A UoL student has written an open letter to the Universities Minister asking for in-person lectures next year

It has over 125 signatures so far

George Sykes, a third year robotics student at the University of Leeds, has written an open letter to the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan.

The letter criticises the intention of “several universities,” including the University of Leeds, for lectures to remain online in September “after the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The negative impacts of online learning are highlighted in the letter, such as the effects on neurodivergent students and those with difficult home environments for studying.

The letter also draws on the fact that “university students have been an afterthought in the government response to Covid-19.”

A link for the open letter was shared in LSG yesterday

The open letter can be found here.

The letter requests five key things from the government and UK universities, including a pledge to return to in-person teaching as soon as it’s safe to do so, and for university guidelines and restrictions to be included in press briefings and future roadmaps. The letter also requests that students be able to retake this year, without additional costs, if they feel Covid-19 has negatively impacted their grades.

We spoke to the creator of the open letter, who told The Tab Leeds: “I decided to write the open letter after I read on several student groups that universities were planning on keeping some modules online, even after the pandemic ends. As an autistic student, I have found working from home exceptionally difficult and know a lot of my peers feel the same.

Furthermore, students from working-class backgrounds face additional pressures when working from home. If universities continue with online learning many already disadvantaged students will be essentially prevented from studying altogether. I hope that the open letter will push the government and universities to commit to returning to in-person teaching as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The letter has over 125 signees so far and is quickly gaining signatures from students at the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University, as well as other UK universities.

The University of Leeds has been contacted and is yet to make a comment.

Featured image source: @ahnafakeef

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