The United Kingdom’s government has published new guidance to help higher education institutions minimize the risks from COVID-19 pandemic as well as to ensure the safety of students in the country.
Regarding the new guidance, the President of Universities UK, Julia Buckingham said that the first national lockdown had caused disruption to students as well as reduced social contact. As a result, according to her, it is important for students to progress with their education even during the period of enhanced restrictions, starting this week, Erudera College News reports.
“We understand this is a tough time for students, but we urge them to follow the government’s guidance and remain where they are for the duration of the new national restrictions,” she noted.
Among others, she assured that universities will work hard towards taking care of students and staff’s physical and emotional wellbeing, also by providing access to testing and healthcare, mental health support, food delivery, financial support, etc.
“We await further guidance from the government on the possible roll-out of mass testing and plans for students to return home at Christmas,” she added.
The new national guidance enters into force as of November 5. The restrictions will remain into force for 4 weeks. Afterwards, the government publishes new guidance.
The guidance requires students to not travel home between November 5 and December 2, 2020.
Students are allowed to leave home only for specific reasons, such as:
- Work, in case students cannot work from home
- Medical reasons
- Escape from harm or injuries, including mental health crisis
- Buying food and essentials
- Volunteering, offering care for vulnerable people
- Exercise and recreation outdoors
Moreover, the guidance also outlines the continuation of face-to-face teaching where possible, by respecting the distancing rules, with the argument that face-to-face learning is essential for the emotional and mental health of students as well as their educational wellbeing.
“Additionally, for the period of the national restrictions, we advise that face coverings should be used in all HE learning environments, providing the use of face-covering does not impact teaching and learning,” the guidance published by the UK’s government reads.
As per libraries and shared-study spaces, they will remain open for students in an effort to avoid harming socialization.
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