Universities UK (UKK) have asked the government to outline the ‘evidence’ behind its ‘decision making’ Varsity

Universities UK (UUK) have written a letter to the UK government demanding an explanation for the silence around student returns during Boris Johnson’s coronavirus press conference on Monday evening (05/04).

In the absence of an announcement, the letter has called on the government to provide “evidence behind its decision-making” given the “wide-ranging” Covid safety measures in place on campuses that have “successfully minimised virus transmission this year”.

Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, President of UUK, addressed the Prime Minister in the letter, arguing that amidst the lifting of restrictions on further sectors from Monday 12th April as the next stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, “It therefore seems illogical that students are not allowed to return to their self-catering accommodation and resume their studies in Covid-safe university facilities, particularly at this crucial time of the academic year.”

Buckingham added: “over the past year [...] our students have behaved responsibly and shown resilience during a period of great uncertainty. The UK government owes them a clear explanation about why decisions have been taken and how students and universities will be supported.”


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The letter also calls on the government to address support on areas such as student mental health, final-year student employability, pandemic-related student hardship, and progression for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

UUK has previously urged the government to allow students to return to universities and continue in-person teaching, emphasising the benefits to students’ mental health and wellbeing.

According to UKK estimates, 50% of the 2.1 million university students in England are being taught solely online, without access to in-person teaching.

Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope announced in February that the University hopes to “welcome back as many students as possible” for Easter Term. The announcement stated that the feasibility of the return of undergraduate and postgraduate students on taught courses will be reviewed by the government by “the end of the Easter holidays”.