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Universities: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 907386, tabled on 12 October 2020

What assessment he has made on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on universities.

Answered on

12 October 2020

We have worked across government and with the higher education (HE) sector to understand the impact of COVID-19.

In response, between April to September we have announced a suite of measures to mitigate the impact of the virus upon the HE sector and HE students and staff. This includes the HE stabilisation package, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's research stabilisation package, access to business support schemes, the capital fund and the HE restructuring regime.

We have prioritised the mental health and well-being of students, emphasising our strong support for the University Mental Health Charter and continued to work closely with Universities UK on embedding the Step Change: Mentally Healthy Universities framework. We confirmed universities and HE providers were able to use Office for Students (OfS) Student Premium funding towards student hardship funds and announced the OfS funded, Student Minds Led, Student Space which has been designed to work alongside existing mental health services.

Importantly, to support universities to reopen this autumn, to enable them to provide high quality education to students in a COVID-secure environment, we have provided advice and guidance on reopening and have worked to ensure universities have robust outbreak plans in place. We will shortly also be providing additional guidance on winter planning and end of term preparation.

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