible to severe clinical disease than older people.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams has also announced that extra testing will be ensured to enable the safe return of students.

She said: “Students will be offered tests before they return to university. Twice-weekly lateral flow testing will be available to all students and staff who cannot regularly work from home.”

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