To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that students who are diagnosed with Long Covid receive the support they require.
25 October 2021
Higher education (HE) providers are autonomous institutions and have a duty of care to students when delivering services, including the provision of pastoral support, and taking steps to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of students.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak universities have bolstered their support services to students and we expect this to continue.
Long COVID should be treated in line with other medium to long term health conditions. This means that setting, including HE providers, should within reason, be making allowances for staff and students with this condition where it is affecting their ability to perform and undertake their studies. The NHS has published guidance to those recovering from long COVID at: https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/what-is-covid-19/long-covid/
If students have concerns about the support they are receiving, they should first raise them with their HE provider. If their concerns remain unresolved, students at providers in England or Wales can ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education to consider their complaint.
The Office for Students (OfS) does not get involved in individual student complaints, that is for the relevant HE provider and possibly the OIA. However, students can notify the OfS of issues that may be of regulatory interest to it. These are called ‘notifications’. The OfS uses this information as part of its regulatory monitoring activity and keep higher education providers under review to ensure that they comply with the ongoing conditions of registration. The OfS has produced a guide for students to support them in this process, which is available here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/for-students/ofs-and-students/notifications/.