To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with colleges and universities on the loaning of books to students who are studying at home during the covid-19 lockdown.
24 February 2021
Higher education providers should consider appropriate provision to support access to university facilities for the purposes of online learning.
On 22 February 2021, we issued updated guidance on students returning to, and starting, higher education in the spring term 2021, available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963446/HE_guidance_spring_term_220221_FINAL.pdf. As outlined in the guidance, we expect university libraries to stay open to provide library services during the lockdown, including the provision of study space and borrowing materials if necessary. Libraries have continued to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, including by offering order and collect services and providing digital services.
We are clear that universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and seek to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have the resources to study remotely.
We are now advising providers that they can resume in-person teaching and learning for students who are studying practical or practice-based subjects (including creative arts) and require specialist equipment and facilities from 8 March 2021. Providers should not ask students to return if their course can reasonably be continued online. The government will review, by the end of the Easter holidays, the options for timing of the return of remaining students. This review will take account of the latest data and will be a key part of the wider roadmap steps.