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Universities: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL7748, tabled on 3 September 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they have provided to universities located in areas under local lockdown areas about (1) teaching plans, and (2) measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Answered on

15 September 2020

The safety and wellbeing of university staff and students is always our priority, and we are confident that universities are well prepared for the return of students, having taken measures to reduce the risk of transmission such as introducing social distancing on campus, limiting travel requirement for classes, and staggering teaching across extended days to reduce numbers on site. To help providers make informed decisions, the government has issued guidance on reopening campuses and buildings, which is available here:

We support face-to-face teaching only where possible and if safety guidelines are followed but expect providers to reopen with a blend of online teaching and in-person tuition as they consider appropriate in line with public health advice. Providers are required to carry out risk assessments, modelled on a range of scenarios including where students are mixing across settings, and develop appropriate mitigations in response.

We are about to publish updated guidance on reopening higher education institutions – including face coverings, local lockdowns, and test and trace – based on the most up-to-date advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Everyone should be following basic guidance on COVID-19, including social distancing and maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene.

We have also released guidance for landlords and tenants on renting and the COVID-19 outbreak. This sets out necessary public health measures to protect the health of students living together and those staff assisting them. We expect universities and other higher education providers to prioritise the health and safety of their staff and students and put in place measures that apply to their individual circumstances. The guidance is available here: