View guides

Department for Education Issues New Guidance

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Under new guidance issued by the Department for Education, university students in England could be confined to their residents and barred from going to their family homes in the event of a local coronavirus outbreak.

The DfE has provided guidance, requiring universities to plan for a tiered response, depending on the risk in the area.

Tier one - the default position
- A mix of face-to-face tuition and online lessons
- Masks worn in crowded corridors and communal areas

Tier Two - the fall-back position
- Increasing online learning
- Face-to-face tuition only where possible and necessary

Tier Three - when stricter controls are needed
- Face-to-face tuition for priority courses such as medicine only
- Students advised not to return to family homes

Students with coronavirus symptoms are told to "self-isolated in their current accommodation", with those in the same household also required to isolate for 14 days. This could lead to complications for those residences where many students share the same communal facilities, albeit those in houses of multiple occupation will therefore need to isolate with their house mates.

The guidance to institutions recommends the use of disciplinary measures in the even of students breaking the rules, as well as suggestions to combat the spread.

A spokesperson for the Russell Group of universities said: "In addition to the steps being taken by our universities, we would urge the government to ensure that sufficient local testing capacity is in place."

Meanwhile, the universities minister for England, added: "Universities have been making a mammoth effort to safely open campuses and buildings to students this autumn, and the government has worked closely with them to ensure they are well prepared for the return of students."