COVID-19: ONS FIGURES POINT TO STUDENTS WIDELY IGNORING GOVERNMENT INSTRUCTIONS
Universities Minister Justifies Delay in Face-To-Face Teaching
Will Hazel, Education Correspondent, writing in iNews one Thursday 6 May 2021, reported that an ONS survey showed that more than four in five university students in England were living at their term-time address in April, suggesting the Government's instructions for students to stay in one place is being widely ignored. Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan has justified the delay in students returning to face-to-face teaching saying that the “mass movement” of young people across England could spread Covid-19 and force many students to self-isolate again in their rooms.
Universities: 82% of students back in term time digs - but unis still banned from teaching many face-to-face
A survey by the ONS suggested that 82 per cent of students were living at the same address as they were at the start of the autumn term
More than four in five university students in England were living in their term time address last month, figures show, suggesting the Government’s instruction for students to stay in one place is being widely ignored.
While many students appear to once again be mixing in their term time accommodation, universities are still banned from providing face-to-face teaching except for in certain subjects.
Most students in England, apart from those on key courses like nursing and medicine, were told not to travel back to term-time accommodation as part of the third national lockdown.
Students on practical courses were allowed to return for face-to-face teaching on 8 March, but it is estimated that about half of university students are currently not eligible to return until 17 May at the earliest.
The universities minister, Michelle Donelan, justified the delay by saying the “mass movement” of young people across England could spread Covid-19 and force many students to self-isolate again in their rooms.
However, a survey of 1,400 students by the Office for National Statistics in April suggested that 82 per cent were living at the same address as they were at the start of the autumn term anyway, up from 76 per cent in March.
The figure includes “commuter” students – those whose term time and holiday address is the same. But the survey also found that the number of students living with their parents had fallen, from 41 per cent in March to 36 per cent in April.
The survey was carried out between 15 and 22 April, and so came after the announcement from the Department for Education on 13 April that all remaining students in England should not return to campus until May 17 at the earliest.
The data is likely to increase calls for universities to be allowed to resume face-to-face teaching immediately, given that so many students are already back in their term time accommodation.
Last month, Professor Graham Galbraith, the vice-chancellor of Portsmouth University, claimed that students were being “treated like second class citizens” in the exit from lockdown.
“Students can now buy a book on British history in Waterstones and discuss it with a tattoo artist while they have their body decorated, but they cannot do the same thing in a Covid-secure environment with their university lecturer,” he said.
A spokesperson Universities UK said: “We know the vast majority of students are now back at their term time accommodation, and we remain optimistic that students still studying online in England will be able to return for in-person teaching, learning and support from 17 May.”