The decision comes as part of Stage 3 of the easing of lockdown restrictionsJordhan Madec/UNSPLASH

Students will be allowed to return to Universities on 17th May for in-person teaching, the government announced earlier this evening (10/05).

In his coronavirus briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK will proceed to Step 3 of the roadmap to exit lockdown, which includes allowing University students to return to on-campus teaching.

Although some students have already returned, including those on practical courses such as medicine and engineering, restrictions for those studying non-practical courses will end on Monday.

Before returning, students are encouraged to take a Covid-19 test, and three Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) tests 3-4 days apart at an on-campus asymptomatic testing site. From then, students are expected to continue to take part in asymptomatic testing twice a week.

All tests for students will be free through the government’s lateral flow testing scheme and ‘University Collect’ services, which universities will distribute on campus. These options are in addition to existing on-site testing.

All students and staff who test positive will be required to self-isolate for ten days unless receiving a negative PCR test result within two days of the lateral flow test.

In response to the news, Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said in a press release: “I’ll be pleased to welcome more students back to Cambridge. Our city is a more diverse and vibrant place when they are here!”


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While he said the announcement is “good news”, he also noted that “it is very late in the term for some universities, and a week’s notice will be a challenge for already hard-pressed staff.” He advocated for the government to “make sure there is adequate notice given” for similar decisions in the future.

A press release from the Department for Higher Education also said that the government has made available £85 million in hardship funding for students in need, including those struggling to pay accommodation costs due to the pandemic. This funding will be available to both international and home students, undergraduates and postgraduates.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “Our priority from the very start of this pandemic has been to help students complete their courses and graduate as planned which is why I am pleased that the Prime Minister has today confirmed all remaining students can return to in-person teaching from the 17 May as part of Step 3 of the Government’s road map.”

“It is vital that we make every effort to keep us all as safe as possible,” she continued, “I would strongly encourage students to make use of the free tests available to them.”

The easing of restrictions will also allow for indoor mixing between two households and social contact outside, as well as the opening of indoor restaurants and cinemas.