Covid: Some university students not back until February next term

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College_Student7
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"Students will have staggered starting dates for returning to universities in England after Christmas - with some not back until 7 February.
The government's plan will mean students taking hands-on courses such as medicine or performing arts returning from 4 to 18 January.
Other subjects would be taught online at the start of term, with students back between 25 January and 7 February.
Students are being promised Covid tests when they return next term.
It means some students heading home in the next few days will not be in university again for nine weeks.
The National Union of Students said students would still have to pay rent on "properties they are being told not to live in"."

From https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-55163380
Last edited by College_Student7; 1 month ago
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mnot
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The real reason to return early in January is for in person exams. These seem to be very limited this year so their is really need to return for the January exam window. Teaching doesn't normally start till the last week of January or first week of February anyway.
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College_Student7
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(Original post by mnot)
The real reason to return early in January is for in person exams. These seem to be very limited this year so their is really need to return for the January exam window. Teaching doesn't normally start till the last week of January or first week of February anyway.
The issue for me with it is them encouraging people not to return to their accommodation until in-person teaching starts. For some private rented accommodation, I don't think this is actually possible as some contracts state you can't leave the property unoccupied for a certain period of time. You also have the issue of paying rent for rooms you are being told not to stay in.
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mnot
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(Original post by College_Student7)
The issue for me with it is them encouraging people not to return to their accommodation until in-person teaching starts. For some private rented accommodation, I don't think this is actually possible as some contracts state you can't leave the property unoccupied for a certain period of time. You also have the issue of paying rent for rooms you are being told not to stay in.
If you pay rent I dont think they can force you not to stay, but they can encourage whatever they like. The government also isnt the lease holder on accommodation so its not really awkward for them as they arent taking the money, just setting the agenda.

Ive never heard of a rule saying you cant leave it unoccupied but realistically where talking a fewweeks here so it will mostly be fine, and students in private accommodation tend to stay in their houses longer then those in halls.
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PQ
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(Original post by mnot)
If you pay rent I dont think they can force you not to stay, but they can encourage whatever they like. The government also isnt the lease holder on accommodation so its not really awkward for them as they arent taking the money, just setting the agenda.

Ive never heard of a rule saying you cant leave it unoccupied but realistically where talking a fewweeks here so it will mostly be fine, and students in private accommodation tend to stay in their houses longer then those in halls.
Insurance and rental agreements often have clauses about the property not being left unoccupied for 30 or 60 days.
If someone is travelling home this week (as advised by the government) and doesn't return until February then there's a good chance that they could invalidate their insurance or rental agreement.
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username402722
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Apart from the rental issue this is a sensible plan. If only there had been the same in September/October. The government could contribute towards rent if they wished.
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PQ
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They'd be better off just letting universities stagger return dates as normal, asking universities to put the first 2 weeks of teaching in all subjects remote and requiring students to self isolate for that period and also providing the facility for the lateral flow tests for returning students (like in Liverpool) which would then allow students to come out of self isolation quicker if they test negative twice within 3 days.

Just putting things off and forcing a month of remote learning on students just condenses the timetable further and makes it more difficult for learning to be completed within the academic year.
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I don't entirely understand this - at the very end of this window (Mid-Feb), it'll be halfway through the term for most students. If they also planned on doing an early travel window for Easter return, there's a decent chance that some students might only be spending 3/4 weeks at Uni.

My department has said they think it's unlikely that we'll have in-person teaching before September; as a final year, that really sucks as that means my last lecture was in second year, in February.
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PQ
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I don't entirely understand this - at the very end of this window (Mid-Feb), it'll be halfway through the term for most students. If they also planned on doing an early travel window for Easter return, there's a decent chance that some students might only be spending 3/4 weeks at Uni.

My department has said they think it's unlikely that we'll have in-person teaching before September; as a final year, that really sucks as that means my last lecture was in second year, in February.
The government thinks that every university is Oxbridge with all students in university accommodation
They genuinely don't care to understand or work with the complexity of the system and aren't interested in giving universities the time needed to make in person teaching possible (and it does take lots more time because groups have to be shrunk in size with lots more double/triple/quadruple teaching of timetables etc).

Like you say they're making it logistically impossible for universities to manage their timetables. And because it's the government forcing all of this online they'll also make it impossible for students to get any meaningful compensation.
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College_Student7
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How similar do you think this will be to the guidance that Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will give?
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Ramipril
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And for the 100th time this year, I'm so glad I'm studying medicine. 4th January here I come
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PQ
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The list of "practical" courses is much longer than that implied by the BBC article
https://www.gov.uk/government/public...om-spring-term
Jan 4-18 return dates:

Example course list
While this is not an exhaustive list, we expect this will cover the following types of courses:
* nursing, midwifery and allied health professions
* scientific or technology subjects that require time in laboratories or use of expensive equipment (for example, chemistry, physics, bio-sciences, engineering)
* medical degrees involving lab work, practical instruction and placement inside hospitals (for example, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science)
* initial teacher training (ITT)
* architecture and planning
* art and design
* geography and environmental studies
* music, dance, drama and performing arts
* courses that are delivered solely to commuter students (where there are no residential students on the course)
* courses which require an externally moderated or invigilated assessment, or exams from a professional body which take place during these 5 weeks and cannot be rescheduled
* other courses with clearly defined practical elements
* other courses where the student is on placement or in paid employment in January (for example, degree apprenticeships and sandwich placements)


But then they add on: "HE providers do not have to allow all courses that fall within this list to return during this time and should consider whether any courses may be better delivered online at the beginning of term. For courses that meet these criteria, but that providers deem not to have practical elements, the return of students should take place from 25 January 2021" So some universities might decide to stay remote teaching for some of these courses.

Universities are also being asked to open up campuses from 4 January for students unable to study remotely from home - so libraries, study spaces etc should all be open even without face to face teaching.

25 Jan - 1 Feb courses:
Example course list
HE providers are best placed to organise the return of students from 25 January 2021 but may wish to consider prioritising:

* post-graduate taught students
* students in later stages of study (second year onwards)
* international students
* new starters
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𝓖𝓱𝓸𝓼𝓽𝓵𝓪𝓭𝔂
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If students dont get a rent reduction because they cant use accommodation they have paid for, then its going to cause a lot of noise, and protests, posibility of theres a lot of people then no social distancing, therefore covid spikes. So what they are trying to achieve with staggered starts its not going to work.
Last edited by 𝓖𝓱𝓸𝓼𝓽𝓵𝓪𝓭𝔂; 1 month ago
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PQ
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(Original post by Ghostlady)
If students dont get a rent reduction because they cant use accommodation they have paid for, then its going to cause a lot of noise, and protests, posibility of theres a lot of people then no social distancing, therefore covid spikes. So what they are trying to achieve with staggered starts its not going to work.
The problem is that this is only government guidance. They’re not forcing students to leave rented accommodation. The only thing that is being enforced is that universities are being prevented from offering face to face teaching during the dates set by the government
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Anonymous1502
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(Original post by mnot)
The real reason to return early in January is for in person exams. These seem to be very limited this year so their is really need to return for the January exam window. Teaching doesn't normally start till the last week of January or first week of February anyway.
Not for Scottish universities as they do exams in December.
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Desideri
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I don't understand why the government keep setting specific dates for uni things (the travel window, and now this) when different unis have such different semester dates.

I'm at Sheffield. Our semester dates tend to be later than average. Semester 2 doesn't start until 8th February anyway, which is after all the suggested staggered dates. I don't know if they'll let us back face-to-face straight away, or create their own staggered dates until late Feb/March.
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Popsiclez
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(Original post by College_Student7)
"Students will have staggered starting dates for returning to universities in England after Christmas - with some not back until 7 February.
The government's plan will mean students taking hands-on courses such as medicine or performing arts returning from 4 to 18 January.
Other subjects would be taught online at the start of term, with students back between 25 January and 7 February.
Students are being promised Covid tests when they return next term.
It means some students heading home in the next few days will not be in university again for nine weeks.
The National Union of Students said students would still have to pay rent on "properties they are being told not to live in"."

From https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-55163380
Professors need to learn to calm the f. down with the amount of assignments they give then. Especially since they set more than they ever seem to mark.
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Ramipril
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(Original post by Desideri)
I don't understand why the government keep setting specific dates for uni things (the travel window, and now this) when different unis have such different semester dates.

I'm at Sheffield. Our semester dates tend to be later than average. Semester 2 doesn't start until 8th February anyway, which is after all the suggested staggered dates. I don't know if they'll let us back face-to-face straight away, or create their own staggered dates until late Feb/March.
It's their attempt to make it look like they are doing something. They may be able to control what universities do, but they can't control what students do. TBF, I don't blame them. If they just did nothing people would still complain.
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Mesopotamian.
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These set dates for when students can leave/return to uni are not that effective in my opinion. I know several students who have been moving back and forth between their homes and student flats this term, and other students who won’t be returning home for Christmas in the times indicated by the government.

Ultimately, life is more complicated than “everyone go home now” or “everyone come back now” or “everyone stay in this one place until we say so” and it seems like this hasn’t been considered at all.
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parmezanne
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from a selfish point of view, it sucks that it's being delayed. the already very short uni experience is getting smaller and smaller, which seems like we're getting an even worse value for money than usual

i love home, but undoubtedly i will get tired of it by the end and will need to move out for my sanity and independence again. i'd much rather go up and isolate whilst doing my remote learning at uni.

i know it seems like 'oh yes, definitely send students back later, great idea' which i'm sure is good in the long run - but i feel i can speak for many a student that actually dislikes the idea of it. however, i do understand this is a selfish point of view.
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