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Students: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 131394, tabled on 17 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether students are exempt from the restrictions on travel between areas in different covid-19 tiers.

Answered on

12 January 2021

The safety and wellbeing of staff and students in higher education (HE) is always our priority. The government is doing all it can to minimise the risks to those working and studying in our HE institutions in this unprecedented situation, whilst mitigating the impact on education.

To help bring the new variant under control and while the vaccine programme is rolled out, our aim is to minimise the number of students and staff returning to campuses and accessing university facilities.

In practical terms, this means that students doing medical, clinical and healthcare related subjects, including nursing, social care, dentistry and veterinary studies are being prioritised and can return at the start of the spring term, as planned.

Those on teacher training courses and students who must complete externally-accredited examinations, which cannot be completed remotely, can also return to in-person teaching at the beginning of term.

All other students should access learning online until at least mid-February and remain at their current address in line with national measures. Universities will tell students when to return for the spring term.

On an exceptional basis, universities should support students returning for other reasons (for example, students who do not have access to appropriate accommodation, facilities, studying space or who need to return for health reasons). In these circumstances, students may return to campus, but their courses should not resume face-to-face teaching.