British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the easing of restrictions in England beginning from May 17.
“Your efforts have so visibly paid off,” Johnson said at a press conference.
As per the latest data, the coronavirus cases are the lowest since September and deaths the lowest since July last year.
From 17th May onwards, Phase Three of the government’s roadmap will be implemented which includes the return of all university students in England for face-to-face teaching next week, Boris Johnson has confirmed. Along with this, the university students also received a boost with the launch of a new employment and skills guide.
This Graduate Employment and Skills Guide brings together a wide range of tools, advice, and resources into a 5-step plan which will help pandemic hit graduates consider their post-university choices. It will also help them identify and develop some critical skills, gain professional experience, and further their career while maintaining good mental wellbeing.
The vice-chancellors of various UK universities have said that institutions are planning activities and extended opening of facilities, which will benefit students.
However, returning students are encouraged to take a test via home or community testing at least one day before they travel back to term-time accommodation.
Also, the Department for Education said that upon arrival, “all students and staff will be encouraged to take three supervised lateral flow device tests three to four days apart at an on-campus asymptomatic-testing site, and will be expected to be tested two times a week throughout the rest of the summer term”.
Home testing kits will be available to help those who are unable to attend the on-campus testing facilities.
“All remaining outdoor entertainment can reopen, such as outdoor cinemas and performances,” Johnson announced. “Some larger events will be able to take place, including conferences, theatre and concert performances, and sports events.” However, there will be still a cap of up to six people meeting indoors, and up to 30 outdoors.
Greg Walker, chief executive of the MillionPlus group of modern universities, said that students would “welcome” a return to in-person teaching.
“The enormous efforts made by universities to ensure their campuses are Covid-secure has been instrumental in ensuring that this can happen with appropriate assurance in the remaining weeks of term. This is a remarkable effort from all those concerned,” Dr Walker said.
To help students who need any financial help, the UK Government has made available an additional £85m in hardship funding. Both international and postgraduate students will be eligible for this funding along with domestic undergraduates.
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