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Everything you need to know about the return to university

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Around half of university students – those doing practical courses – have already returned to in-person teaching.

All university students who haven’t yet returned to campus and in-person teaching will be able to do so from Monday 17 May.

But university life will still be slightly different to how it was before the pandemic. Students should expect most lectures to be delivered online with small in-person sessions where they add value. A number of measures will also be in place to support students and universities manage the transition.

Here is everything you need to know about the return to university for remaining students.

All remaining students are to return to in-person teaching from 17 May

This is part of the government’s wider roadmap out of the pandemic.

Creative and practical students started returning from Monday 8 March, with an estimated 49 per cent of students already eligible to return to in-person teaching, subject to decisions by their university, and remaining students, have received online provision throughout the term.

While we remain confident that in-person teaching and learning can be delivered in Covid-secure environments, our objective remains to reduce transmission by carefully managing the way in which students return to campus.

Returning to in person teaching won’t mean busy lecture theatres. In fact we expect that most lectures will still be delivered online with in-person tuition reserved for situations where it is of most benefit to students and only in smaller groups.

Students and staff will be encouraged to take three supervised tests on their return to campus.

After their supervised tests, students will have ongoing access to home testing kits as part of onsite “university collect” distribution of tests in communal campus areas, as well as the nationwide government offer of free tests twice a week.

All tests will be free, and all students and staff who test positive from a test will need to self-isolate for 10 days, unless they receive a negative PCR test within two days.

This will mean that asymptomatic cases can be spotted and stopped from spreading the virus unknowingly.

£15m of additional student hardship funding is available for this academic year

In total, the Government has now made an additional £85 million of funding available for student hardship.

This is on top of the £256 million of government funded student premium funding already available to universities. The funding supports the student hardship funds for this academic year 2020/21.

We have worked with the Office for Students (OfS) to provide Student Space, a mental health and wellbeing platform

Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform designed to bridge any gaps in support for students arising from the pandemic and is designed to work alongside existing services.

We have also asked the OfS to allocate £15 million towards student mental health in the next two years. This aims to help address the challenges to student mental health posed by the transition to university, given the increasing demand for mental health services.

This will target those students in greatest need of such services, including vulnerable groups and hard to reach students.

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